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UTC Vision, Mission, and Goals


To be internationally recognized centers of excellence, fully integrated within institutions of higher learning, that serve as a vital source of leaders who are prepared to meet the Nation’s need for safe, efficient, and environmentally sound movement of people and goods.


To advance U.S. technology and expertise in the many disciplines comprising transportation through the mechanisms of education, research, and technology transfer at university-based centers of excellence.


  1. Education: a multidisciplinary program of course work and experiential learning that reinforces the transportation theme of the Center.
  2. Human Resources: an increased number of students, faculty, and staff who are attracted to and substantively involved in the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs of the Center.
  3. Diversity: students, faculty, and staff who reflect the growing diversity of the U.S. workforce and are substantively involved in the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs of the Center.
  4. Research Selection: an objective process for selecting and reviewing research that balances multiple objectives of the program.
  5. Research Performance: an ongoing program of basic and applied research, the products of which are judged by peers or other experts in the field to advance the body of knowledge in transportation.
  6. Technology Transfer: availability of research results to potential users in a form that can be directly implemented, utilized, or otherwise applied.


The outcomes desired from DOT’s investment in the UTC Program are:

  • research that supports the national strategy for surface transportation research;
  • an increased number of Americans who are prepared to design, deploy, and operate the complex transportation systems that will enhance America’s economic competitiveness in the 21st century; and
  • the transfer of technologies into practice that provides solutions to national transportation challenges.


Each UTC is required to develop a strategic plan at the beginning of the grant period, typically spanning 4 to 6 years. The strategic plan outlines the vision, theme, and activities that the UTC will undertake along with an estimated budget. It is the means by which a Center conveys the essence of what it seeks to accomplish with the funds made available under its grant.


Each university is required to implement a three-part program consisting of research, education, and technology transfer with the same performance indicators for all universities. Each UTC reports annually on its performance using the performance indicators described in Appendix 1.


The UTC Program is funded from two provisions in SAFETEA-LU: Title V and Title III. Fifty-two universities are authorized through Title V and eight from Title III. Due to statutory budget adjustments, the actual awards are below the authorized levels for Title V Centers for the duration of SAFETEA-LU (table 1). Funding for Title III Centers was minimally reduced in FY 2006; actual funding amounts in FY 2007 and 2008 are as authorized (table 2).