Collaborating with American Indians to Re-Interpret and Strategize About Transportation Safety

Principal Investigator(s):

Kathryn Quick, Associate Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


Project summary:

The rate of death and significant injury from motor vehicle crashes is much higher for American Indians than for any other ethnic or racial group in the United States. Existing explanations of this unfortunate phenomenon are primarily epidemiological, pointing to elevated risks associated with higher rates of driving while impaired, lower seat belt use, differences in safety laws on tribal and adjacent lands, and the relatively more limited traffic safety enforcement resources of tribal governments. The aim of this research project is to enhance interpretation and strategizing about these issues by adding new voices, disciplinary perspectives, and intervention tools.

The research team has been invited to collaborate with members of the Advocacy Council on Tribal Transportation to gather additional perspectives from tribal governments and people in Minnesota about the nature of the problem, its sources, and potential solutions. The teams has already unearthed several previously undocumented explanations that merit closer study, both to better understand what is going on and to support effective responses. The team will also hire a graduate research assistant with cultural competence conducting qualitative policy research with American Indian communities, complementing the expertise of other team members in public management, transportation policy, socio-cultural anthropology, and engaged scholarship.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2015006
  • Start date: 06/2014
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow