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Latest CTR Research: Meet Dr. Chris Cherry, The E-bike Guy

Dr. Chris Cherry is a professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering. He’s been doing research on what we now call micromobility for the past 15 years. As the E-bike Guy, his work has focused on how small, lightweight, and powered vehicles have the potential to break through to larger audiences and make a dent in some of our most vexing urban transportation challenges, including safety, sustainability, and congestion. His work spans the globe, but as the scooter-craze has hit the US, he and his team have focused on how to make such systems a force for good in urban areas. This includes figuring out how to improve their safe integration into our existing transportation systems and also adapt our transportation systems to include emerging transportation modes that will be required if we are to reach our environmental and safety goals in the transportation system.

His recent work in this area is funded through the US Department of Transportation through the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety and the Behavioral Transportation Safety Cooperative Research Program. Chris directs the Light Electric Vehicle Education and Research Institute.


CTR Facts & Stats

34 Active Research Projects

Sponsored by 10 Different Local, State, and Federal Agencies

$10 Million

Annual CTR Expenditures

165 CTR People

62 Staff
35 Fellows
33 Affiliated Faculty
35 Visiting Scholars

211 Workshop & Training Courses

Delivered to 4,519 Participants Across Tennessee, the US, and the World


CTR Welcomes Interim Leadership

David Clarke
Jerry Everett
DeAnna Flinchum

David Clarke retired as the director of the Center for Transportation Research (CTR) at the end of 2020 after 12 years of leadership. On January 1, after serving as the center’s associate director for the last eight years, Jerry Everett stepped in as the new interim director, and DeAnna Flinchum assumed the role of interim associate director. The two will lead CTR through much, if not all, of 2021. More…


How CTR Makes a Difference

CEE Assistant Professor Candace Brakewood is an Associate Director of a new University Transportation Center led by Georgia Tech. This UTC will investigate recent declines in public transit ridership. The team was awarded a $1 million grant from USDOT to address critical transportation challenges in the US. This new consortium is the T-SCORE Center (Transit-Serving Communities Optimally, Responsively, and Efficiently), and it will use a two-track research approach. The Community Analysis Track, led by Brakewood, plans to assess recent ridership trends, identify markets most effectively served by transit, and evaluate transit’s ability to respond to a changing environment. 

Motorcyclist fatalities are 25 to 30 times greater than those of other drivers, in terms of miles traveled. Asad Khattak (CEE) wants to understand the variables that correlate with motorcycle crashes and injuries. His study analyzes a unique database of motorcycle crashes collected from the federally sponsored Motorcycle Crash Causation Study to explore how key risk factors vary by demographics and from one context to another. Motorcyclists represent a segment of vulnerable road users that have very high levels of risk mostly because of their lack of protection when involved in a crash. Read research brief…; read paper published in Accident Analysis & Prevention…

Dr. Airton Kohls collaborated on recent research by the USDOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in partnership with ORNL and the city of Chattanooga to deploy real-time traffic signal control strategies based on data from GPS devices, vehicle sensors, and visual analytics used to examine the underlying causes of congestion. Kohls provided traffic signal expertise during the Shallowford Road remote testing design procedures, validation, and multi-day test monitoring. CTR will continue to be a partner on phase 2 of this project that explores a regional approach to traffic signal control optimization. Read more – Researchers Rev Up Innovative Visualization Strategies to Reclaim Energy, Time & Money Lost in Traffic Jams.

Each year CTR conducts a statewide observational survey of seat belt use for the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. CTR researchers are currently traveling across the state to visit 190 designated observation sites in 16 counties. Survey results determine the state’s official seat belt use rate, which influences funding for occupant protection programs and guides highway safety education, outreach, and enforcement efforts in the following year. In 2019, this survey documented the seat belt use of more than 34,000 vehicle occupants and found that Tennessee’s belt use rate reached an all-time high at 91.75%

Since 1991, Tennessee Vans has facilitated personal mobility throughout Tennessee by providing vehicles to public agencies, private groups, and non-profit organizations across the state through its agency purchase program. TN Vans program purchases new, safe, and reliable vehicles and sells them to non-profit groups that serve the disabled, youth, workforce participants, people in recovery, and seniors. To date, TN Vans has placed nearly 1,100 vehicles to 56 different organizations, and we estimate that the program benefits over 1,000 people daily. TN Vans offers sedans, minivans, 15 passenger vans, and handicap accessible vehicles with wheelchair lifts. Michelle Fisher, Director of Rhea of Sunshine in Dayton TN, said, “TN VANS has been excellent to work with and assist us with getting the vehicles we needed.  I don’t believe that we could have had a better experience elsewhere.”