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Savolainen Wins International Transportation Safety Council Honor

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Peter Savolainen of Michigan State University will receive the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) 2020 Transportation Safety Council Edmund R. Ricker Individual Award for international leadership in traffic safety and engineering.

Savolainen is an MSU Foundation Professor and associate chair of graduate studies in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE).

Headshot of Peter Savolainen

Peter Savolainen

The Edward R. Ricker Individual Award recognizes a person who is a demonstrated leader in the field of traffic safety and engineering, as represented by his or her achievements and contributions to communities and the transportation profession.

Savolainen will be honored during this summer’s Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Annual Meeting & Exhibition – an interactive, digital celebration that will span several weeks in August.

Neeraj Buch, chair of MSU’s CEE department, said the award is a recognition of Savolainen’s impact on the transportation engineering profession.

“This is a testament to the quality of our transportation engineering program here at Michigan State,” Buch added.

Savolainen called the award a “true honor” and said it reflects the high-quality work that is being done by the transportation faculty and students at MSU.

“Traffic safety continues to be a critical emphasis area globally. We have had opportunities to conduct research that has led to immediate impacts on transportation policy and practice,” Savolainen explained. “This has included establishing partnerships with public and private agencies, including the Michigan Department of Transportation, Ford, and the Federal Highway Administration.

“MSU is positioned to provide continuing leadership in traffic safety and other important mobility-related areas such as connected and autonomous vehicles,” he added.

Savolainen is well known for his contributions to the transportation industry. In January 2020, he was named an ITE Fellow for improving mobility and transportation safety around the world.

As a transportation engineer, Savolainen examines the fundamental nature of road user behavior. His research studies how drivers alter their behavior in response to changes in the roadway environment such as speed limits, centerline and shoulder rumble strips, and red-light-running cameras at signalized intersections. His research has advanced fundamental knowledge related to roadway design, environmental factors, and how in-vehicle distractions affect the risk of traffic crashes.

Savolainen has served as PI or co-PI on more than $18 million of externally funded research through competitive grant awards from agencies including the National Science Foundation, the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and various state departments of transportation.

He came to MSU in 2018 from Iowa State University. He was a member of the civil and environmental engineering faculty at Wayne State University from 2006 to 2014.

At MSU, he is the adviser to the ITE student chapter. He is also the current vice chair of the ITE Education Council and a member of the ITE Professional Development Committee.

Pat Mroczek via MSU Engineering Communications

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