The University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program is a critical part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (U.S. DOT) efforts to use cutting-edge technologies and innovations to find solutions to the transportation challenges of the 21st century.
The UTC Program was initiated in 1987 under the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, which authorized the establishment and operation of transportation centers in each of the 10 standard federal regions. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) reauthorized the UTCs for an additional six years and added four national centers and six University Research Institutes (URIs). The mission of the 14 UTCs was to advance U.S. expertise and technology transfer. The six URIs each had a specific transportation research and development mandate.
In 1998, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) reauthorized the UTC Program for an additional six years and increased the total number of Centers to 33. In addition to the 10 regional Centers, which were to be selected competitively, TEA-21 created 23 Centers at institutions named in the Act. TEA-21 established education as one of the primary objectives of a UTC and institutionalized the use of strategic planning in university grant management.
In 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) reauthorized the program, increasing the number of Centers to 60. In addition to the 10 regional Centers, which were competitively selected, 10 Tier-1-funded Centers were competitively selected. All of the UTCs except for the Title III Centers are required to have a one-for-one funding match. The current legislation does not require these centers to match their grant funding dollar for dollar.
The UTC Program is administered by U.S. DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).
The UTC Program ensures that internationally recognized centers of excellence, fully integrated within institutions of higher learning, will continue to serve as vital sources of transportation research, professionals, and leaders to meet the nation's need for safe, efficient, and environmentally sound movement of people and goods.
The UTC Program advances U.S. technology and expertise in transportation through education, research, and technology transfer at university-based centers of excellence.
Each UTC is expected to accomplish the following goals:
Each UTC program focuses its research on a specific transportation theme. Themes vary and run the spectrum of transportation applications. UTCs often collaborate with each other on areas of shared interest, cultivating a community of knowledge. Frequently, they engage in a peer-review process of their work and hold networking events to highlight program milestones and measure the progress of transportation research.
UTC research on cutting-edge innovations like Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration, durable pavement mixtures, and hydrogen fuel cells has contributed to advances in commercial applications through the facilitation of technology transfer to transportation stakeholders in government and industry.
Students participating in UTC research projects will offer a strong pool of continuing expertise in the transportation profession by working with faculty to advance their knowledge and experience. Maintaining a strong, diverse workforce of transportation professionals is vital for America to have a safe, resilient, and globally competitive transportation system.
All 60 of the UTC programs nationwide are funded through 2009. Of these,
20 were awarded grants in 2007 following a competitive selection process. The next program competition, subject to continued authorization of the UTC Program by act of Congress, is due to occur in 2010.
More information about the UTC Program, including past and current transportation research, can be found online on the USDOT's UTC Website at http://utc.dot.gov. The website includes:
More information can also be obtained by contacting the UTC Program Director, Curtis J. Tompkins at Curtis.Tompkins@dot.gov.
Other UTC program staff members include:
Amy Stearns, University Programs Specialist
Robin Kline, University Programs Specialist
Lydia Elena Mercado, University Programs Specialist
Denise Dunn, Program Coordinator
Judith Yahoodik, UTC Student of the Year and Strategic Planning Coordinator
As provided for in the 2005 SAFETEA-LU
$2 - $3.5 million per year
$1 - $2.25 million per year (competitively selected)
|I||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|II||City College of City University of New York|
|III||Pennsylvania State University|
|IV||University of Tennessee|
|VI||Texas A&M University|
|VII||University of Nebraska|
|VIII||North Dakota State University|
|IX||University of California, Berkeley|
|X||University of Washington|
Tier I UTCs
$1 million per year (competitively selected)
Tier II UTCs
$500,000 per year
Title III UTCs
Funding amounts vary