Center for Safety Equity in Transportation

rural • isolated • tribal • indigenous

Transportation Equity for RITI Communities in Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Environment: Opportunities and Barriers

  • Completed

    CSET Project #: 1707

    Project Funding: CSET and UI

  • Start Date: September 2017

    End Date: August 2020

    Budget: $60,000

Principal Investigator(s)

Sameh Sorour

The PI is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Idaho. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Alexandria University, Egypt, in 2002 and 2006, respectively. In 2011, he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Toronto, Canada. After two postdoctoral fellowships at University of Toronto and King Abduallah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), he joined King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in 2013 before moving to University of Idaho in 2016. His research interests lie in the broad area of advanced communications/networking/computing/learning technologies for smart cities applications, including cyber physical systems, internet of things (IoT) and IoT-enabled systems, cloud and fog networking, smart and connected communities, smart cities, autonomous driving and autonomous systems, intelligent transportation systems, network coding, device-to-device networking, and mathematical modelling and optimization for smart systems. The PI aims to employ his expertise and research works in the area of IoT, intelligent/connected transportation systems, and smart cities to propose mobility and safety solutions for RITI communities based on connected and autonomous transportation infrastructure.

Ahmed Abdel-Rahim

Dr. Abdel-Rahim is a Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Idaho and the director of the University’s National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT). Dr. Abdel-Rahim research interest includes in highway safety and design, traffic flow operations and control, and transportation network modeling.  Dr. Abdel-Rahim has been involved in a variety of safety related research projects funded but USDOT, FHWA, and state DOTs. He managed more than 56 research projects and published more than 95 peer reviewed publications. 

Project Summary

Today's Connected Transportation Infrastructure (CTI) operates with limited real-time input from and interactions with its users, and has no mechanism to provide them with situation-aware safety assistance. Whereas such safety-assistive interactions are beneficial for all the community, they are of particular significance in areas inhabited by rural, isolated, tribal and indigenous (RITI) communities, where a large number of crashes and fatalities are recorded and can be avoided if such technology exists. Given the trending wireless connectivity within the CTI, the long-term vision of the PIs is to integrate social and technical research to fundamentally reform the CTI operation, enabling it to two-way interact with the individuals of the RITI communities and provide them with situation-aware safety-assistive solutions that (1) respond to their needs, (2) preserve their culture and respect the sensitivity to their heritage.

As a first step to pursue this vision, the PIs will integrate social and technical research activities to identify both the key transportation-related safety challenges encountered by these individuals, and their corresponding potential CTI-enabled safety solutions. They will also perform rigorous assessments of both the heritage/culture constraints in implementing technology-based safety solutions, and the acceptability of such technologies by the targeted RITI communities. These goals will be achieved through four integral steps: (1) Partnering with stakeholders and targeted RITI communities in Latah, Nez Perce, and Coeur d’Alene Counties, Idaho. (2) Quantitatively determining the safety risks and needs of these communities regarding their interaction with the transportation system. (3) Pre-assessing the heritage/culture constraints and acceptability of various CTI-enabled safety solutions by the targeted communities. (4) Identifying and building vastly needed and widely acceptable CTI-enabled safety solutions for the targeted communities. Several bodies, such as the Office of Tribal Relations and UI Student Native Center, will be strong partners in this project, assisting the PIs to reach out and introduce the project idea to the Nez Perce, Coeur D’Alene, and Kalispel tribes. These tribes are among the tribal nations with whom UI have signed an MOU, and who have members on the UI Tribal Advisory Council. The project team will commit to Tribal IRB and Tribal Research Protocols in all conducted activities.