ATLAS Center Advisory Board

We are pleased to announce the formation of our Advisory Board, a group of transportation leaders that will advise ATLAS Center leadership on our research, education/workforce development and technology transfer activities.  These experts will also help to nationally and internationally promote Center activities, and will assist in identifying opportunities for funding and collaboration.

The Advisory Board plans to convene annually. The first meeting is tentatively scheduled to be held at the TRB meeting in January.

We welcome the following members to the Board:



John Barton
Deputy Executive Director
Texas Department of Transportation


John Barton is the Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). In this role he provides executive control and oversight of all TxDOT operations and the management and operation of the state’s transportation system. These responsibilities include the development and administration of policies, programs and operating strategies for TxDOT. He is charged with ensuring Texas’ transportation system is constructed and maintained in the most cost-effective manner and address the state’s growing safety, mobility and reliability needs. Barton graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1986.


Dennis Christiansen Hi-Res Photo  TTI Color Logo

Dennis Christiansen
Agency Director
Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)


Dennis L. Christiansen is the agency director of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), which conducts research on the problems and challenges facing all modes of transportation.  Under his leadership, TTI conducts about $55 million in research annually for over 200 research sponsors. Recognized as one of the premier higher education-affiliated transportation research agencies in the nation, TTI’s research and development program has made significant breakthroughs across all facets of the transportation system.  TTI’s headquarters is located on the campus of Texas A&M University. In addition to its facilities and laboratories in Bryan and College Station, TTI has offices in eight Texas cities and locations in Ann Arbor, MI; Washington, D.C.; Mexico City, Mexico; and a presence in Doha, Qatar, on the campus of Texas A&M University at Qatar.


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Carol Flannagan
Interim Director
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)


Carol A. C. Flannagan is an associate research scientist in UMTRI’s Biosciences Group and is the Research Director of CMISST. She joined UMTRI in 1991 after completing her Ph.D. in mathematical and experimental psychology at the University of Michigan (U-M). She also holds an M.A. in applied statistics from U-M and a B.A. in psychology from St. Lawrence University.

Dr. Flannagan’s research interests include ergonomics in automotive design and crash database analysis. Specifically, she has developed models of driver-selected posture and position in passenger vehicles using statistical and methodological techniques that uniquely apply to modeling occupant accommodation. She has also performed extensive analyses of various crash databases to identify injury patterns and trends and to identify predictors of injuries in different types of crashes. In addition, she often provides statistical expertise to other UMTRI divisions.

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John Maddox
Director of Collaborative Program Strategies
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)


John Maddox serves as the Director of Collaborative Program Strategies at both UMTRI and TTI. In this position, he develops collaborative research strategies, initiatives and opportunities for both organizations with federal/state agencies and industry stakeholders and other partners to tackle significant problems in transportation safety, the environment, and mobility that can be addressed only through collaborative research.  Broadly his work focuses on public-private research programs, and on positioning UMTRI and TTI within the automotive industry as a leader in the development of automotive-safety-technology roadmaps and precompetitive research topics.  Mr. Maddox has an extensive background at the U.S. Department of Transportation and in the auto industry. From December 2008 to August 2012, Mr. Maddox served as the associate administrator for Vehicle Safety Research at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While at NHTSA, he was responsible for all aspects of vehicle-safety research for the administration. He strategized and established NHTSA’s research vision, formulated multiyear roadmaps and priority plans, and implemented yearly operating plans to ensure that all research is aligned with DOT’s goals to save lives and reduce injuries due to crashes.  Before working at NHTSA, Mr. Maddox spent over five years with Volkswagen Group as a compliance officer, with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with all federal and Canadian motor-vehicle safety standards.  Prior to that, he spent fourteen years with Ford Motor Company as a senior research engineer and had multiple international assignments in product development, engineering design, and automotive safety.

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Jeffrey P. Michael, Ed.D.
Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


Dr. Michael is Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with responsibility for the development of programs to increase seat belt use, decrease impaired driving, and improve the safety of motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians and older drivers.

Previously he served as Director of the Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection Office, with responsibility for developing and promoting programs to reduce alcohol and drug-impaired driving and increase the use of safety belts and child safety seats.

During his tenure, Dr. Michael also served as Chief of the agency’s Emergency Medical Services Division, where he supported the national EMS system by developing and maintaining consensus guidelines for educating emergency medical technicians and improving EMS operations. Dr. Michael has served in the Federal government for twenty-five years.



The ATLAS Center is a collaboration between the University of Michigan (U-M) Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and Texas A&M Transportation Institute