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Boris Claros holding his award

For the second year in a row, civil and environmental engineering graduate student Boris Claros won the Intelligent Transportation Systems student essay competition. Photo provided

For the second consecutive year, MU civil and environmental engineering graduate student Boris Claros came out on top in the 2014 Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) student essay competition. His paper was highlighted at the National Rural ITS Conference, held in Missouri in September as an official winner of the Student Essay Competition. He received a $900 prize for his work.

Claros’ paper examined distracted driver behavior, specifically the behavior of drivers using cell phones, using data gathered by the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) located at the University of Iowa.

“I was looking at the deceleration rate at the onset of the yellow light — in the dilemma zone,” Claros said. “I looked at data collected on different people and their probability to stop.”

“I used data from three scenarios,” Claros said. “I looked at different locations, different devices and three condition variations.”

Claros concluded that most significant differences in response time were related to the age and gender of drivers. Men had lower probability to make the stop on time, and middle-aged and older drivers decelerated more slowly.

As a member of the transportation research group in civil and environmental engineering, Claros recently has concentrated on the effectiveness of alternative geometric designs for interchanges.

Claros has known since he was 18 that he wanted to do graduate work in the United States. He worked hard to make it happen and is pleased with his progress.

“I’ve evolved and adapted so much,” he said of the impact the work has had on him. “I have been involved in so many projects, and I’m really enjoying it. I would love to do a postdoc, but it’s hard for an international student.”

Claros is from Bolivia where, he said, public education is free, but like everywhere else, roads are not.

“Roads are like an asset. If they are depreciated, you need to invest in maintenance or you will have to rebuild, which is much more expensive,” he said.