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Conferences Put the Spotlight on University Transportation Centers

Conferences Put the Spotlight on University Transportation Centers

A University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program innovation instituted in recent years is the sponsorship of an annual conference to bring together the UTC community, USDOT and other government agencies, industry, and state and local governments to discuss a particular technology or transportation issue. The purpose of these Spotlight Conferences is to allow university researchers to learn the breadth of university work in a particular area and, more importantly, inform USDOT of the innovations that are being realized. In 2006, the first Spotlight Conference focused on "Radio Frequency Identification Technologies in Transportation." In 2007, the topic was "Freight Transportation: Congestion and System Performance."

This year (October 27-28, 2008) the Spotlight focus will be on the "Impact of Changing Demographics on the Transportation System." This topic encompasses a variety of demographic changes that are likely to affect the U.S. transportation system over the coming decades, including aging issues, changes in ethnicity, shifts in the rural/urban/suburban/exurban population balance and the effect on mobility and transportation safety, and workforce issues associated with changing demographics. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) will be used to organize and host the meeting, as it has for the past several years.

As with all the Spotlight Conferences, this event will encourage interaction and synergies among universities, government, private interests, and TRB committees; identify key knowledge gaps; develop a research agenda; inform transportation policy; and identify promising initiatives for university research.

As is customary following its conferences, TRB will write, develop, and publish a final report of results from the event. The publication will be a TRB "E-Circular," which will be distributed throughout government, academic, and private sector transportation communities in both hard copy and in a web-based format. It will also be indexed through TRB's Transportation Research Information Service, which is available to the global transportation community. The report will focus on demographic research activities being conducted by the UTCs, as well as how that research supports USDOT initiatives and enhances the movement of people. Specifically, the report will serve as an information base of USDOT-supported universities conducting demographic-related research, development, and technology for use by USDOT and other U.S. government agencies, the academic community, and private sector.

More information on the UTC Spotlight Conferences may be found at: