Kimberly Vachal, PhD


Associate Professor, Transportation & Logistics

Program Director, Traffic Safety and Ag Freight Center


Transportation Program and Policy Research



OVERVIEW
Traffic safety and agricultural transportation are important issues in our region. Traffic safety is a leading public health issue – crashes are a leading cause of unintended death in the United States. It is especially critical to rural regions, such as ours, where a relatively large share of these events occur. Agriculture is a leading industry for our region’s economy. Long distances to export markets make competitive transportation essential in future success.

Dr. Vachal’s agricultural transportation research focuses on policy and investment that will assure farmers have competitive and reliable access to a multimodal network in domestic and export market channels. In additional to traditional bulk grain markets, she focuses on opportunities to serve niche markets with specialized logistics such as identity preserved commodities and containerization. Research and knowledge transfer are accomplished in cooperation with stakeholders in the agricultural and safety spaces.

CURRENT RESEARCH

  • Impaired driving prevention strategies through education, enforcement and policy.
  • Occupant protection promotion and intelligent safety systems.
  • Increasing novice driver improvement strategies.
  • Grain truck marketing and large truck safety in the Upper Midwest.
  • Inland grain market transportation planning, investment, and function.
  • Containerized grain shipping supply chain opportunities.

IMPACT
Dr. Vachal authored over 70 publications in agricultural transportation and traffic safety. Her experience in these fields has led to opportunities for NCHRP panel and TRB standing committee participation, in member and chair roles. In addition, she has planned and participated in a multitude of public outreach events such as conferences, workshops, strategic planning committees, and task forces. Her research focuses on bringing innovative strategies and preferred policies that assure the region has a future with safe and competitive mobility. She will continue to work in partnership with public and private stakeholders to identify and assess strategies that are most effective in addressing critical traffic safety and agricultural transport issues in our region. Engaging students as our future leaders in these fields will continue to be a priority for future research endeavors.

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