Peter Savolainen

Peter  Savolainen
  • MSU Foundation Professor
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Peter Savolainen, MSU Foundation Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is a transportation engineer who examines road user behavior. His research examines the fundamental nature of road user behavior, particularly how traffic safety and operations are influenced by driver behavior in consideration of roadway and traffic characteristics.

Savolainen received a BS in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University, and MS and PhD degrees in civil engineering from Purdue University. Before joining MSU, he was a member of the civil and environmental engineering faculty at Wayne State University from 2006 to 2014. He served as an associate professor and safety engineer at Iowa State University from 2014 to 2018, where his transportation engineering research focused on econometrics—applying statistical methods to economic data.

Savolainen’s work has provided important information regarding road user behavior changes in response to such roadway features as maximum speed limits, centerline and shoulder rumble strips, and red-light-running cameras at signalized intersections. His research has also advanced fundamental knowledge as to how roadway design, environmental factors, and in-vehicle distractions affect the risk of traffic crashes.  

He has served as PI or co-PI on more than $14 million of externally-funded research through competitive grant awards from agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and various state departments of transportation.