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The media inquiries that Old Dominion University psychologist Bryan Porter receives these days may be from the other side of the country, or the other side of the world, but they usually are about one topic: red-light running.

He is an expert on the psychological underpinnings of various dangerous and bad driving habits. But in recent years it has been his red-light running research and his appeals for automatic camera enforcement at dangerous intersections that have made him a go-to source for reporters.

Earlier this summer, the caller was from The Age in Melbourne, one of Australia's largest newspapers. Porter's comments were featured in a July 1 story in the newspaper that noted his accomplishments as an ODU researcher and described him as "an international expert on red-light running psychology."

"The article in Australia was interesting and certainly put ODU in a good light," said Porter. "It's been gratifying to my students and me to be recognized for our research on red-light running behavior and interventions to reduce it. This is one significant public health and safety problem caused by risk-taking behavior that we can help change."

Porter's research shows how prevalent and dangerous red-light running is, and how effective photo-enforcement can be. But he has met legislative resistance to the photo practice, at least nominally because of privacy issues. The Virginia General Assembly pulled the plug on a pilot photo-enforcement project 18 months ago, but it cleared the way this year for more cameras at dangerous intersections. Porter has testified before governmental bodies on several occasions in support of photo-enforcement.

Articles about Porter's work have appeared throughout the United States and he was featured on an NBC News program. "We have been fortunate to work with journalists across the country and world who have been affected by red-light running in their communities," he said. "These journalists have learned of our work and have given us a platform to highlight our work at ODU, and to educate the public about red-light running."

Next summer, Porter will be conference chair of the 4th International Conference on Traffic & Transport Psychology in Washington, D.C. "This is a great opportunity for me to convene the leading traffic psychology researchers from around the globe to participate in ICTTP," he said. He will edit the handbook of leading papers presented at the conference.

This article was posted on: July 24, 2007

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