The two-day conference gathered transportation agencies, police and EMS personnel, industry, academic researchers, and more to learn about the latest technologies being deployed and better understand the needs of first responders in the field today.

In collaboration with TRB’s Joint-Subcommittee on Emergency Response AMR00(1), CAIT hosted the inaugural Emergency Responder Transportation Safety Research Summit on November 1 & 2, 2023.

More than 40 emergency-response professionals attended the two-day summit featuring presentations on resources for first responder safety, facilitated breakout discussions, technology and vehicle demonstrations, and a student research poster session. The conference brought together leading experts in the field of transportation safety to discuss the latest research and best practices for emergency responders.

The conference was designed to fully mobilize TRB’s subcommittee on Emergency Response by engaging emergency response professionals who may not regularly attend TRB’s Annual Meeting in January, gather their feedback, and elevate priority areas identified for responder safety and efficacy to new levels.

Day One started with a presentation by the Federal Highway Administration on Traffic Incident Management (TIM) research being conducted by the agency, and active programs providing support and resources to first responders. The group then went outside for vehicle and equipment demonstrations from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, HAAS Alert, and J-TECH. J-TECH showed their LaneBlade vehicle that is designed for safer road debris removal, and is currently being used by highway contractors, state Departments of Transportations, tollways, utilities, and traffic management companies across North America.

After the demonstrations, Dr. John Bullough, Program Director of the Light and Health Research Center at the Icahan School Medicine at Mount Siani, gave a presentation discussing the Impacts of Emergency Vehicle Lighting and Markings on Responder Safety.

Day Two included presentations from NJDOT on New Jersey’s TIM Training and Move-Over Awareness Campaign and an Analysis of Impact of the Move Over Law in New York by researchers at SUNY Buffalo. Student researchers from Virginia Tech also shared ongoing work developing automated vehicles for first responder safety.

An interactive workshop led by Lindsay Arnold, a researcher at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, then explored pressing challenges that first responders face in the field and gathered feedback about what areas need more research investment going forward.

The conference concluded with a student poster session featuring research from Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Rowan University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Rutgers University.

View some photos from the inaugural Emergency Responder Transportation Safety Research Summit below.