Driving ahead on road safety research
The new director of the University's Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR), Professor Mary Lydon, will be ensuring the centre comes to the attention of the world's road safety policy-makers.
"Where we need to be is in the minds of the people responsible for road safety policy globally," said Professor Lydon, who joined the University of Adelaide at the end of March.
"We want to be where they look for the research evidence they need to formulate policy."
Professor Lydon said she will be aiming to secure and build on the centre's existing research capability and reputation as the national leader in automotive safety research.
An expert in road safety, traffic management and road design with more than 30 years' experience in the field, Professor Lydon has replaced the founding director of CASR, Professor Jack McLean.
She spent the past five years as General Manager of the Research Division of the Australian Road Research Board, based in Melbourne. Before that she was a traffic engineer, rural road designer, network manager, road safety research scientist and senior policy analyst. Apart from her extensive management and operational roles she also has a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Queensland.
Under her directorship, CASR will focus on providing technological solutions to improving road safety, providing the research evidence for road infrastructure resource requirements, and meeting the challenge of new road users.
"The big issue is safety and we are working on new tools to make our cars and driving environment much safer," Professor Lydon said.
"This includes the design and manufacture of `intelligent' vehicles which improve driving skills, the provision of user aids for motorists as well as more fatigue control measures.
"Improving our road infrastructure is also CASR's priority and we will continue to demonstrate what funds are required and where they can best be applied.
"The third biggest challenge facing the organisation is the significant increase in new transport modes as a result of recent petrol hikes and concerns for our environment. Traditional road users now have to share their space with cyclists, scooters and different types of vehicles. Trucks are also getting bigger and we have to find a way of accommodating all these vehicles on our roads in the safest possible way."
Outgoing director Professor Jack McLean said Professor Lydon's unique combination of skills would ensure that CASR brings even greater credit to the University of Adelaide and South Australia as "an outstanding road safety research centre on the world stage".
Story by Candy Gibson and Robyn Mills