The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) seeks qualified and ambitious human factors professionals with a strong background in psychology and engineering to assess the system-wide impact of innovative transportation technologies. The ideal candidate is an experienced researcher capable of independently running transportation projects and working in multidisciplinary teams to improve transportation safety through cutting-edge research.
Research projects range from test-track experiments using a single vehicle to large-scale naturalistic driving studies that involve collecting data from hundreds of vehicles on public roadways. Research projects often use VTTI’s internally-developed data acquisition system (DAS). The DAS enables unobtrusive measurement of driver behavior, vehicle operation, and the environment. The collected data are analyzed to address specific research questions that typically focus on existing transportation problems (e.g. crash causation) and/or the performance/development of advanced vehicle systems (e.g. crash warning and autonomous vehicle technologies). Questionnaire, focus group, and survey data collection methods may also be used in these experiments. This position is expected to predominantly focus on research and development relating to driver interaction with automated vehicle systems, such as automated driving systems and automated collision warning/avoidance systems.
The successful applicant will perform work involving conventional human factors research practices, however the work includes a variety of complex features such as working with fluctuating requirements, cycles of field and/or office work, and developing and implementing novel approaches to evaluating transformative transportation technologies. The employee will contribute to the conceptualization of research and proposal development with principal investigators. With assistance, the successful applicant will manage the day-to-day operations of research projects including: literature reviews, research design, research execution, data analysis, report writing, presentations, and publications.
Experience with human factors research in transportation or related fields and expertise in statistical analyses is preferred. Proficiency with data collection and working knowledge of analysis software packages is desired. The applicant must be interested in improving transportation safety and be willing to work on multiple projects in a fast paced research environment. VTTI provides opportunities for professional advancement and a pay for performance structure.
- Aid in the development of proposals
- Research and assist in the composition of literature reviews
- Assist with the conceptualization and creation of work plans, protocols, and procedures
- Review and critique research plans and reports
- Coordinate and collaborate with subcontractors and interface with stakeholders
- Manipulate and analyze data
- Interpret results and develop robust conclusions
- Write research reports
- Present research findings
- Travel to research sites (requirement fluctuates but will generally be <15%)
Directions given and received:
Receive instructions on project objectives, feedback on proposed research plans, and project logistics from principal investigators and project managers. May supervise or coordinate the work of graduate research assistants, students, technicians, and others who assist in specific assignments. Must be able to work effectively independently as well as within multidisciplinary project teams as appropriate.
- Master’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a Human Factors specialization or equivalent. Candidates with a lesser degree and significant experience in lieu of master’s degree will also be considered.
- Experience in transportation or related field is desired
- Thorough understanding of experimental design and methods
- Proficiency with descriptive and inferential statistical analysis techniques
- Basic understanding of electrical and mechanical systems
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Strong organizational skills
- Willingness to work in a fast-paced flexible research environment
- Proficiency with programming languages including Matlab and SQL is desired.
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