Jacqueline M. Jenkins

Dr. Jacqueline Jenkins holds a B.A.Sc. degree in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo and M.E. and Ph.D. degrees from Texas A&M University. Specializing in transportation, Dr. Jenkins' research is focused on examining the characteristics of users as they relate to the design, operation and maintenance of transportation facilities and systems. The overarching goal is to improve how the needs, capabilities and limitations of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are considered, thus improving the safety and efficiency of such systems.
A major challenge of this work is observing users in the field. Although collecting information about the characteristics of traffic flow and the movement of individual vehicles has benefited from the use of advanced technologies, such as laser scanners and radar, collecting personal information about individual users still requires direct contact. A driving simulator offers the safety benefits of a controlled environment to test participants under a variety of specific test conditions, capture detailed information about participants' control of the simulated vehicle, as well as provide the opportunity to interview participants. For these reasons, Dr. Jenkins turned to the use of driving simulation as a tool for conducting traffic and transportation studies.
Dr. Jenkins' dissertation examined integrating driving simulator and traffic simulation software to improve the ability to generate calibrated traffic flows in driving simulation environments and improve vehicle behavior in traffic simulations. An integration was facilitated using High Level Architecture and then applied to study the impact of longer impeding vehicles on the passing behavior of drivers on two lane rural roads.
Dr. Jenkins has also conducted driving simulation studies to examine the extent and effect of cellular telephone conversations on drivers' vehicle control and drivers' understanding of various protected and permitted left turn indications. The results have been compared to observations taken in the field to determine the external validity of such experiments. To examine the internal validity of driving simulator experiments, Dr. Jenkins has supervised research in the area of adaptation, defined as the process through which participants learn to interact with the simulator vehicle and simulated environment. The results of this work support the notion that driving tasks practiced during a training scenario can predispose the driver's performance during subsequent experimental scenarios, thus highlighting the importance of designing complementary training scenarios and providing participants adequate opportunity to adapt.
At CSU, Dr Jenkins will collaborate with the University Transportation Center, industry, government, and professional organizations, along with faculty and students to study work zone safety and efficiency. Both field studies and driving simulation studies will be valuable in this endeavor and will contribute to the evaluation of driver behavior and the development of practical solutions, sensitive to the prevailing political, social and economic environments.
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