Laura Fraade-Blanar

Photo of Laura Fraade-Blanar
Associate Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in health services: evaluation sciences and occupational health, University of Washington; M.P.H. in international health: health systems, Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in public health, Johns Hopkins University; Postdoctoral Fellow in aging, RAND Corportation

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Laura Fraade-Blanar is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her work sits at the intersection of health, technology, and transportation. She focuses on safety, applying her background in public health and injury epidemiology to questions around measuring risk and uncertainty. Around traditional transit, she has focused on older driver safety, notably in relation to driving choices, access issues and payment models, and cognition and Alzheimer’s disease. Around emerging transit, her work focuses on measuring risk and uncertainty of new transportation modes including automated vehicles and Mobility-on-Demand/Mobility-as-a-Service. Specifically, she worked with colleagues to generate a framework for measuring (RR-2662) and creating benchmarks for automated vehicle safety (RR-A569). Other projects involve providing methodological support around measuring abstract concepts in public health and beyond.

Fraade-Blanar holds a Ph.D. in evaluation sciences and occupational health from the University of Washington, School of Public Health. Prior to her doctoral work she was a research scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a consultant at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). She received an M.P.H. in international health and a B.A. in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

Previous Positions

Data Analyst, Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) Center at Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC), 2013-2016; Research Scientist, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 2007-2010; Contractor, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), 2007-2008

Recent Projects

  • Measuring Automated Vehicle Safety
  • The Road to Zero A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050
  • Rideshare and Non Emergency Medical Transportation
  • Autonomous Vehicles and Federal Safety Standards
  • Alzheimer's Disease and Driving Safety Among Older Drivers

Selected Publications

Blumenthal MS, Fraade-Blanar L, Best R, Irwin J L, Safe enough: approaches to assessing acceptable safety for automated vehicles, RAND (RR-A569), 2020

Fraade-Blanar L, Blumenthal M, Anderson, J, Kalra N. , Measuring Autonomous Vehicle Safety: Forging a Framework. , RAND Corporation (RR-2662), 2018

Fraade-Blanar L and Smith JP, "Cognitive change and driving behavior among older drivers," Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2018 (forthcoming)

Fraade-Blanar L, Ebel BE, Larson, EB, Sears JM, Thompson HJ, Chan KC, Crane PK. , "Cognitive decline and older driver crash risk," Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 66(6), 2018

Fraade-Blanar L, Hansen RN, Chan KC, Sears JM, Thompson HJ, Crane PK, Ebel, BE, "Diagnosed dementia and the risk of motor vehicle crash among older drivers," Accident Analysis and Prevention, 113, 2018

Ecola L, Popper SW, Silberglitt R, and Fraade-Blanar L, The Road to Zero A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050, (RR-2333), 2018

Fraade-Blanar L and Kalra N, Autonomous vehicles and federal safety standards: an exemption to the rule, (PE-258-RC), 2017

Nevin P, Blanar L, Maeser J, Kirk AP, Kaufman R, Cramer G, Freedheim A, Hitchcock L, Ebel BE. , "'I wasn't texting; I was just reading an email …': a qualitative study of distracted driving enforcement in Washington State," Injury Prevention, 23(3), 2017


  • Two men ride electric scooters on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., March 20, 2020, photo by Gripas Yuri/ABACA via Reuters

    Micromobility: How Will We Know When It's Working?

    Micromobility was positioned as a solution for every urban problem from traffic congestion to air pollution to transit deserts and inequality. Is there a way to know if micromobility can fulfill these ambitious goals?

    May 18, 2021 The RAND Blog

  • An autonomous shuttle in Las Vegas, photo by LPETTET/Getty Images

    If You Build Automated Vehicles, Will Older Adults Come?

    Whether older adults benefit from autonomous vehicles may hinge on taking explicit steps. Lessons can be learned from experiences with other technologies.

    Apr 28, 2021 Inside Sources

  • Toyota-backed self driving company begins to provide autonomous electric vehicles to deliver packages from local e-commerce platform Yamibuy during the outbreak of COVID-19 in Irvine, California, April 28, 2020, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    How State and Local Governments Might Consider Approaching Operational Design Domains for Automated Vehicles

    An operational design domain (ODD) is a description of the conditions in which an autonomous vehicle is designed to operate safely. No nationwide ODD policy exists, but because ODD is partly about the characteristics of a specific location, state and local policies could be useful.

    Aug 20, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • A rideshare driver wears gloves and a mask while driving following the outbreak of COVID-19, in New York City, March 15, 2020, photo by Jeenah Moon/Reuters

    Non-Emergency Medical Transportation in the Time of COVID-19

    More widespread availability of rideshare for non-emergency medical transport may save lives, reserve emergency resources for those who need them, and provide safe pathways to primary care for the chronically ill. It could also save livelihoods, providing employment in a time of economic hardship.

    May 5, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • The new i-Cristal electric autonomous shuttle is presented at the Lohr Group headquarters factory in Duppigheim near Strasbourg, France, September 10, 2018, photo by Vincent Kessler/Reuters

    AVs Could Improve Transportation Access in 'Transit Deserts'

    More large U.S. cities are seeing their outer reaches turn into transit deserts, where demand for transportation vastly exceeds supply. Connecting public transit systems with automated vehicles, whether in ride-sharing or shuttle services, could be a solution.

    May 31, 2019 Axios

  • A road work sign on California Highway 101 north warns, "be prepared to stop"

    How to Make Roads Safer for Autonomous Vehicles

    Roadways and vehicle design could be modified to better accommodate both human error and the shortcomings of autonomous vehicle systems.

    Feb 6, 2019 Axios

  • Senior couple in a car

    How AVs Could Provide Independence for Older Drivers

    Giving up driving has been linked to depression and isolation in older adults, as well as early entry into nursing home facilities. Autonomous vehicles could help improve the well-being of older adults by allowing them to maintain independence while still giving up their car keys.

    Sep 21, 2018 Axios