From becoming the first female fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) for the state of Alabama, to performing novel research on the effects of billboards on driver safety, to her journey across the globe in her academic pursuits, she has accomplished much in her 20-plus years in the field of transportation.
Sisiopiku is breaking ground with a project, “Digital Advertising Billboards and Driver Distraction”, weighing how much digital advertising billboards distract drivers. It’s a topic where no serious research had been previously conducted, and a “perfect example of the ways that research can have a impact on society,” Sisiopiku said.
Driving simulation used in the digital billboard distraction project.
Currently in its final stages, the project with researchers at Florida International University found a 29 percent increase in crash averages in areas where these digital billboards populate the roadside. The project was also featured in the 2014 NCTSPM Annual Report.
In working with her students, Dr. Sisiopiku also founded the UAB section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).
Sisiopiku has also impacted UAB’s program outside of the classroom, helping establish a student section of ITE at UAB. Through founding ITE at UAB, and impacting the lives of her students, and through becoming a Fellow, Sisiopiku says that seeing her students become successful professionals “gives her a real sense of accomplishment, and that their continued success shows the quality of the transportation engineering program at UAB.”Sisiopiku is both scholar and educator. She’s won two awards for excellence in mentorship and teaching in the 12 years since arriving at UAB from Michigan State University.
Image Courtesy of Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku.