Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Featured Safe-D Student Interview: Huyen Le (VT)

Huyen T.K. Le is a Safe-D student at VT working on Safe-D Project 02-027: Street Noise Relationship to Vulnerable Road User Safety. Read her Safe-D Student interview below!

What are your research interests?

I am interested in travel behavior, activity-travel, transportation-related health outcomes, both physically and mentally.

How did you end up participating on a Safe-D project?

In 2016, my group (including Steven Hankey (VT), Ralph Buehler (VT), and myself) worked on a study to generate multi-city predictions of bicycle and pedestrian traffic. This work can be extended to other cities to generate prediction surface to be used for exposure assessment to crashes, air pollution, and other environmental hazards.

Greg Griffin (TTI/TAMU), the PI of this project, partnered with my group to generate such predictions for Austin, TX, and Washington, DC to serve as inputs for the main safety models. The Virginia Tech group supported noise data collection in the Washington, DC area, but I did not participate in this component.

What is your role on the Safe-D project that you are working on?

I estimated bicycle and pedestrian traffic in Austin, TX and Washington, DC to serve as inputs for the main safety models.

What do you like most about participating on this Safe-D project?

There are two things I like most about this project. First, I saw a lot of potential for fruitful collaboration across institutions. Second, outputs (and methods) from one project can be very useful inputs for other projects.

What has working on this project allowed you to learn/do/practice?

From this project, I learned a new method of collecting data through smartphone, as well as leveraging different data sources for exposure assessment.

How has/will this project benefit your education and future career goals?

Greg was the mastermind of this project and it was helpful for me to learn from him and other researchers as they worked to assemble all components into a tangible product.

Is your Safe-D project contributing to your thesis or dissertation? If so, when do you expect to complete your thesis/dissertation? If not, describe your thesis/dissertation topic and when you expect to complete it.

This Safe-D project was not part of my dissertation. I have recently defended my dissertation on travel demand and well-being. I used a smartphone app to track people’s movement within a week and their satisfaction and emotions for daily travel. The results showed that people loved their travel: they desired to make trips and extend their travel time in many cases. Also, satisfaction with travel played an important role in mode choice.

What are your career goals? If you are nearing graduation and have already taken an employment position after graduation, which institution will you be working for?

My goal is to pursue an academic career with a research focus on transportation, health, and environment. I graduated from VT in May 2019 and will join the Department of Geography at The Ohio State University as an assistant professor of urban sustainability in August.


The Safe-D Student and Faculty Interview Chain was created to encourage Safe-D students to facilitate contact with faculty and staff members participating on Safe-D projects via conducting a brief interview as a networking and career-building opportunity. To learn more about this initiative, please contact Safe-D Program Manager, Eric Glenn.