Safety, Operations, and Traffic Engineering Team

About the team:

The Safety, Operations, and Traffic Engineering (SOTE) Team focuses on how to improve the safety and efficiency of travel on Virginia roadways. The scope of the program broadly includes highway safety, traffic engineering, intelligent transportation systems, and connected and automated vehicles. In many cases, the team’s research emphasizes how to improve safety and traffic flow through more effective management of existing facilities, rather than construction of new capacity.

Typical research topics include:


  • Improved methods for identifying crash hotspots
  • Guidance for diagnosis and countermeasure selection
  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • Development of safety performance functions
  • Safety analysis or development of crash modification factors for new safety treatments
  • Roadway lighting
  • Safety effects of connected and automated vehicles

Traffic Engineering

  • Investigation of effects of new traffic control devices (signs/markings) on driving behavior and understanding
  • Work zone operations and safety
  • Traffic control visibility and legibility
  • Speed control and policy
  • Traffic monitoring


  • Congestion management
  • Intelligent transportation systems
  • Signal operations and optimization
  • Operational effects of connected and automated vehicles
  • Managed lanes
  • Incident and emergency management
  • Methods to improve traveler information
  • Traffic operations center (TOC) management
  • Performance monitoring and reporting
  • Exploration of emerging operations data sets, especially crowdsourced big data
  • Data collection, analysis, and use

This team is supported by two Research Advisory Committees (RACs):

  • The System Operations Research Advisory Committee (SORAC) identifies and sets research needs in system operations, aggressively working to implement recommendations resulting from that research so Virginia’s transportation system operates as efficiently and effectively as possible.

  • The Traffic and Safety Research Advisory Committee (TASRAC) studies the areas of traffic engineering and safety research provides an open forum for discussion of new ideas in these areas.

Current Safety, Operations, and Traffic Engineering Projects

Last updated: March 25, 2024

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