Laura Fraade-Blanar

Photo of Laura Fraade-Blanar
Associate Policy Researcher
Santa Monica 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


Laura Fraade-Blanar’s work sits at the intersection of health, technology, and transportation. She focuses on safety and risk, applying her background in public health and injury epidemiology to questions around measuring the safety of emerging and traditional transportation modes. Around traditional transit, she has explored older driver safety, notably in relation health services-based measures of cognition and Alzheimer’s disease. Around emerging transit, as a postdoctoral fellow at RAND, she worked with colleagues to generate a framework for measuring automated vehicle safety, assessing conventional methods and metrics and creating new ones where needed. Fraade-Blanar also worked on a perspective piece considering automated vehicle safety policy and contributed to the Road to Zero report.

Fraade-Blanar holds a PhD from the University of Washington, School of Public Health, with a focus on Evaluation Sciences and Occupational 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 a Master of Health Science in International Health and a Bachelor of Arts 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
  • Autonomous Vehicles and Federal Safety Standards
  • Alzheimer's Disease and Driving Safety Among Older Drivers

Selected Publications

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

Blanar L, Sears JM, Chan KC, Thompson HJ, Crane PK, Ebel BE. , "Older adult occupational injury risk in association with job demands and health state," Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(2), 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


  • 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