The Fourth Annual Transportation Day was held at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) on December 8, 2017. In spite of inclement weather, attendance included more than 80 faculty and students from the affiliated universities, along with community members and representatives from state and local agencies who work with transportation and/or aging populations.
Sponsored by FSU’s University Transportation Center for Accessibility and Safety for an Aging Population (ASAP), this year’s theme was Mobility and Technology for the Ages. Murry Gibson, Dean of the College of Engineering kicked off the event by welcoming everyone in attendance. Ross Ellington, Associate Vice-President for Research at FSU, and Rodner Wright, Interim Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs at FAMU, also welcomed our guests.
John Sobanjo, Center Director and Professor of Civil Engineering, briefly discussed the University Transportation Center's (UTC) mission and research activities. Dr. Neil Charness presented awards to two of ASAP’s outstanding graduate students. Jaqueline Masaki, PhD student in Civil Engineering, was recognized for research excellence, including a first place finish in the student poster competition at the 5th Annual Southeastern Region UTC Conference. Dustin Souders, PhD student in Psychology, was named the 2017 UTC Student of the Year.
The rest of the day’s activities were divided into two tracks. One focused on Aging and Mobility for seniors. In this track, senior adults and researchers took part in a panel discussion led by community experts, including:
In addition, a research seminar featured presentations by three ASAP faculty affiliates, including Drs. Maxim Dulebenets and Eren Ozguven of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, and Dr. Thobias Sando of the University of North Florida. Kakit Fung, a PhD student at FAMU-FSU, presented results of research he completed under the direction of Dr. Sungmoon Jung.
The second track concentrated on Teens and Transportation. Thirty five students and chaperones from the FAMU Developmental Research School enjoyed presentations and hands-on engineering activities. Joseph Sullivan of the Federal Highway Association discussed career opportunities in the transportation field. Lisa Spainhour, Professor and Interim Chair of the Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Doreen Kobelo, Professor and Program Area Coordinator of Construction Engineering at FAMU, led hands-on STEM exercises, including a spaghetti and marshmallow bridge building activity.
A highlight of the day was a sobering presentation on teen driving safety and distracted driving, led by Joseph Santos FDOT Safety Office and Demitrius Branca, who has spent the last three years talking to high school students and fighting for tougher laws since his son, Anthony, was killed by a distracted driver in 2014.
Dr. Lisa Bacot, Executive Director, Florida Public Transportation Association served as our Keynote Speaker. She delivered a lecture titled “Older Adults and Transit: A Safe Alternative to Driving.” Dr. Bacot described the benefits of public transportation, including how it helps build a strong economy, cuts air pollution and carbon emissions, relieves traffic congestion, provides critical support during emergencies, is safer than car travel, and provides access for people of all ages. Bacot emphasized that directing resources to support a robust transit system is a priority especially given the increasing number of older adults who currently have poor transit access.
Between sessions, attendees had an opportunity to visit with booth representatives from AAA, StarMetro, Federal Highway Administration, Safe Mobility for Life Coalition, CarFit, FSU's Institute for Successful Longevity and the FDOT Internship Program. More than 20 posters showcasing recent ASAP research were also available for viewing. Unfortunately, due to weather, the outside CarFit activities had to be cancelled. The day ended with Driving Simulator Demonstrations at the ASAP Laboratory.
We would like to thank students from FAMU and FSU, including members of the American Society of Civil Engineers and ASAP Research Assistants, who served as volunteers.
Plans are already underway for the Fifth Annual Transportation Day.
Highlights of the event