Leading FHWA expert to become new head of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety


The travel safety and research division of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, the AAA (American Automobile Association), has appointed a leading figure from the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as its new executive director.

Dr C Y David Yang (right), a leading expert in transportation and traffic safety research, has been selected to be the new executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Established by AAA in 1947, the Foundation is a not-for-profit, publicly supported charitable research and educational organization that is dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on the USA’s roads, with a long-term mission to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded more than 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur.

Dr Yang joins the Foundation after having served most recently as the human factors team leader with the FHWA, where he transformed the agency’s Human Factors Laboratory into a world-class research facility with state-of-the-art tools and top-notch researchers. Yang is well known and highly regarded in national and international transportation communities, chairing the Users Performance Section of the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board (TRB) and serving on the editorial boards of two noted transportation journals. A prominent and award-winning transportation expert, he has published more than 40 journal articles, conference papers and government reports on subjects related to transportation safety, operations and intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

“Dr Yang is uniquely qualified to lead the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety as it heads into its 70th year,” said AAA Foundation Board of Trustees chairman, Mark A Shaw. “The Foundation has established a strong reputation for important research that informs efforts to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths, and I am confident that Dr Yang’s experience and deep commitment to traffic safety will increase the Foundation’s impact as a leading safety research organization. He assumes the leadership of the Foundation at an important time. The Foundation is conducting valuable research in areas including impaired and distracted driving, teen and senior drivers, and other important topics. Under Dr Yang’s leadership, the Foundation will continue to provide innovative insights to increase the Foundation’s and AAA’s impact on safety.”

Yang commented, “I look forward to joining and working with the respected team of researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in the near future. I am proud to have the opportunity to lead this organization that is dedicated to improving safety on our nation’s roadways.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).