Robert C. Johns Research Partnership Award

The Robert C. Johns Research Partnership Award is presented annually to a team of individuals who have collaboratively drawn on their diverse expertise to achieve significant impacts on transportation.

The award is named in honor of former CTS director Robert Johns, who provided visionary leadership in recognizing that the most effective research to address today’s complex transportation challenges is often a result of interdisciplinary teamwork and partnerships. He demonstrated this by developing and leading several major CTS studies, including transportation and regional growth, transportation and community design, and access to destinations. He continued to champion interdisciplinary research as director of the USDOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.


This award recognizes research projects within the CTS program that have the following qualities:

  • Included an interdisciplinary research component led by University of Minnesota faculty or research staff
  • Involved University of Minnesota students
  • Produced significant findings that have influenced transportation practice and/or policy
  • Generated measured benefits as a result of the impacts of the research
  • Involved a team of individuals representing one or more sectors of society (i.e., public, academic, private, non-profit)

2024 Recipient

Strategies for Safer Streets: Insights from Two Pedestrian Safety Studies

Members of the RPA team with Robert Johns
Back row, from left: Robert Johns, Ethan Fawley, HunWen Westman, Mike Klobuchar, Jeremy Ellison, Brad Drahos. Front row, from left: Fay Simer, Nichole Morris, Curtis Craig, Melissa Barnes, Amber Dallman.

Pedestrian deaths are at a 30-year high nationally, and serious injuries result in financial losses for a lifetime. The impacts on families are immeasurable. 

In two major studies, U of M researchers worked with community, government, and law enforcement partners to explore solutions to stem these losses. Their work was honored with this year's ward.

Team Members

  • University of Minnesota: Nichole Morris, Curtis Craig, Brad Drahos
  • Western Michigan University: Ron Van Houten
  • St. Paul Police Department: Kat Brown, Jeremy Ellison
  • St. Paul Public Works: Mike Klobuchar
  • City of Minneapolis: Ethan Fawley
  • MnDOT: Amber Dallman, Melissa Barnes, Fay Simer (formerly of St. Paul Public Works)

Learn more about the research

Past Recipients

View a list of research projects that have previously received the Research Partnership Award.