Research partnership will focus on safety, infrastructure and economic competitiveness
Transportation infrastructure concerns rank as one of the top issues in Georgia and the Southeast. The designation of the Georgia Institute of Technology as the lead for one of 10 national Tier One University Transportation Centers (UTC) by the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) represents a positive step toward developing solutions to transportation challenges facing the state and region.
Funded by a $3.5 million federal grant and an additional $3.5 million in matching funds from various state transportation departments, the Woodruff Foundation and others for the first two years, the UTC will bring together a consortium of universities in Georgia, Florida and Alabama including the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia Southern University, Southern Polytechnic State University, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Florida International University and University of Central Florida. Known as the National Center for Transportation System Productivity and Management, the Georgia Tech UTC will focus on transportation issues of importance to the nation, state and metropolitan areas.
In a related program, Georgia Tech has also been named as a collaborator in the US DOT’s Regional UTC led by the University of Florida. The University of Florida and Georgia Tech will be joined by Auburn University, Florida International University, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Mississippi State University to form a regional consortium that will focus on transportation issues impacting the Southeast. Georgia DOT will also provide some matching funds for this effort.
“Georgia Tech is uniquely qualified to lead the University Transportation Center. It is home to one of the largest and most accomplished transportation and logistics research programs in the U.S. and is responsible for many of the strategic improvements that have been made to Georgia’s infrastructure,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “I applaud the efforts of all of those who were involved in this important project.”
According to Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, the UTC designation provides national recognition of Georgia Tech’s capabilities and expertise in contributing to transportation solutions for the nation, state and metropolitan area.
“We are pleased to take a leading role in working with our industry, government and university partners to devise solutions for our state and regional transportation challenges,” he said. “I want to thank the US Department of Transportation, Governor Deal, Georgia Department of Transportation, Woodruff Foundation and the Georgia congressional delegation for their support of this important work.”
Funding from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation supported the initial proposal led by a team from Georgia Tech including Michael Meyer, director of the Georgia Transportation Institute and Civil Engineering professor; Catherine Ross, director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development; and Ken Stewart, senior advisor for industry. An advisory board including industry, government and university representatives from throughout Georgia, Florida and Alabama also provided direction for the grant submission and will continue to provide advice and counsel to the UTC.
Additional funding for the UTC will come from the Georgia DOT, the Woodruff Foundation and university partners. Future support will come through government, private and corporate resources.
The purpose of the UTC is to advance U.S. technology and expertise in the many disciplines comprising transportation through research, education and technology transfer as well as provide a critical transportation knowledge base outside the US DOT and address vital workforce needs for the next generation of transportation leaders.