New director to steer road safety body

Professor Mary Lydon

Professor Mary Lydon
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Monday, 14 January 2008

The University of Adelaide has appointed a new director to lead the internationally renowned Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR).

Professor Mary Lydon, an expert in road safety, traffic management and road design, has more than 30 years' experience in the field and is expected to consolidate CASR's reputation as the national leader in automotive safety research.

Her appointment follows the retirement of CASR's founding director, Professor Jack McLean.

Professor Lydon has spent the past five years as General Manager of the Research Division of the Australian Road Research Board, based in Melbourne. Her career includes stints as 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, lobbying for additional road infrastructure funds 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."

Professor Lydon said Australia was second only to Scandinavia in world road safety research and CASR played a significant role in helping to shape government policy and industry direction in this area.

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".

Professor Lydon takes up her new role on March 31, 2008.


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