ATLAS Visiting Students

Liang Zhang

Liang Zhang


Liang is a visiting student in the Behavioral Sciences Group at UMTRI. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Industrial Engineering at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. Her research has been in modeling drivers’ car following and lane changing behaviors. She has also taken part in research about drivers’ risk perception and mental workload. She came to UMTRI in October, 2014 aiming to learn about and participate in research on maintaining safe mobility in an aging society. She will be at UMTRI through October, 2015. For relaxation, Liang enjoys yoga, running, listening to music, and reading.

Question and Answer:

Which Behavioral Sciences Group projects are you currently working on? What type of work will you being doing on these projects?

I am currently working on the “AAAFTS Senior Driver Cohort Study: Design, Assessments, Procedures, and Policies” project and will also participate in the second phase of the other project called “Research, Program Design, and Test Implementation of a Comprehensive Statewide Older Driver Education and Safe Mobility Planning Strategy”. I will assist in literature review, data collection, data analysis, and developing technical reports and journal articles as a contributing author on these projects.

What, in particular, made you want to come and work at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute?

UMTRI is very professional and influential in transportation research and practice. My own research has been in driving behaviors. Specifically, I am interested in elderly drivers’ behaviors. As the population is aging, China will see her first huge group of elderly drivers within the next 20 years. The knowledge, experiences, and research about this in China are still at the very beginning. The Behavioral sciences Group at UMTRI has conducted research in this field for more than 10 years and has become very experienced in both research and practices. So I think it must be a very good choice for me to work and study here to learn how to maintain safe mobility in an aging society and help deal with this problem in China.

What are you hoping to learn and accomplish during your time here at UMTRI? What are you most excited about?

I hope I can learn about research achievements and practice experiences about older drivers’ safe mobility here and help contribute to some research reports or articles. I also hope to come up with a research topic that can help promote older drivers’ safety and mobility in China and conduct some pilot investigation into it. Since there are great differences in the driving situations between the United States and China, I think this is the most challenging and also the most exciting part for me.


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