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UCF Engineering Professor Receives National Safety Council’s Highest Award

By: Kimberly Lewis | October 11, 2021
Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Ph.D., left, is honored at the National Safety Council's 2021 World Congress and Expo in Orlando.

University of Central Florida’s Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Ph.D., today received the National Safety Council’s highest honor to individuals: the 2021 Distinguished Service to Safety Award.

Only seven individuals from industry and academia received the 2021 top honor from NSC, considered the nation’s leading nonprofit safety advocacy organization. The award recognizes individuals’ outstanding contributions to the field of safety.

Abdel-Aty is a Trustee Chair, Pegasus Professor and chair of the UCF Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering.

He is widely known for his transportation safety research to make roads safer. His expertise focuses on traffic safety, big data and data analytics, intelligent transportation systems, simulation, and connected/automated vehicles. His pioneering research has transformed road safety research and practice from a reactive approach to proactive real-time implementation and has advanced traffic safety practices around the world.

He was the first to study various aspects of road safety, including real-time safety analytics, pro-active safety management, transportation safety planning, and the safety of toll roads and plazas, and provide guidance for safety improvements. In addition, he accomplished extensive work in real-time crash risk visualization using integrated tools for traffic safety evaluation and management, winning several awards for this work.

In 2019, Abdel-Aty’s team project won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Solving for Safety Visualization Challenge against more than 50 teams including industry giants Ford Motor Company and Uber. UCF’s entry “Real-Time Crash Visualization Tools for Traffic Safety Management” uses big data to predict – and hopefully prevent – traffic accidents.

In 2020, Abdel-Aty was the nation’s only recipient of the highest honor from the U.S. Transportation Research Board, the Roy W. Crum award.

Today’s awards ceremony kicked off the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo in Orlando, the largest annual gathering of safety and health professionals worldwide.

Candidates were nominated by the general public and NSC members, and reviewed by NSC Division Committees.

“At NSC, our mission is to eliminate preventable injury and death, but we can’t achieve this alone. That’s why the annual Distinguished Service to Safety Award means so much,” said Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO. “Whether pioneering safety research or advancing best practices in the workplace, each honoree has helped make our local, national and international communities safer.”

The first Distinguished Service to Safety Award was presented in 1942 to recognize individuals and companies who significantly supported U.S. workers during World War II by reducing occupational injuries.

For more information about the Distinguished Service to Safety Award, as well as other NSC awards, visit