In June 2018, in less than one week’s time, two Philadelphia children were struck by cars—one survived; the other didn’t. “Everything about our roadways and vehicles is designed for adults, not children,” explains Villanova University’s Clare Boothe Luce Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Seri Park, PhD, PTP. A transportation engineer with a focus on operation, control and design, Dr. Park has teamed with Aditya Belwadi, PhD, a research scientist in the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, to investigate young pedestrians’ behaviors. The goal is to help public agencies and vehicle manufacturers make informed decisions on appropriate safety prevention devices and measures.
“Vehicular accidents are the second leading cause of death for children,” says Dr. Park. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s 2015 crash data review, fatalities per age group indicates that approximately 21 percent of children ages 14 and younger killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Working with Dr. Belwadi, an expert in injury biomechanics, injury causation and the effectiveness of safety products for children, Dr. Park intends to study children’s whole-body response to vehicle-pedestrian interactions.