Arkansas traffic engineering student presents to national panel

Marci Early taped 25 hours of activity at two intersections and dissecting 113 scenarios occurring there.
Marci Early taped 25 hours of activity at two intersections and dissecting 113 scenarios occurring there. | File photo

A University of Arkansas civil engineering student presented her research on driver behavior at intersections at the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting last month in Washington, D.C.

Junior Marci Early accumulated the findings as part of a 10-week internship working under Karen Nixon at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute for the Center for Advancing Transportation Leadership and Safety. Her project focused on how drivers interpret right of way when waiting at opposing stop signs.

By taping 25 hours of activity at two intersections and dissecting 113 scenarios occurring there, Early found that more than 40 percent of drivers ignored laws giving right-turning drivers the right of way. These laws exist in 49 states to govern that exact situation. 

Early said the amount of traffic buildup behind the drivers waiting to turn and the order of arrival at the intersection were more influential in drivers' choices.

Early presented her findings at an event attended by more than 12,000 people.

"While the experience was overwhelming, it was really cool to be able to say I was from the University of Arkansas," Early said. "I didn't expect this internship to lead to so much more. The exposure to full-time research really piqued my interest in graduate school."

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