Center for Safety Management Systems
Dr. Stephen M. Popkin, Director
Center for Safety Management Systems (RVT-30)
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, RITA/USDOT
617/494-3532 | email@example.com
Dr. Stephen Popkin, Director of the Center for Safety Management Systems at the Volpe Center, has been serving and leading the transportation human factors profession for 20 years. While earning his doctorate in Industrial and Organizational psychology from the University of Connecticut, he worked on projects for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the U.S. Submarine Force based in Groton, and for Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, under a Ministry of Education grant, in Vantaa, Finland. During this period, his work involved understanding the performance and health issues related to irregular and unpredictable work schedules, recovery from night work, and exploring theoretical concepts for developing next generation submarine sonar systems. Also during this period he implemented the first U.S. Navy submarine watchkeeping fatigue management program, which still exists at the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory, and was involved in the initial implementation of Human Systems Integration (HSI) principles under the Navy's DD(X) program.
Dr. Popkin leveraged this background when he went to work for the technology innovation consulting firm Foster-Miller, and then for the Department of Transportation. He continued his work in human fatigue, for the FRA, FRA, and NASA, and upon coming to the Volpe Center, established its Fatigue Monitoring and Countermeasures Research Team. This team performs work for all operating administrations under DOT and is comprised of talent across the Center as well as academe. Dr. Popkin is also the Co-Chair of the Operator Fatigue Management program for DOT while concurrently serving at the Executive Agent for the Human Factors Coordinating Committee (http://hfcc.dot.gov/). This Committee is a cross-modal Community of Interest that includes human factors program managers from the DOT modal administrations as well as from other U.S. government agencies, such as NTSB, DHS (TSA and Coast Guard), CDC, and NRC. As a recognized authority in transportation fatigue and human factors, Dr. Popkin has been asked to serve on the National Occupational Research Agenda that is being assembled by National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health, was elected to the International Commission on Occupational Health's Working Time Society (Scientific Committee on Shiftwork and Working Time), was appointed both Vice-Chair to the Transportation Research Board's Committee on Railroad Operational Safety and Chair to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Membership Committee. He has been invited to speak in front of the Swedish Road Traffic Inspectorate at the Nobel Forum and recently partnered with the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in a thought leadership activity along with 25 other international authorities in fatigue management.
Actively engaged in the human factors profession, Dr. Popkin works at capacity building, initially by restarting the local Human Factors chapter, and later by working with the HFCC and HR to promote human factors events and outreach to universities whose human factors graduates may be well suited to a career in transportation. Going back to his initial work experience, he is working with several organizations within and outside of DOT, along with the HFES to develop a strategy for introducing a sustainable approach to human systems integration within the Department. Ensuring that the human—whether it is the operator, maintainer, manager, regulator, or user—is considered in the Departments R&D plans and acquisitions is a top priority as the greatest challenge to transportation human factors is designing and implementing technology and procedures for humans.