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Michael Knodler Jr. - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Michael Knodler Jr.

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the UMass Transportation Center | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Michael Knodler's main areas of research and teaching are related to transportation safety, operations, design, and education.

Expertise (6)

Transportation Engineering

Traffic Operations

Driver Behavior (Older & Younger)

Transportation Safety

Pedestrian & Bicycles

Intelligent transportation systems


As director of the UMass Transportation Center, Michael Knodler studies transportation safety, operations, design, and education with the goal of Improving transportation mobility and safety with innovative technologies and strategies. He appears frequently in the media to discuss how transportation can be made safer and more efficient.

Social Media






UMass INFORMS Interview with Dr.  Michael Knodler UMass Amherst hosts 2019 Commercial Vehicle Safety Summit in Northampton


Education (3)

University of Massachusetts Amherst: Ph.D., Civil Engineering [Emphasis: Transportation Engineering]

University of Massachusetts Amherst: M.S., Civil Engineering

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth: B.S., Civil & Environmental Engineering

Select Recent Media Coverage (6)

"Vision Zero" for no traffic deaths has a long way to go in Massachusetts

WBZ News  tv


Michael Knodler, director of the UMass Transportation Center, comments on the idea of “Vision Zero,” or the goal of eliminating serious/fatal car crashes, in Massachusetts. “It’s really a change in philosophy, in terms of how we approach roadway design,” he says. “We know human factor is a big part of [crashes] and we know humans are going to make mistakes, so given those two things, let’s design a roadway system that recognizes that.”

mike knodler

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Highway safety advocates: Mass. traffic laws are improving

MassLive  online


Michael Knodler, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center, says Massachusetts is taking steps to improve traffic safety. “The state is recognizing the value of human life — in drivers, bikers and pedestrians. Equal access to safety is a primary focus for the state,” Knodler says.

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UMass Amherst Opens Aviation Center With High-Tech Simulator

Government Technology  online


The 8,500-square-foot center was built with $4.75 million in state Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force money and a $500,000 Buehler Foundation grant that funds the high-tech air traffic control tower simulator. It was proposed a decade ago with the idea of creating a partnership with the civilian airport and U.S. Air Force at Westover Air Reserve Base, said Michael A. Knodler Jr., director of the UMass Transportation Center.

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This is how Chicopee seeks to slow traffic on busy Willimansett streets where 3 pedestrians have been killed

MassLive  online


“I applaud the creativity of this. I think it is fantastic,” said Michael A. Knodler, Jr., director of the Transportation Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a civil and environmental engineering professor.

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UMass will lead regional transportation research center

Daily Hampshire Gazette  online


“Despite traffic safety advances, roadway fatalities in 2021 were the highest in over a decade, and up more than 10% from 2020,” said Michael Knodler Jr., director of the UMass Transportation Center and a professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

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The 'Zipper Merge' May Seem Aggressive, But It's Actually A Highway Congestion Reliever

WBUR  online


On a recent morning in Amherst, Mike Knodler, a civil engineer and director of the Traffic Safety Research Program at UMass Amherst, stood by the side of the road next to a yellow merge sign. “We have a regular joke, which is you can't be an outstanding traffic engineer unless you're out, standing in traffic,” Knodler said. Mike Knodler is a proponent of the zipper merge. “This group seems to alternate merging, and it worked perfectly because they did sort of sequence — it was 1:1,” Knodler said.

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Select Publications (5)

Developing a Geospatial Safety Analysis Tool: A Systematic Approach to Identify Safety-Critical Horizontal Curve Segments and Hazardous Contributing Factors

Journal of Transportation Engineering, Part A: Systems

2023 Transportation agencies make substantial efforts to implement safety improvement countermeasures to mitigate safety hazards. However, region-specific safety considerations, rather than accepting more general, widespread methods, and the most ideal investment decisions to improve safety, are often unclear. This is of increased concern for horizontal curve segments, because they are locations of elevated safety risk. Yet, there exists a gap in literature on the development and use of a geospatial tool to investigate horizontal curve safety. To fill this gap, a methodological approach to create a region-specific geospatial horizontal curve safety tool was developed in this research.

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Investigating the Safety Impact of Segment-and Intersection-Level Bicycle Treatments on Bicycle–Motorized Vehicle Crashes

Transportation Research Record

2023 Bicycle treatments are installed to elevate motorists’ awareness of the presence of bicyclists and to enhance bicycle safety and mobility. To date, no studies have compared the safety benefits of sharrows and protected- and conventional bike lanes, or intersection-level treatments like bike boxes and intersection-crossing pavement markings. One factor that limits bicycle safety research is the lack of adequate bicycle exposure data. For this study, a crowdsource app was used for estimating networkwide bicycle demand data for Portland, OR. Crash prediction models were developed for road segments and signalized intersections to associate bicycle treatment presence and type with crash frequency.

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Driver performance at horizontal curves: bridging critical research gaps to increase safety

Traffic Safety Research

2022 Horizontal curve segments are locations of critical safety concern given their high crash rates. Extensive research has identified that behavioral factors influence the occurrence of such crashes. However, the most beneficial countermeasure for a curve is not always implemented or is implemented inefficiently due to a lack of full understanding of driver behavior at curves compared to tangent roadway segments. The aim of this research is to identify the conditions that impact safety at curve locations compared to tangent segment locations. This is completed through a literature review of current research relating to curve safety issues and a safety analysis of curve and tangent segment data using a novel dataset that includes curve data throughout a region.

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The impact of sex on motor vehicle crash injury outcomes

Journal of Transportation Safety & Security

2022 Female and male drivers have different size proportions and anthropometry. However, in the United States and throughout the world, male crash dummies are the norm in vehicle testing and female crash dummies with representative anthropometric characteristics has not yet been used in testing to date. Given this discrepancy, female driver safety is not considered at the same level as male driver safety in the vehicle design and testing process. This research investigates the gap in literature of injury locations experienced by female and male drivers in comparable crashes using a newly created linked dataset of crash and emergency medical services (EMS) data in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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Crash proximity and equivalent property damage calculation techniques: An investigation using a novel horizontal curve dataset

Accident Analysis & Prevention


Despite the numerous breakthroughs in crash analytics, there remains a lack of consensus among safety practitioners as to the optimal method for locating high crash locations. Two critical components in the traffic safety analysis process not agreed upon are 1) how the crash distance to a target location is included in the analysis and 2) how crashes are weighted based on crash-related characteristics ...

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