It is undeniable that transportation patterns have changed with the stay-at-home orders and closures of non-essential businesses due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Additionally, the University of Florida’s move to remote work has limited access to on-campus labs and equipment. Despite these challenges, the transportation research at the UFTI remains on track. By refocusing their efforts, researchers have been able to keep current projects active.
We spoke with some of the UFTI’s affiliates to see how the move to remote work and changes in traffic patterns may have impacted their research.
Dr. Eakta Jain, assistant professor from the Department of Computer and Information Science Engineering. Dr. Jain’s project, “Evaluation of Intelligent Schoo Zone Beacon and Vehicle-Cyclist Detection and Warning System” remains active. Her research team had already completed the data collection stage of their research and have been able to use this time to work on graph and table creation as well as manuscript writing. Some of their work schedule has had to be shuffled to accommodate the closure of campus labs, but they remain on-time with regard to their project.
Dr. Sherrilene Classen, professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Classen has dealt with a more challenging situation as her STRIDE Center funded work, Older Driver Experiences with Autonomous Vehicle Technology, involves seeing and assessing people which has been paused. Through proactive work they have been able to outline tasks they can work which included focusing on preliminary analysis and writing manuscripts.
Dr. Lily Elefteriadou, director of the UFTI and professor of the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, has also had to adjust her project schedule as data collection has to be put off because traffic is so low. She has been able to move project schedules around so that everyone is able to keep busy with tasks that are able to be done remotely. Dr. Elefteriadou is positive about how quickly everyone has been able to smoothly transition to work from home.
Dr. Pruthvi Manjunatha, research assistant professor and I-STREET testbed manager, reports that most of his projects are on schedule. One project that was about to gather data has been postponed as traffic is low at the moment, but he remains busy with multiple I-STREET projects at various stages.
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and the University of Florida visit their information site here.