Va. Tech Transportation Institute director to step down
Tom Dingus to return to faculty after 25 years in position
Tom Dingus, the director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) for the past 25 years, will step down from his position and return to the faculty, the university announced Monday.
The endowed professor has been a driver safety researcher for the past 35 years and has had a keen focus on autonomous technologies for vehicles. In 2015, he was the only academic to be elected to the Virginia Governor’s Unmanned Systems Commission.
“Tom’s leadership has been one major reason that Virginia continues to lead the country in this cutting-edge industry,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said in a statement.
During his time with VTTI, Dingus has been involved with research focused on self-driving technologies and driver safety. VTTI works with private- and public-sector partners, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 14 automotive manufacturers (including General Motors) and more than 50 suppliers to create data acquisition, advanced data analytics, and simulation methods for development.
“Over many years, Tom has pioneered new approaches to understanding road safety and his influence has found its way into nearly every safety feature on every GM vehicle,” John Capp, GM director of vehicle safety technology, strategy and regulations, said in a statement. “I greatly appreciate all he has done to teach policy makers, the industry and me personally about how crashes happen and things we can do to make driving safer.”
VTTI, which was first founded as the Center for Transportation Research, employs approximately 500 people and is currently working on 300 projects. Annually, VTTI has more than $50 million in sponsored program research expenditures. It houses the $28 million Safety Through Disruption University Transportation Center and the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence.
“Tom’s exceptional work and his commitment to strengthening our nation’s ground transportation policies and safety infrastructure will benefit drivers and road travelers for decades to come,” Don Taylor, Virginia Tech executive vice provost, said in a statement.