Our Researchers

Researchers from across the VTTI have come together to share their expertise with industry professionals – risk managers, safety directors, dispatchers and their insurance agents. Through the sharing of this expertise, it is hoped that industry professionals utilizing these resources will gain the knowledge they need to develop strategies for a safer, more productive workforce.

Our Researchers - Image of Myra Blanco
Dr. Myra Blanco leads Virginia Tech Transportation Institute‘s Center for Automated Vehicle Systems (CAVS). She is responsible for oversight of the CAVS, as well as ensuring the quality of the design, execution, and interpretation of research efforts. Formally trained in human factors engineering, her areas of expertise extend beyond automated vehicles. Dr. Blanco’s experience includes evaluation of in-vehicle devices, distraction, driver behavior, training, work/rest cycles, fatigue, and active safety systems for light and heavy vehicles. She has directed research efforts in naturalistic, on-road, test track, and simulator test environments. Blanco has authored and co-authored numerous publications on driver performance and safety. As a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies, she serves on key committees and as a technical paper reviewer. She also participates with a number of professional organizations, including the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) of America and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Our Researchers - Image of Jeff Hickman
Dr. Jeffrey Hickman is a Group Leader at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. His primary areas of research include community-wide applications of behavior-based safety, self-management and organizational culture change techniques, assessing driver behavior, fatigue, work/rest cycles, and driver distraction in commercial motor operations. He has produced over 60 presentations, as well as 30 scientific publications, technical reports, and scientific reviews for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. He currently serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Our Researchers - Image of Darrell Bowman
Darrell S. Bowman possesses more than 16 years of experience as a transportation researcher focusing on transportation safety. He formerly served as the Group Leader for Human Factors and Advanced System Testing at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Center for Truck and Bus Safety. In this position, he acted as the principal investigator and project manager for more than 20 research projects, totaling more than $8 million in contract transportation research.

Mabry_Erin 2400x3000-HR
Erin Mabry joined the Center for Truck and Bus Safety at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in 2009 and is currently a Research Associate. Dr. Mabry recently completed her Ph.D. at Virginia Tech studying clinical exercise physiology. Her research experience includes obstructive sleep apnea and the cardiovascular and metabolic consequences of the disorder. At VTTI, Dr. Mabry has utilized her knowledge and experience to assist in designing research proposals, developing work plans, and conducting research focused on commercial driver health and wellness, sleep apnea, and fatigue management.

Our Researchers - Image of Susan Soccolich
Susan Soccolich is a statistician at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. She has worked on several studies analyzing the relationship between driver safety and various aspects of the Hours-of-Service Regulations.


Our Researchers - Image of Greg Fitch
Dr. Gregory M. Fitch is a Senior Research Associate in the Automated Vehicle Systems group at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2009. Dr. Fitch has studied driver performance with advanced safety systems over the past decade.

Stephanie Baker, M.P.A. is a Project Associate at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Ms. Baker’s specialties are in the areas of focus group and interview design, facilitation, and analysis for research and outreach projects. The projects Ms. Baker has worked on include, among others, a state DOT-sponsored evaluation of driver education curriculum and training, a survey of Driver Education teachers and administrators regarding curriculum on sharing the road with heavy trucks, and a case study evaluation of light-vehicle driver education programs targeting sharing the road with heavy vehicles.