Shane has been working in the transport and road safety fields since he completed his PhD in Civil Engineering in 1995. His thesis involved the development of crash prediction models for traffic signals and urban roads. He has subsequently complete over 20 research studies and written over 60 papers. His work on crash prediction models for pedestrian and bicycle crashes has been world-leading. He is active internationally through TRB in the USA. He is currently lead advisor on an NCHRP (USA) project that is building pedestrian and bicycle crash prediction models (safety performance functions) for the Highway Safety Manual (HSM).
What made you decide to become a road safety professional?
My passionate for saving lives and reducing trauma lead to me specialising in this area of transportation. With the rising road toll in New Zealand the renewed focus by clients on road safety is paramount.
What did you do before joining Abley?
I worked at Stantec NZ as a road safety specialist and team leader. I have been involved in a wide cross-section of different transport studies through my career. In addition to road safety I have also been involved in several high-profile transportation studies. The most recent one being the development of a downstream effects management plan (DEMP) for the Christchurch Northern Motorway.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy doing research and applied studies that focus on the key causes of crashes and help unlock new improvement options across the safe system. I particular enjoy doing research on pedestrian and bicycle safety, with some of my research being cutting-edge internationally.
What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
The two most challenging parts of my road safety projects are data quality and selecting the best statistical analysis tools.
Most of the data that we use in transport is of variable quality. Collecting new data and cleaning up current data can be very time consuming, and hence costly, and so often we have to work with data that is not as good as we would like. Understanding the limitations of the data-set is really important when interpreting results. A common mistake in crash analysis is selection of traditional statistical analysis methods like multiple linear regression and the traditional t-tests. Due to the distribution of crash data (which have a Poison/negative binomial distribution) more complex statistical tools (e.g. Generalised Linear Modelling) are normally required. It is important to seek the advice of a statistician when doing analysis of crash data. I fortunately work with a very skilled statistician, and this gives me confidence in the research I do.
What’s been your Career highlight so far?
There are a number of career highlights. If I had to pick one it would be being asked to be an international member of a Transport Research Board safety research committee in the USA (ANB20 – Safety Data, Analysis and Evaluation). I served on the committee for 9-years (maximum terms). Through my involvement at the national TRB conference in Washington DC over the last 12 years I have made a large number of global contacts and been involved in international cutting edge research. Most recent as a key advisor on a NCHRP research project (18-84) that looks at pedestrian and bicycle crash prediction models for the Highway Safety Manual. I am currently a member of the TRB Pedestrian Committee and co-chair the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Analysis subcommittee.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Most of my spare time is spent doing activities with my family and with my church family. I enjoy travelling, reading, watching movies and cycling.