Earlier this year, the US Department of Transportation announced its newest selections for funding under its University Transportation Centers Program, which began in 1987 to advance “the state-of-the-art in transportation research and technology” and help boost the ranks of transportation professionals.
CEE Professors have ties to three of those, with Lee Han and Kevin Heaslip serving on the UT-based Center for Freight Transportation for Efficient and Resilient Supply Chain, Chris Cherry working with the University of New Mexico-based Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, and Heaslip also serving on the University Transportation Center for Regional and Rural Connected Communities being led by North Carolina A&T State University.
“I am delighted that our researchers were instrumental in the award of three new University Transportation Centers,” said Heaslip, who is also director of UT’s Center for Transportation Research and Future Mobility Initiative. “Our engagement puts our program in the country’s upper echelon of transportation research. The current momentum in our programs will lead to additional growth in the future as we continue to build research capacity and amplify the impact of our research outcomes.”
The UT-based one is being led by led by soon-to-be ISE department head Mingzhou Jin. It will be housed in UT’s Center for Transportation Research and will address the challenges in freight transportation system design, planning, operations and innovations in national and global supply chains through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer activities.
It was funded at $2 million per year for five years and includes partnerships with Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois Chicago, Oregon State University, North Carolina A&T State University, and California State University at Long Beach.
Cherry will help the University of New Mexico and other collaborators tackle the issue of bike safety, the number of fatalities related to cycling, and issues such as the ability to safely ride a bike and socioeconomic factors.
In addition to UT, that consortium also includes San Diego State University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. That work was also funded at $2 million a year for five years.
The North Carolina A&T State University project was funded at $3 million per year for five years, with members combining for an additional $15 million over that span for a total of $30 million in funding. It also includes Clemson University, Florida Atlantic University, the University of Alabama, the University of Georgia, and the University of Kentucky.
Its goal is to gain a better understanding of the problems that rural communities have in gaining accessibility to the same options as those in urban areas, and implementing changes in underserved communities to improve mobility.