Cooperative Research Program

A key strength of the ATLAS Center is the synergy created through collaboration between the Center’s two institutional partners. The Center conducts a Cooperative Research Program that will, at a minimum, include collaborative research conducted at UMTRI and TTI. Each year, proposals for joint research projects are solicited from researchers at the two institutions and evaluated by the ATLAS Center Director and Associate Directors. Those proposals meeting the highest standards of research quality and that address the priorities of the ATLAS Center, RITA, and MAP-21 are considered for sponsorship considering available resources.



Dan Blower
Associate Research Scientist, UMTRI


Jonathan Rupp
Research Associate Professor, UMTRI

carol flannagan

Carol Flannagan
Associate Research Scientist, UMTRI

Chiara Silvestri Dobrovolny

Chiara Silvestri Dobrovolny
Associate Research Scientist, TTI

Project Title: Identifying the Potential of Improved Heavy Truck Crashworthiness to Reduce Death, Injury, and Societal Costs of Heavy Truck Crashes


This project will identify and characterize opportunities to protect heavy truck drivers and occupants in the context of current Advanced Crash Avoidance Technologies (ACATs). ACATs have been shown to fundamentally alter the distribution of crashes that trucks are exposed to and will thereby alter the need and prioritization for occupant protection in truck crashes.  However, the effects of ACATs on the need for crashworthiness and occupant protection have not been studied. This project addresses that need. Statistical simulation and other work will be used to estimate the effect of ACATs on the distribution of truck crashes. Crash types not addressed by current ACATs will be identified and characterized to support finite element analysis (FEA) of heavy truck occupant kinematics in these crashes. FEA will be used to analyze heavy truck occupant safety in terms of injury pattern and severity.  The researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of passive safety restraints (such as seatbelts, airbags, etc.) by comparing occupant injury results obtained from simulations performed with and without these restraints.  It is expected that the study will result in significantly enhanced understanding of how truck drivers are injured in heavy truck crashes and will identify interior cab structures and surfaces that could be made more protective to improve safety for both belted and unbelted drivers.

Students participating in the research are Marco Benedetti, Nathaniel Schulz, Abhinav P. Mohanakrishnan, and Sharanya Rao.


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