The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) today announced that the University of South Florida will receive a $7.5 million grant to establish a national university transportation center (UTC) aimed at advancing research and education programs that address the nation’s critical transportation challenges. The USDOT selected USF from more than 50 applicants nationwide for the highly competitive award.
Focused on traffic congestion relief, the USF program will be known as the National Institute for Congestion Reduction (NICR). It will be established within the USF College of Engineering’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR).
“As a Preeminent research university located in the heart of the metropolitan Tampa Bay area, the University of South Florida has always been focused on the unique issues and challenges facing modern American cities,” said USF President Judy Genshaft. “This designation is an affirmation of our leadership in this kind of meaningful applied research and, along with our partners, will allow us to make an even bigger impact.”
USF’s partners include the University of California Berkeley, Texas A&M University and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.
“These investments in transportation research will help address our country’s congestion and durability challenges,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The USDOT invests in the future of transportation through the UTC Program, which awards and administers grants to consortia of colleges and universities across the United States. The FAST Act authorized more than $300 million in spending from fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for the maintenance of existing and establishment of new initiatives in research, education and workforce development, and the facilitation of technology transfer. USF will be home to the USDOT’s only national center focused on congestion relief.
“FDOT is pleased to continue to work with USF along with all other Florida universities, aiming to improve safety, reduce congestion and expand the use of technology and partnerships. We hope that the impacts of these coordinated activities will be felt by the transportation industry, agencies and practitioners long after the lifecycle of this grant is completed,” said Florida Secretary of Transportation Kevin J. Thibault.
USF’s program seeks to emerge as a national leader in providing multimodal congestion reduction strategies through real-world deployments that leverage advances in technology, big data science and innovative transportation options.
USF College of Engineering Dean Robert Bishop says this serves as another example of how USF research has a major societal impact.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Florida Department of Transportation and other transportation agency and industry partners. I am particularly pleased that the new UTC includes faculty from across the College of Engineering and also from other disciplines including business, public health and urban planning,” Bishop said.
The USDOT’s full announcement is available here.