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Dr. Steven Jones

As the deputy director of The Alabama Transportation Institute and as a professor in civil engineering, Steven is paving the way for new, innovative ideas in transportation technology to enhance and better the state and nation.

Steven Jones thinks about transportation all the time. As the deputy director of the Alabama Transportation Institute at The University of Alabama (ATI), Steven works out the details of transportation that Alabamians drive over every day without a second thought and turns those details into progress in the future of road technology.

Steven Jones

ATI facilitates its interdisciplinary leadership among the emergent themes of digital transportation; connected vehicles and infrastructure; transportation safety; security and access; electric vehicles and fuel economy and sustainable transportation infrastructure. These innovative and collaborative efforts are upheld by ATI’s four pillars of service, research, communication and organization.

“My role is to oversee the research side of things,” Steven said.

With a special interest toward road safety, Steven oversees the research occurring within each of ATI’s themes, carrying perspective and knowledge from one area to the next to ensure continuity and communication.

“One of the biggest things as we go forward with these technologies is making our roads and cars safer so people are less likely to have crashes,” he said. “And, when they do have crashes, they’re less likely to be killed or seriously hurt.”

Some of these technologies range from the size of the reflective dots on overhead interstate signs to the composition of the asphalt beneath tires.

“We have people developing and designing better transportation materials so that pavements last longer. Then, you don’t have to have road work and work zones so often.”

Setting the pace for the future, ATI has several potential opportunities to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy to research safer, more fuel-efficient cars, delivering a return on investment to Alabama’s citizens.

“Electric vehicles affect fuel efficiency, making transportation less expensive,” Steven said. “That’s important to the state of Alabama, and that’s important to the economy.”

As ATI moves forward with its bold ideas and partnerships across campus, including those with the Center for Advanced Public Safety and the Center for Economic Research, Steven sees a bright road ahead.

“The future for transportation in the state of Alabama is the future for the U.S.,” Steven said. “The big projects we’re really going to push is advanced vehicle technology — connected, autonomous vehicles, driverless cars, robo-taxis — all the cool things we see in the news.” In May 2021, Steven was also named a Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador, a role he will continue for two years.

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