Careers at Virginia Tech

Senior Human Factors Transportation Researcher

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Work type: Research Faculty
Senior management: Vice President for Research
Department: Virginia Tech Transportation Instit
Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Categories: Research / Scientific, Transportation

Job Description

Make a difference while working with the latest technologies in a field that affects the safety and quality of life of almost everyone. Transportation is undergoing an incredible transformation as automated and safety-related technologies are introduced across one of the largest industry sectors in the U.S. You can play a part in saving lives by preventing heavy vehicle crashes and improving livelihoods by evaluating the implementation of automated technologies in heavy trucks. At the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), a world-leading research enterprise, we are working with government agencies, transportation and safety organizations, vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, and others to overcome these challenges and improve transportation safety and performance on the world’s roads.

The Division of Freight, Transit, and Heavy Vehicle Safety (DHVY), a research-focused group within VTTI, seeks qualified, experienced and ambitious engineering (industrial), human factors or traffic safety professionals with a strong background in psychology, safety, and/or vehicle technology.

This position seeks candidates who demonstrate significant project leadership and management experience in transportation research or related fields They have an aptitude for solving complex problems through the application of advanced research and development techniques, and conducting research and publishing results in an ethical manner. Research projects range from driving simulators and test track experiments using a single vehicle to large-scale naturalistic driving studies that involve collecting data from hundreds of vehicles on public roadways. Research topics include, but are not limited to, driver behavior (distraction and fatigue), automated vehicle systems, collision warning/avoidance systems, and cybersecurity. The candidate must be interested in working with heavy vehicles, including commercial trucks, transit buses, and motorcoaches.

VTTI provides opportunities for professional advancement and a pay-for-performance structure.

SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: As a senior team member, the successful candidate will contribute to the conceptualization of research and proposal development with the objective of serving in both principal investigator and co-principal investigator capacities. The successful applicant will manage the day-to-day operations of research projects and conduct various project research tasks, including literature reviews, research design, research execution, data analysis, report writing, presentations, and publications. Experience with human factors research in transportation or related fields is required, and expertise in statistical analyses is preferred. The applicant must have an interest in improving transportation safety and be willing to work on multiple projects in a fast-paced, demanding, and yet highly rewarding research environment.

Duties and responsibilities will include:
• Lead in the development of proposals and assist other senior researchers in the development
of proposals
• Perform and/or oversee literature reviews
• Lead and assist conceptualization and creation of work plans, protocols, and procedures
• Review, critique, and revise research plans and reports
• Coordinate and collaborate with subcontractors and interface with stakeholders and sponsors
• Maintain existing sponsor relationships, develop new relationships with potential sponsors, and solicit research funding
• Prepare and analyze data
• Interpret results and develop robust conclusions
• Write research reports
• Present and publish research findings, interfacing directly with sponsors to understand requirements and deliver technical presentations
• Interface with engineers, designers, and testing lab personnel to process data from vehicle sensors
• Must be able to work effectively independently as well as within multidisciplinary project teams as appropriate.
• Travel to research sites to collect data and/or conferences for presentations and networking (requirement fluctuates but will generally be <15%)
• Supervise the work of researchers, graduate research assistants, technicians, and others who assist in specific assignments. Act as a mentor for junior researchers through provision of knowledge transfer
• Provide direction on project objectives, feedback on proposed research plans, and project logistics for multiple projects including scheduling and budget maintenance.

The selected candidate will require a criminal background check, a valid driver's license, and a good driving record. Must be eligible to work in the US due to Export Controls.

Required Qualifications

• PhD in Industrial Engineering, Human Factors Engineering, or related Psychology field. A Master's degree in Industrial Engineering or Human Factors Engineering or Human factors related field(s) may be considered in lieu of PHD degree with significant level of training and experience.
• Proven understanding of human factors principles needed to analyze, verify, and interpret work.
• Demonstrated experience in transportation or related field.
• Ability to lead project teams and oversee project schedule, budgets, and deliverables.
• Demonstrated strong writing and organizational skills.
• Publications in related field of human factors, intelligent transportations systems, and safety analysis.

Preferred Qualifications

• Demonstrated Programming experience, Matlab programming experience is preferred.
• Prior background in data processing and analysis.
• Proposal writing experience

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Review Date


Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Lisa Eichelberger at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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