Located within the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida, the Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation (I-MAP) was formed earlier in 2009 to support a substantial increase in driving-related research which expanded beyond projects in older driver safety. Research on (older) driver safety was previously supported by the National Older Driver Research & Training Center (NODRTC) at the University of Florida. Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, is the director of I-MAP, the umbrella under which all research related to driver safety, and mobility, are being conducted.
The goal of I-MAP is to conduct driver safety research related to all age groups, study the use of alternative transportation options such as use of buses and personal mobility such as getting around at home. Within I-MAP researchers will execute these activities as a means to preserve, promote and improve independent, safe and appropriate mobility for individuals and within populations.
Currently, researchers at I-MAP are engaged in projects related to the driving issues of people with Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury/post traumatic stress disorder/depression, seizure disorders such as epilepsy, and patients who are taking diffeent medications. We have also studied personality as a predictor (e.g. extroverts, vs. introverts) of driving performance.
Researchers at I-MAP are interested in cross-disciplinary collaboration and affiliation with investigators at the University of Florida and beyond its campus borders. In addition to collaborations in the United States, I-MAP has formed partnerships with researchers in Canada, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Australia, Israel, and South Africa; and its national and international expansion is expected to grow.
By funding projects essential to its mission, by tapping into the multi-disciplinary research pool at UF and beyond, by offering pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, and by using I-MAP’s existing infrastructure, support and resources we will establish I-MAP as a University of Florida center of excellence for research in mobility and transportation through the lifespan.