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Hughes Eyes Retirement

Ron Hughes, director of the Visualization, Analysis, Modeling, and Simulation (VAMS) Group at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) will retire at the end of June. Hughes has been at ITRE since 2005.

In addition to leading the VAMS Group, Hughes served as the principal investigator for the commercial motor vehicle research area and for research involving the application of microscopic simulation and visualization to pedestrians and roundabouts.

With a focus on making highways safer, Hughes brought the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program to ITRE in 2006 and added the Federal Highway Administration Truck Size and Weight program in 2007. The program currently includes the State Highway Patrol at large and freight planning. Hughes has also served as the liaison between ITRE and Volvo Technology America and Volvo Trucks North America on collaborative research into advanced vehicle concepts, safety and security.

“It is incredible how time quickly passes,” said ITRE Director Nagui Rouphail about Hughes’ tenure at the institute. “Ron and I came to North Carolina at about the same time back in the early 1990s. We had the same aspirations in seeing to it that transportation research takes its proper and eminent place as a state priority.”

Hughes has worked as a research psychologist for the past 38 years. His career has spanned defense, aerospace and transportation domains. Prior to coming to ITRE, Hughes worked as a research psychologist for the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) in Chapel Hill.

Hughes has been the recipient of a number of awards including a Transportation Research Board (TRB) outstanding paper award, as well as two awards from the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety: the Meritorious Service Award and the Gold Circle Award. Through the TRB Visualization in Transportation Committee (ABJ95), he has coordinated local and national level transportation visualization research opportunities. He has also served as chair of the Visualization Research Needs subcommittee.

“I was delighted to be able to recruit Ron to come to ITRE from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005,” said Rouphail. “He has been a great addition to our staff and has provided invaluable strategic thinking and guidance to the many state agencies that have been fortunate to work with him over the years. I hope we can continue to collaborate with him in some capacity in the future after Ron finally gets a chance to enjoy the slower pace of life and all the perks it offers.”

After a cruise to Alaska in August with his wife Jane Ann, Hughes plans to continue consulting for the Motor Carrier Enforcement component of the NC State Highway Patrol and to pursue other consulting opportunities in data visualization.

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