AASHTO Journal, 27 September 2013
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) announced Thursday more $63 million in grants to 33 University Transportation Centers for the advancement of research and education programs aimed at tackling the biggest transportation challenges facing the nation.
UTCs around the country conduct research to “promote the safe, efficient and environmentally sound movement of goods and people,” according to USDOT. The UTC program was authorized in the current surface transportation bill, MAP-21, and provides more than $72 million in both fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for up to 35 of the UTC grants.
For this round of UTC grants, RITA received 142 applications. Of the 33 grants disbursed, five $2.8 million grants went to national UTCs that deal with national transportation issues parallel to USDOT’s strategic goals); eight $2.59 million grants went to regional UTCs that focus on more localized needs; and twenty $1.4 million grants went to additional UTCs.
“University transportation centers are key to helping us address today’s transportation needs, from environmental sustainability to safety,” said USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “The participating universities are a critical part of our national transportation strategy and to developing a professional workforce with the expertise and knowledge to tackle the challenges of the future.”
The grant recipients will research a wide variety of transportation issues, RITA said, including improving health and safety for transportation system users, reducing carbon emissions and other environmental impacts associated with transportation, and examining how “increasingly autonomous vehicles affect driver behavior, safety and performance.”