Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Staff photo

Dr Frank Lai

Senior Research Fellow / Director of International Teaching Partnerships

Phone: +44 (0)113 34 35350
Room: 1.02
Research Group: Human Factors and Safety

Key Research Interests

  • Road safety
  • Traffic management
  • Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Technologies and mobility
  • Road user behaviour and attitude
  • Human factors and Human Machine Interaction

Employment History

  • 02/2011: Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 08/2003: Research Fellow, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 09/2001: Research Officer, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • 04/1999: Tutorial Assistant, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds


  • B.A., Traffic and Transport Management, Tam Kang University, Taiwan, 1993.
  • M.Sc. (Eng), Transport Planning and Engineering, University of Leeds, 1997.
  • Ph.D., Transport, University of Leeds, 2005.

Professional Engagements

  • Editor-in-Chief of IET Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  • Member of the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT).
  • Journal reviewer:
    • Safety Science
    • Accident Analysis and Prevention
    • Transport Policy
    • Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
    • Environmental Impact Assessment Review
    • Applied Ergonomics
    • Cognition, Technology & Work
    • Human Factors
    • Journal of Advanced Transportation
    • European Journal of Automation
    • IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
    • IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine
    • Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering
    • International Journal of Human Computer Interaction
  • Research funding reviewer:
    • Economic and Social Research Council, UK
    • The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
    • Technology Foundation, the Netherlands
    • Estonian Research Council
    • Romanian Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation

Administrative Experience

  • 01/2015 - date: Director of International Teaching Partnerships
  • 03/2014 - date: Teaching Enhancement Scheme Coordinator
  • 09/2010 - date: Advisor to International Students
  • 11/2011 - 12/2015: Director of Short Courses
  • 09/2010 - 09/2013: Chair of IT Committee
  • 09/2005 - 09/2010: Member of Computing Committee
  • 07/2010 - 10/2010: Staff Manager of the Safety Group
  • 03/2006 - 01/2007: Staff Manager of the Safety Group

Research Projects

  • The effect of new technologies on speed distributions, funded by EPSRC, 1999-2001.
  • Effectiveness of the National Driver Improvement Scheme (NDIS), funded by Department for Transport, 2001 - 2005.
  • Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), funded by Department for Transport, 2001 - 2006.
  • Human Machine Interface and the Safety of Traffic in Europe (HASTE), funded by European Commission, 2002 - 2005.
  • Adaptive Integrated Driver-vehicle Interface (AIDE), funded by European Commission, 2004 - 2008.
  • Interaction between speed choice and road environment, funded by Department for Transport, 2006-2008.
  • Effects of Automated Systems on Safety (EASY), funded by EPSRC, 2007-2010.
  • Speed Limit Adherence and its effect on road safety and climate change, funded by  Commission for Integrated Transport, 2007-2008.
  • Field Operational Test Support Action (FESTA), funded by European Commission, 2007-2008.
  • Field Operational Tests Networking and Implementation (FOT-NET), funded by  European Commission, 2008-2010.
  • IT for Error Remediation and Trapping Emergencies (ITERATE), funded by European Commission, 2008-2011.
  • Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) for Lancashire, funded by the Department for Transport, 2009-2011.
  • ecoDriver (Supporting the driver in conserving energy and reducing emissions), funded by European Commission, 2011-2015.
  • Public Health Variable Message Signs, funded by Birmingham Primary Care Trust, 2012-2013.
  • UDRIVE (eUropean naturalistic Driving and Riding for Infrastructure & Vehicle safety and Environment), funded by European Commission, 2012-2017.
  • Scoping study on pedestrian safety, funded by First Group plc. 2014.
  • Evaluation of the National Speed Awareness Course, funded by the Department for Transport, 2015-2017.

Undergraduate modules

  • Transport, Mobility and Safety [TRAN2070]

Masters modules

Masters dissertation supervision

Past topics

  • The impact of roadside advertising upon driver distraction
  • What catches drivers’ attention?
  • Studying vehicle emissions in 20mph zones
  • Reducing speed limit for single carriageway roads: is there sufficient gain in safety?
  • Speed limit compliance and enforcement strategies
  • Speed management in 20mph zone
  • Effectiveness of 20 mph zones on road casualty reduction
  • Study of signalised intersections in the Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Immigrants and road safety campaign
  • What are the causes of increased levels of cycling?
  • Add-on functionality to portable sat nav systems: what do drivers want?
  • Mobile technologies and road safety
  • Young drivers and their involvement in road traffic accidents in Leicestershire
  • Deployment strategy of electric vehicles
  • Speed limit for motorways: a case study of increasing speed limits
  • Effectiveness of Variable Message Signs
  • Elderly's travel pattern and travel time
  • Evaluation of priority pedestrian crossings

Current topics

  • Pedestrian crossings design considerations
  • Vulnerable Road Users and Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Creditability of speed limits
  • Mobile devices and pedestrian road safety


PhD thesis supervision

Past topics

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the National Driver Improvement Scheme
  • Investigating confidence through assessment and comparison of perceived and actual skills

Current topics

  • The effective use of ITS and other advanced communication technologies in reducing the transport impacts of disasters
  • Policing strategies for road safety improvement
  • Appropriate speeds: impact on road safety and environment
  • Traffic safety and risk perception

Future topic areas

I am interested in supervising the following topic areas.

  • Intelligent Transport Systems and Vulnerable Road Users
  • Future transport provision and mobility
  • Electric vehicles: uptake and long term impacts
  • Road safety countermeasures for different road user groups
  • Immigrants and road safety
  • Mobile devices and road safety
  • Speed limits and appropriate speeds
  • Novice driver training, including pre-test and post-test training
  • Promoting walking and cycling: health benefits and risks
  • Traffic management techniques



Vulnerable Road Users and Intelligent Transport Systems


Book Chapters

  • Barnard YF; Carsten O; Lai F (2011) From Theoretical Model to Experimental Data: A Structured Approach to Design Experiments to Seed a Model of Vehicle Operation with New Systems, In: Carlo CP (Ed) Human Modelling in Assisted Transportation, Springer-Verlag New York Inc, pp.109-117.
  • Merat N; Jamson AH; Lai FCH; Carsten OMJ (2010) Automated driving, secondary task performance and situation awareness, In: de Waard D; Axelsson A; Berglund M; Peters B; Weikert C (Ed) Human Factors: A system view of human, technology and organisation, Shaker Publishing B.V., pp.41-53.
  • Lai FCH; Barnard Y (2010) Spotting sheep in Yorkshire: using eye-tracking for studying situation awareness in a driving simulator, In: de Waard D; Axelsson A; Berglund M; Peters B; Weikert C (Ed) Human Factors: A system view of human, technology and organisation, Shaker Publishing B.V., pp.249-261.

Internet Publications


  • Jamson S; Lai FCH; Jamson AH; Horrobin A; Carsten O (2008) Interaction between Speed Choice and Road Environment, .
  • Lai F; Chorlton K; Simpkin R; Fowkes M (2008) Results of Truck Trial, .
  • Carsten OMJ; Fowkes M; Lai F; Chorlton K; Jamson S; Tate FN; Simpkin R (2008) Intelligent speed adaptation: Final report, .
  • Conner MT; Lai FCH (2005) Evaluation of the effectiveness of the National Driver Improvement Scheme, .

Conference Papers

Conference Presentations

  • Jamson SL; Lai FCH (2011) Are novelty effects of road safety treatments observable in simulator experiments?, the 90th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board .
  • Lai FCH; Carsten OMJ (2011) Intelligent Speed Adaptation - The Next Generation of Traffic Management Tools., the Third International Conference on Transportation Engineering . doi: 10.1061/41184(419)143
  • Lai FCH; Carsten OMJ (2011) Futuristic traffic management, the 39th European Transport Conference .
  • Carsten O; Lai F; Barnard Y (2010) Semi-automated driving: How does the supported task affect driver response?, IFAC Proceedings Volumes (IFAC-PapersOnline) 11, .
  • Lai FCH (2009) Education in lieu of enforcement: how does it work?, the 22nd International Co-operation on Theories and Concepts in Traffic Safety annual conference .
  • Lai FCH; Carsten OMJ (2008) I want to go faster, so get out of my way - an analysis of overriding of the ISA system, the 7th European Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems .
  • Carsten OMJ; Jamson SL; Chorlton K; Lai FCH (2007) Did we need a long-term study of driving with Intelligent Speed Adaptation or would the earlier short-term studies have been sufficient?, Behavioural Research in Road Safety, Seventeenth Seminar .
  • Lai FCH; Carsten OMJ (2003) Safety implications of driver dual-task performance, 10th International Conference on Vision in Vehicles, Granada, Spain .
  • Carsten OMJ; Tate F; Lai FCH (2002) The effect of new technologies on speed distributions., Behavioural Research in Road Safety: Twelfth Seminar. .

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