USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Site Notification

Site Notification

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

User and Machine: Secrets to a Harmonious Marriage

Donald L. Fisher, PhD

Principal Technical Advisor, Engineering Research Psychologist, Volpe, U.S. DOT
Professor and Former Head, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Automation in the field of transportation is everywhere. Have we as humans become an afterthought? We order service on our smartphones (paratransit and Uber), we maneuver around in increasingly automated vehicles, we ride in driverless transport (airport shuttles), and we will increasingly find ourselves sharing our highways and byways with drones and other unmanned craft.

However, like all good marriages, the parties must listen to one another, must be transparent about their desires, and must learn from their mistakes.

What do the lessons of a good marriage between two people bring to our understanding of how best to marry user and machine?

Donald Fisher, PhD, explored these questions in Volpe's thought leadership series Reimagining Transportation.

About the Speaker

Donald L. Fisher.Dr. Donald Fisher joined the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall of 1982. He became the head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in 2009 and served in that capacity until August of 2015.

Over the past two years, he has served as a faculty fellow at Volpe and was recently appointed as a principal technical advisor in the Surface Transportation Human Factors Division.

Dr. Fisher is the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on over $31 million in research funding including grants from the federal, state, and regional governments; private and public foundations; and private industry.

He is editor of the recently published Handbook of Driving Simulation for Engineering, Medicine, and Psychology and has over 300 scientific publications.

Read more about Donald Fisher.

News and Video

Read the news story and view the video from the event.