STS Lab Logo 2   STS Lab Logo

Sustainable Transport Safety Research Laboratory (STS)

The STS Research Lab at UBC Okanagan works to solve issues that affect the sustainability of transportation systems worldwide. Through NSERC and Industry grants, a team of student researchers, interns, Masters and PhD students collaborate to work on a wide variety of issues.


Research Tools & Analytical Expertise

We have equipment that can:

  • Collect geo-referenced data (on and/or off road) indexed using GPS, time stamp, and video data loggers
  • Scan and digitize small and large format paper and electronic format data layers and mapping
  • Allow anyone anywhere in the world to log in securely and use our web based expert systems
  • Either individually or as part of a tele-video conference session, collaborate using SMART technology
  • Facilitate complete data and knowledge transfer for maximum effectiveness to geographic and demographic context.
  • Identify, create, extract, manipulate, vette, assemble and/or analyze multiple data platforms


We have industry leading software and expertise in:

  • Macro-simulation / transportation planning
    • Software: INRO Emme/4, PTV VISUM, TransCAD
  • Micro-simulation
    • Software: PTV VISSIM
  • Geographic Information Systems
    • Software: Open Layers, ESRI ArcGIS
  • Regression Modelling
    • Software: GLIM 4.0, R, GenStat, SPSS
  • Software Programming & Beta Testing
    • C++, Python
  • Public Consultation & Surveys
    • Social Marketing, UBC on-line surveys, SurveyMonkey, various social media
  • Data Analysis & Smoothing
    • Micro-processing, control and instrumentation, sensor calibration
    • Processing, smoothing for analysis
  • Clean Railway Propulsion Technology:
    • Matlab / Simulink based EZ-HELP simulation tool, trajectory planning, energy consumption calculator.
    • Detailed mathematical modelling and simulation of hydrogen fuel cell / battery technology.
    • Energy management/control systems, simulation of regenerative braking and battery state of charge for railway applications.
  • Sustainable Community Planning & Design
    • SMARTer Growth Neighborhood design manual
    • Social Cost Benefit Analyses
    • Business Plan Development
    • Land Use planning & design
    • Transportation Systems Engineering
    • Railways, Complete Streets, Pedestrian/Bicycle Networks



Major Research Focus Areas:

Road safety planning towards vision zero via sustainably safer roads & communities

The United Nations World Health Organization have declared road safety fatalities as the 8th worst epidemic facing the world today, with over 1.2 million killed/year and 5% of global GDP consumed in damages, health care, and lost productivity.  Whereas traditional reactive approaches to improve road safety have been in ‘reaction’ to known road safety black spots with reasonable effectiveness over the past 100 years, the continuing high severity and frequency of fatalities requires a more proactive approach to preclude traffic crashes from happening in the first place – this is road safety planning (RSP).  RSP seeks to assess and address plans and designs prior to construction, seeking ways to improve road safety in the planning process.  The UBCO STS research lab has developed various tools and techniques to assess the level of road safety on a micro-level (e.g. single intersection) or a macro-level (e.g. an entire neighborhood), that can lead to significant reductions in crashes and serious injuries.

Gateway Technology to Electrify NA Freight Rail and Re-invigorate regional passenger rail

Clean railway propulsion technology will improve the quality of life of Canadians in improved air quality and reduced noise and vibrations, specifically in areas where trains pass through inhabited areas. Our research has the potential of gateway technology to convert the entire North American locomotive fleet which will open new markets for Canadian fuel cell and battery manufacturers. This will increase employment and promote made-in-Canada fuel cell technology and H2 sectors, have a reduced negative impact on the environment, and promote a wider infrastructure of clean and sustainable transportation.  Dr Lovegrove`s team (UBCO STS) is the only team of researchers in Canada who are actively researching clean propulsion technologies for railway vehicles. The team`s efforts have been recognized by other research teams across the world, including the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, the Warwick University Manufacturing Research Group, and the UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Research Group who are all eager to learn from what would be this SRy/UBCO STS led research project, as a possible gateway technology to electrify the NA diesel-electric passenger and freight locomotive fleet. The UBCO STS team has been awarded through Dr Lovegrove a Clean Rail Grant by Transport Canada.


SMARTer Growth Neighborhood: Sustainable Community Health & Safety

Imagine a neighborhood where everybody knows your name (or at least recognizes your kids).  Where relaxing, restorative green space is less than a 1 minute stroll from your front door.  Walking to schools, shops, work, and recreational activities is faster than driving.  This is what many traditional communities have around the world.  Most communities in North America aspire to this, but have not achieved.  Our research is how to either retrofit existing, or plan new, communities that promote healthy, active living and safer, greener environments for business and residents and visitors to thrive in, at a desired and sustainable quality of life.  Our research has compiled the critical success factors into a ‘design manual’ for a SMARTer Growth Neighborhood that reduces crashes by over 60%, in a modular design that can be adapted into any local context.

The Interactive High-Level Safety Planning Model (IHSPM): Automated tool for practitioners

The IHSPM provides one of the key tools needed to support the transition to more proactive, sustainably safe and healthy built environments, and road safety planning.  It is under development in the UBC STS Research Lab at UBC's Okanagan campus in Kelowna.  Preliminary tools have already been developed and applied to the Greater Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna areas.  We welcome visitors and interested municipalities and collaborators who may wish to conduct a beta-test of our IHSPM software to benefit and transform their community.  It allows practitioners from all fields and all types of communities to develop and apply reliable empirical tools that evaluate existing communities and/or predict for planned communities ways to optimize on and off-road safety to save lives and money.  This includes quantifying the safety implications of land use patterns (eg SMARTer Growth (Fused Grid) neighborhoods), as well as active transport modes (eg walk, bike, bus, rail).  Papers and reports published as a result of our research to date are available via our web site:  Or reach me directly at, 250-807-8717 and I’ll send you a copy of our publications directly.


Planning & Design of Safer Bicycling Facilities using Human Factors Techniques: Instrumented Probe Bicycle (IPB)

We have developed a research intrument that will measure rider perception of safety and comfort, while simultaneously assessing their riding environment – forward, back, and to the side – such that we can geo-locate  position, velocity, acceleration in all three axes.  We have full video capability, as well as taking heart rate, persperation, cadence, power, and other readings.  At the moment, we are using the IPB to assess speed and distance of vehicle traffic passing our IPB riders as they wear differing safety vest designs.  In the past, we have also assessed rider perception of differing route designs.  In the future, we will be testing more in-depth on rider emotions and effort with regard to route slopes and surfaces with the BC Cycling Coalition.


Our Motivation

Who we are and why we exist

United Nations, and their subsidiary, the World Health Organization, have declared obesity and road safety as global epidemics that must be addressed if we are to sustain our quality of life. Road crashes are the leading cause of death in Canada for citizens aged 6 months to 40 years, with 95% of road collisions due to driver error.  Our sprawling North American community development patterns are a root cause.  The STS Research Lab mission is to research and develop practical tools for governments, businesses, and residents to allow for safer, healthier, and more active lifestyles in our existing and new communities.  Our facilities have been funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (, as well as research team member funding from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (, Transport Canada (Clean Energy,, and industry partners.



Several motivating factors ‘drive’ our research, including: 1) global climate change (How can we help reduce GHG emissions, and associated impacts – flooding, fires, storms?); 2) global economics (How can we help to retrofit aging infrastructure?); 3) global energy supplies (How can we help switch from dwindling, polluting, carbon-based to renewable sources?), 4) global health (How can we help reduce acute and chronic public health care costs due to obesity and road crashes?).  Reliable, practical empirical tools are needed so that plans and designs can be carefully assessed to maximize return on investments, minimize costly mistakes, and sustain a desire quality of life in community environments that are:

  • MORE walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented, green, healthy
  • LESS carbon-based, sprawling, unsafe, and auto-dependent.

Decision-makers need a sound business case, and reliable, science-based tools - where are they?


Principal Investigator

Dr Gord Lovegrove P.Eng., M.B.A., Ph.D., FITE

Associate Professor | Faculty of Applied Science | School of Engineering

Chair, Sustainable Development Committee, Cdn Society of Civil Engineering

Phone 250 807 8717 | Cell 250 808 9377 | Fax 250 807 9850 |


Team Photos

Fall 2016:

STSL Team 2017  

Missing from photo: John Rozema

Summer 2016:

Lab Group Summer 2016 



Missing from photo: Dr. Gord Lovegrove


Last reviewed shim2/23/2018 7:16:57 PM