Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) today awarded over $2 million in grants to four University Transportation Centers (UTC) located throughout the United States to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing our nation. UTCs conduct research that directly support USDOT priorities and are a critical part of our national transportation strategy.
"Education and research are the cornerstones of a 21st century transportation system," said RITA Administrator Peter H. Appel. "It is absolutely crucial that we continue to make investments that provide a solid foundation for innovation and expertise in transportation."
Based at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, the University Transportation Center for Alabama was awarded $650,000 to support research in a variety of transportation challenges ranging from traffic congestion to driver distraction.
The Transportation Research Center, University of Nevada, Las Vegas will use a $457,000 grant to conduct basic and applied research in various transportation related areas including, developing mathematical and software based decision making tools for transportation planning and policy analysis.
The University of Rhode Island Transportation Center (URITC) will receive $463,400 to support its research program which targets basic, advanced and applied projects. To maximize the impact of this funding, the URITC will also create partnerships with organizations that share a transportation sector interest.
Based at Northwestern University, the Center for the Commercialization of Innovative Transportation Technology will use a $463,400 grant to fund "innovation gap" research projects that push existing research outcomes closer to the point of adoption and implementation by transportation practitioners.
UTCs maintain vital partnerships with regional, state and local transportation and transit agencies, to help find solutions to challenges impacting their communities. UTC projects are peer-reviewed and the results of their work are shared with the transportation community to encourage greater progress through collaboration.
RITA provides $86 million annual funding to 125 colleges and universities conducting transportation research, and providing the training needed to manage today's modern transportation infrastructure through the UTC Program. Last year, UTC colleges and universities graduated over 1,100 students, conducted 300 research projects, and trained 32,000 practicing transportation professionals. More information about the UTC Program can be found at www.rita.dot.gov.