Student Spotlight – Leonida Kibet

Doctoral student Leonida Kibet’s interest in transportation grew as she worked on her bachelor’s degree in Kenya. She notes that over the last decade Kenya has experienced massive growth in the transportation sector which has ultimately been marked by technological challenges.

While working as a civil engineer in Kenya, she personally experienced the mayhem traffic congestion, inefficient traffic control systems, and inconsistent public transit causes for city dwellers. Leonida felt the drive to make a meaningful contribution to developing sustainable and appropriate solutions to transportation challenges.

So, what brought Leonida to the University of Florida? It was UF’s reputation for having a great civil engineering department with meaningful connections to the transportation industry and organizations.

In her studies, Leonida finds herself most interested in connected and autonomous vehicles. Specifically, she is intrigued by “their connectivity with pedestrians and how connected and autonomous vehicles can enhance safety and mobility efficiency.”

One project Leonida has worked on is FDOT – BDV31 977-115 Transportation Mobility Assessment and Recommendations for Smart City Planning. This project works to develop and test a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) methodology for developing transportation mobility plans by assessing the needs of travelers in the community.

Leonida has also worked on the FDOT BDV31-977-120 Before and After Study of Gainesville Pedestrian-Bicyclists Connected Vehicle Pilot. This project supports the UF Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) project through a multifaceted evaluation of the installed hardware and software, as well as pedestrian, bicycle, and skateboarder perceptions, and corridor-level operations.

When asked about her plans after her doctoral studies are completed, Leonida shares that she is “maintaining an open mind, but currently, I plan to remain in academia and continue with research works.”

Beyond her research and academia, Leonida is interested in leadership activities (currently she is the vice-president for the Women’s Transportation Seminar Florida Gator Student Chapter) and community development. She also keeps busy playing the violin and salsa dancing.