John Pollard is a senior member of the Surface Transportation Human Factors Division at the Volpe Center, having worked there since 1971. He retired from full-time employment in 2016, but continues working part-time on an “as needed” basis -- primarily on experimental hardware issues.
Energy-conservation studies, auto-industry economics, and marketing issues for electric vehicles occupied John Pollard’s first decade at Volpe. In the 1980’s he investigated regulatory-burden issues for the EPA and rear-end-collision-warning systems, sudden acceleration and driver behavior for NHTSA. Following the grounding of the Exxon Valdez, he moved into shipboard fatigue studies, and from there to locomotive-crew- fatigue work. More recently his work for the FRA has branched into studies of ride quality in high-speed ground vehicles, cab vibration and back pain, alertness-monitoring devices, locomotive simulators, new technology for train horns and issues related to emergency egress from passenger rail cars. In the course of these projects he has personally designed and constructed much of the experimental apparatus. He has conducted hundreds of field interviews with operating personnel in various transportation industries and logged thousands of miles riding locomotives and merchant ships. His recent work for NHTSA has covered technology assessment of alcohol-impairment detectors, technical and human-factors issues related to emergency egress from motorcoaches, requirements for alerting sounds for electric and hybrid vehicles to warn pedestrians, and driver-error issues related to keyless ignition and electronic gear selectors.