Skip to content

UT, Center for Transportation Research Help Fund Road Safety Center

chris-cherryThe University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will be a leading contributor to the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety, a new national university transportation center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Highway Safety Research Center, the CSCRS unites leading programs in transportation research, planning, public health, data science and engineering, with UNC, UT, Duke University, Florida Atlantic University and the University of California, Berkeley, all taking part.

The Center for Transportation Research and the asad-khattakDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering will lead UT’s efforts at the new center.

“Our participation builds on both the department and the Tickle College of Engineering’s history of leadership in transportation safety, and extends it to the national level,” said Chris Cox, head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Our students and faculty will make significant contributions toward decreasing the 38,000 fatalities that occur on U.S. roadways each year.”

Beaman Distinguished Professor Asad Khattak will serve as principal investigator on the project, with Associate Professor Chris Cherry also playing a large role. Both researchers work with CTR along with their primary roles in civil engineering.

“This consortium will lead efforts to meet transportation safety needs throughout the United States,” said Khattak. “We will examine behaviors that lead to high levels of crash and injury risks, the role of connected and automated vehicles and integrated systems solutions for safety, extracting new knowledge from big data to improve safety, and understanding transportation workforce culture.”

One hope for the center is that it can accelerate progress in reducing injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roads by offering a new model for understanding and addressing traffic safety issues.

By improving those issues, Khattak pointed out, the work of the center should also reduce the amount spent on transportation safety, which accounts for almost $1 trillion per year in the U.S.

First-year funding for the center will total $2.8 million, with up to $15 million in grant funding over five years available.

CSCRS is being set up to foster ideas that will allow the group to lead and influence the future of transportation safety research for the nation by promoting collaboration, multidisciplinary research and education, and technology transfer activities.

“Transportation professionals are challenged to design systems that provide mobility benefits that limit risks,” said Cherry. “This new national research center will focus on safe systems that merge all aspects of transportation mobility, access and technology by breaking down some traditional silos that have limited gains in safety for all road users.

“Through this multidisciplinary center, we will move safety science and engineering research to a new level.”

CTR director David Clarke said that the center will fully participate in all CSCRS activities.

“We will conduct safety research, develop new approaches to education and workforce development, and communicate results to transportation professionals and practitioners at all levels,” he said. “Our objectives include educating a technology-savvy workforce that can provide innovative solutions to safety problems today and well into the future.”

The grant funds one of five national centers that will be awarded under the University Transportation Centers Program to advance research and education initiatives that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation.

View the comprehensive award announcement on the USDOT website.


Lissa Gay (865-974-8760,

David Goddard (865-974-0683,

CEE Professor Fu Publishes Research about Gas Flaring Data

Joshua FuCEE Professor Joshua Fu has published research about petroleum gas flaring in the journal, Nature’s Scientific Data. Particulate Matters (PM) emitted from gas flaring results in high levels of black carbon (BC), which has a strong effect on climate, ice melting and human health. Nonetheless, BC from gas flaring has not been accounted for in most emission inventories and is largely absent from climate modeling. Here he presents a global gas flaring BC emission rate dataset for the period 1994–2012 in a machine-readable format. Fu’s research used the chemical compositions of petroleum gas at various oil fields to develop a region-dependent gas flaring BC emission factor database that will be beneficial for the global and regional climate modeling and policy makers. Read the full article here.

Remembering Ted Lee Winstead

ted-winsteadTed Winstead, B.S.C.E. 1972, M.S.C.E. 1974, died on November 4, 2016, from complications following a heart attack. Ted had enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a structural engineer in Memphis with Kenworthy Associates for two years and Allen and Hoshall for 21 years, the last 17 as head of the structural engineering department. He retired from Allen and Hoshall in 1996, did some individual consulting, and retired to his home in Dresden, Tennessee. Ted is remembered as a highly competent structural engineer and a delightful colleague. In 1994, he and his wife Linda made a donation to Civil Engineering sufficient to endow a fellowship, and he chose to name that fellowship the Edwin G. and Patsy H. Burdette Graduate Fellowship in Structural Engineering. In the last several years, a significant number of students have received stipends from the fellowship to help support their graduate studies. Through the generous contributions of former students, faculty and friends, the value of the fellowship fund has grown to roughly 10 times its original value with more dollars pledged. But the fellowship would never have existed without the thoughtful and generous contribution made by Ted and Linda Winstead. Through this fellowship, Ted left his mark on Civil Engineering at The University of Tennessee.

Read his obituary here.

Remembering Dexter Jameson

dexter-jamesonDexter C. Jameson, who taught in the Civil Engineering Department for 30 years, passed away November 2, 2016, at age 89. He had served briefly in the U.S. Navy, and after R.O.T.C. in college, he served four years in the U.S. Army. During his time at UT, he primarily taught surveying courses and courses related to highway design. He will be remembered by a large number of former students as the faculty member responsible for the annual surveying camp at the Clyde Austin 4H camp near Greenville, Tennessee. This three-week camp was required for all Civil Engineering graduates until and for many years was in charge of the annual surveying camp until that requirement was removed in the mid-seventies. For several years he was also the departmental contact with the Tennessee Road Builders (TRB), an organization which provided and continues to provide significant support to the departmental undergraduate program through several scholarships awarded each spring. As an extension of this relationship with TRB, Prof. Jameson taught the required undergraduate course in Construction Methods and Equipment. For the last 18 years of his tenure at UT, Prof. Jameson served as national secretary of the Civil Engineering Honor Society, Chi Epsilon. He continued in that office for the last two years of his professional teaching career at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. He retired in 1986 and moved back home to Knoxville to his farm in the Karns area.

Read his obituary here.

Faculty and Staff Present, Receive Award at Engagement Scholarship Conference

ut_esc-team-300x223CEE Lecturer Dr. Jenny Retherford was one of five UT faculty and staff selected to attend the 2016 Engagement Scholarship Corsortium (ESC) Conference in Omaha, Nebraska earlier this month. The university also received a national award that recognized a project designed to improve the wellness and disaster readiness of an Appalachian community in Clay County, Kentucky. Read more here. 

WUOT: David Clarke Talks About Driverless Cars

David ClarkeThe Method on WUOT FM recently interviewed Center for Transportation Research Director David Clarke about the topic of driverless cars, and what obstacles—literal and figurative—stand in the way of their adaptation.

Clarke, who also serves as a research associate professor in civil engineering, is considered one of the foremost transportation experts in the country. He has been interviewed by outlets ranging from CNN and NBC News to the Philadelphia Inquirer and NPR.

The interview can be heard at WUOT FM.

The Cream of the Crop: Students with Internship and Co-op Experience are Better Prepared for Workforce

logoThese days, college graduates have to do more than get good grades to be considered competitive upon graduation. One of the best ways students can stand out is to get a head start on work experience through an internship or co-cop. Civil and Environmental Engineering students at the University of Tennessee have many opportunities to apply for internships and co-ops through the Office of Engineering Professional Practice in the John D. Tickle College of Engineering, which also sponsors the Engineering Expos held in the fall and the spring.

Todd Reeves, director for the office, says that he wants students to visit the office in person to begin to see the opportunities available to them. “We want students to register with us, come in and meet with one of our ambassadors and answer some early questions,” he says. “Then they can come back and meet with a counselor to discuss career goals. We can help students target which companies they want to reach out to. They will never have more people around them helping them look for a job than when they seek an internship or co-op.”

Internship or Co-Op?

An internship in CEE is usually over the summer between a student’s junior and senior years, while a co-op happens over three semesters. In both cases, while a student is working they are not in school. On the whole, the Office of Engineering and Professional Practice would like students to see co-ops as the most valuable opportunity to set them apart from their peers.

Here’s why. The co-op experience is the one that prepares students with the most hands-on experience before they graduate. “With a co-op, students get to see firsthand what the discipline is all about,” said Reeves. “The work is often different from the academic learning. Seeing it in the field gives them an advantage and they retain that information more deeply. Then when they are back in school, their academics usually reflect the extra knowledge gained through experience.” Employers also know that co-op students will be able to contribute more as employees as well as make a transition to full-time employment more swiftly than those without the extra training. This contributes to the reason about 75 percent of students in co-op programs will end up with a job offer from their employer.

Reeves reassures students that the average length of an undergraduate education in CEE is five years, whether they co-op or not. If students get started with a co-op early, then the extra year is more than made up for with the quality of job offers students have available to them upon graduation. Additionally, CEE allows three semesters of a co-op to count in place of one of the technical electives, so they can get academic credit for their work experience.

A co-op can turn students into working adults more quickly, but it also means students might have to find housing in another city to perform the work for a given semester if necessary. However, 90 percent of the companies that employ co-op and internship students outside of Knoxville and/or outside of the student’s hometown do provide some form of housing assistance, making the transition to the work experience cost-effective for these students.

Student Experiences

in-the-field-250x300One student who opted for an internship is Geneva Osborne, now a senior who had an internship at the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Region 1 Traffic Office last summer. As a traffic intern, she assisted in engineering studies and crash analyses of state routes in the 24 counties of East Tennessee. She was trained to use multiple software systems and the TITAN database to analyze potential high-crash-risk roads and worked alongside supervisors to propose solutions. “Overall, I gained a tremendous amount of experience from working at TDOT,” she said. “I now have real-world application to the concepts I’m learning in my upper-level courses and am familiar with the software used to compute potential solutions.” In addition to the technical experience she learned, Osborne also gained in communications experience. She attended public gatherings to discuss upcoming road projects with community members, law enforcement and other leaders, and she assisted in representing the office at the Fall Tennessee Section Institute of Transportation Engineers conference.

evan-lockhart-at-work-2016-2-1Two students who are now second-semester juniors on the co-op track are Evan Lockhart and Emma Dixon, both of whom are co-op ambassadors for the Office of Engineering Professional Practice. Lockhart’s concentration is construction, and he has enjoyed the two semesters he’s spent working for Brasfield and Gorrie, a construction company headquartered in Birmingham, AL with offices around the Southeast. “When you do a co-op, the company invests in you and sees you grow,” he says. “It actually helped me with school and I got my first 4.0 after the first rotation.” When he came back to school in the spring after that rotation, Lockhart remembers getting cross-sectional drawings from Dr. Burdette, and people would look at it and not know what they were, but he had already seen them on the jobsite. “I loved it,” he said. “I now know what’s more applicable in the real world.”

emma-dixon-co-op-300x300Emma Dixon has also completed two rotations of a co-op with a construction firm, although she wants to take courses from all the disciplines before she officially decides on her concentration. She got connected with EMJ Construction in Chattanooga through a Fall Engineering Expo. During her first rotation she did office work and got to see how the business was managed and visit job sites for a day. However, her second rotation was on-site in Gainseville, FL, at the site of a new BassPro shop. “What’s cool about construction is that even if you don’t pursue it, it’s part of every aspect of civil engineering,” she said. “I got to see geotech and structural work, landscaping work and even mechanical and electrical engineering.” At first Dixon wasn’t sure she wanted to do an internship or a co-op, but after talking with other civil engineering majors and her parents, she decided it would be the best option for her academic path. “By the time an internship ends, you are just getting the hang of things,” she adds. “With the co-op, you have in-depth experience.”

CEE’s Professor Kim Carter Attends Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy’s Pistol Creek Day

Pistol Creek DayStudents of the Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy took their studies outside along the banks of Pistol Creek, which runs along the school’s property, to literally and figuratively get their feet wet with stream-based STEM activities. The event, called Pistol Creek Day, joined the Little River Watershed Association and other area organizations with the Academy’s K through 11th grade students on August 31 from 9-2 for lessons that are mostly centered on stream ecology.

Volunteers from Little River Watershed Association, Trout Unlimited, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, IDA Engineering and TVA guided activity stations where students rotated through sessions. Activities included a nature walk and birding for grades K-2, a macro- and microinvertibrate lab and water cycle games for grades 3-5, intro to water monitoring for grades 6-8 and a fish inventory for grades 6-11.

CEE Assistant Professor Kim Carter and her UT students presented a module showing the STEM students how to measure the concentrations of nitrate, ammonia and chlorine in water from Pistol Creek using field kits. The activity was designed to educate about methods that can be used for analytical measurements.

Carter also sat on a panel discussion about the different careers in science and engineering. “I thought Pistol Creek was an exciting experience for the students as they learned about different careers in science,” she said.

Longtime Engineering Professor Goodpasture Remembered


Longtime UT civil engineering professor David W. Goodpasture passed away Wednesday, September 14, at age 77.

After attending Knoxville’s Fulton High School, Goodpasture graduated No. 1 amongst civil engineering students in the class of 1960.

He worked a short time with Boeing before earning a Masters from the University of Illinois. Goodpasture had brief stints at UT and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before returning to Illinois to earn his doctorate.

Goodpasture then returned to UT to teach in what is now the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, spending 38 years until his retirement in 2004.

Since that time, he served as a professor emeritus, bringing his total commitment to UT to more than fifty years, frequently collaborating with colleague and friend Edwin Burdette.

“David and I and later Dr. Hal Deatherage worked for many years on numerous research projects sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Transportation,” said Burdette, who recently retired as the Fred N. Peebles Professor in the department and has a professorship named in his honor.

“He was the indispensable man on those projects, the only one with the expertise to use the computerized data taking equipment necessary to perform the research.”

His particular expertise came in the testing and design of highway bridges, including being a co-investigator on the first such project at UT.

At one time or another during his tenure as a full-time professor, Goodpasture taught every required course related to structures in addition to both undergraduate and graduate courses dealing with the design and behavior of steel structures.

Burdette noted that hundreds of Goodpasture’s former students still remember his graduate course in behavior of steel structures, both for his expertise and his thoroughness

“David never really ‘bought in’ to grade inflation,” said Burdette. “He left a positive mark on civil engineering at UT, and he will continue to be remembered with pleasure and gratitude by many former students.”

A devout Christian and a longtime member of Concord First Baptist Church, he was the son of the late John and Eula Goodpasture and was preceded in death by his wife, Marion, and sister, Jacquetta Weaver. He is survived by several children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Read his obituary here.


The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.