Looking Ahead

We believe that our workforce is outstanding, well-trained, and highly motivated. They have delivered outstanding service to our clients, and are well-experienced in acquiring data, assuring quality in the data handling process, creating computer apps to enhance data quality, and analysis. While they are not limited to field data collection, they excel at it, using the newest available tools and methods, and “hands-on” investigating crashed vehicles.

Looking forward, we see a continuing need for the vehicle crash investigations and related special studies. We have the tools and experience, and have proven to be an asset to our clients. These activities will remain a core focus for KLD.

At the same time, the work we have done in special studies and in keeping aware of evolving needs, we see future activities in:

  • Crash Causation Investigations. Tremendous improvements have been made to vehicle crashworthiness and survivability, due to mandates from NHTSA’s work and findings, the attention of manufacturers, and market forces that prioritize safety features in vehicles. Attention to crash causation is growing: that is, not just the safety in a crash, but the underlying factors that allow the crash to occur. KLD has done such work as part of special studies.
  • Additional Vehicle Types and Other Travel Modes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) focuses on truck safety. KLD has participated in such studies, and in mid-size trucks. As trucks automate, the effects on the mixed traffic stream are of special interest. So are other modes that share the right-of-way or are in immediate proximity to it, such as pedestrians on city streets and especially in intersections and such as bicycles in the traffic mix.
  • Connected Vehicles and Autonomous Vehicles. This is no longer a vision for the future. There have been tremendous investments in research, in development, and in demonstration. Manufacturers are making major investments. Safety studies will be needed for more vehicle types and for the mix of vehicles that might be involved in a crash. Risk metrics will likely need attention for near-crashes.
  • Electric Vehicles. EV’s are a major innovation that has become a national priority, due to energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. The map of charging stations throughout the US is already startling. Significant Federal money has been committed. Manufacturers have prioritized EV’s in a competitive market. Some areas are mandating that new gas-powered vehicles cannot be sold after a certain year. Certainly, EV’s must be listed as a new vehicle type. But it goes beyond that: EV’s interacting with other vehicles and with pedestrians and bicycles has to be quantified in terms of crashes and risk.
  • Public Alert and Other Apps. KLD has developed apps for data collection and data quality. It developed others, including quantifying task times at a crash investigation site. A firm with which KLD has partnered has designed and implemented apps to inform people of incidents and advisories near power plants. Creating apps while also quantifying the role of “distracting walking” as a contributor to crashes.

KLD has had experience in most of the items on this list, and studies trends and opportunities in these areas. Internal work (IR&D), training or retraining some of its workforce, and strategic hiring will strengthen capabilities when and where appropriate.

KLD has always invested in IR&D and sought out new areas. Our current areas of focus are:

  • Crash Reconstruction
  • Big Data: Management & Analysis
  • Connected Vehicle & Safety
  • Ped & Bike Safety
  • Mobile Apps

Crash Reconstruction

KLD has performed analyses of individual motor vehicle crashes and of crash patterns for over 45 years. Our uniquely trained researchers and investigators perform thorough field investigations of individual crashes to reconstruct events, identify causative factors, and evaluate occupant protection and avoidance technologies. To further enhance the scope of our abilities, KLD has added staff with expertise in Total Station, Special Crash Investigations, technical/procedural document development/writing, and training. This development moves KLD into new areas of service to our clients.

Big Data: Management & Analysis

The era of big data is upon us in transportation and the potential vastness of the data becoming available can initially overwhelm traffic professionals and researchers, because the very magnitude seems to hold promises of untold levels of responsiveness and innovation. Therefore, there is a need to matching data with usage and develop a supporting set of robust tools. The management aspects (database design, data security, real time and offline systems, automated reports and health monitoring) and the analytics (dashboards, data summaries, etc.) are areas that we are currently looking to leverage our experience from work done to date.

Connected vehicles and safety

The rate of acceleration of technologies related to the autonomous/connected vehicles has been outpacing typical automotive innovation due to increased participation from a lot players outside the traditional automotive OEMs. We are soon entering the phase that will be referred to as the hybrid mode where the non-connected/semi-automated vehicle systems will co-exist with fully automated/connected systems. It is in our DNA to work on traffic safety, which is one the main driving forces/goals for this new technology. With the increased participation from the Federal government (USDOT, NHTSA, State and City DOTs) in the connected/autonomous vehicle technologies and the existing private sector involvement, this is an area that we are looking to leverage our experience to develop solutions.

Ped and Bike and Safety

The future of our planet is in our cities and urban centers. The urban migration is a trend that is expanding our cities geographically, and reshaping the urban planning paradigms. The increased reliance on non-motorized modes for transport (walking, biking, etc.) with the reduction in automobile ownership, increase in ride sharing (uber, lyft) have increased the design of ped and bike friendly areas (pedestrian malls in the large cities such as New York, Paris and London), and in turn require a different level of safety assessments for peds and bikes. The Vision Zero goals for government entities around the world have put the spotlight on ped and bike safety. We are looking to build off our strong background in safety to develop tools that work towards enhancing bike and ped safety, and to participate in large data programs related to this theme.

Mobile Apps

The mobile phone has revolutionized the way we interact with devices and ushered in an era of enhanced productivity for transportation professionals in the field. The mobile devices (phones, tablets, computers) have seen explosive growth in computational power and capabilities in terms of sensors on these devices. Leveraging these to support transportation professionals is something we have done successfully in projects such as TPMS. The ability to collect data efficiently with high quality, to monitor the data sets in real time, and to refine the experimental designs on the fly offers improved ROIs on large scale data collection efforts. Also, the need to ensure data security and privacy for both data at rest and in transit, requires special attention as well. We see the need to be involved in the areas of cyber security and transportation, with a special focus on mobile apps to support large scale data collection efforts.