UTA researchers win three federal transportation grants

December 08, 2016

The University of Texas at Arlington has won three national U.S. Department of Transportation grants that could be worth about $12 million in funding to UTA during the next five years and speaks to the University's growing expertise across several academic and research disciplines that intersect the nation's current and future transportation infrastructure.

Researchers in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) and the Department of Civil Engineering are the principal investigators or co-principal investigators on the grants.

UTA vied in a national competition for $300 million in DOT funding allocated to 32 University Transportation Centers across the country. UTA was one of only a few universities to land three projects.

"The announcement of these awards signals a transformational achievement by CAPPA, by civil engineering, and by UTA as we focus on enabling the sustainable megacity that the Dallas/Fort Worth region will become in the next decade," said President Vistasp Karbhari. "It ensures that our talented faculty, researchers and students will be at the very center of progress and advancement, and will contribute significantly to quality of life in the years to come for North Texas and for the country." The first grant will establish the Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars (C-TEDD) in North Texas, one of the 32 UTCs. The award will fund the center and transportation research, teaching and outreach on transportation-related projects and issues for the North Texas region and beyond.

The C-TEDD grant is expected to total up to $7.7 million over a five year period. UTA's share in the first year is $1.4 million. Other partners in this Tier 1 University Transportation Center consortium with UTA are California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of South Florida.

C-TEDD plans to assist transportation leaders and elected officials in making wiser, more informed choices about transportation through the information and data it provides. It will focus on preserving the existing transportation system, while aligning transportation decision-making and funding sources and mechanisms to achieve efficiency, equity and upward social mobility.

C-TEDD proposes multidisciplinary research in five broad areas:

Shima Hamidi, assistant professor of planning in CAPPA and principal investigator on the C-TEDD grant, said, "The center brings together nearly 50 top faculty in associated fields to collaboratively produce research that will address our transportation system needs in the smartest, most efficient and most equitable way possible," Hamidi said. "We want to improve the tools and technologies available for state and local governments so they can address infrastructure concerns efficiently." UTA also won U.S. DOT funding of another UTC as part of a Louisiana State University-led Transportation Consortium of South-Central States in the amount of a planned $12.5 million over five years. UTA Civil Engineering professors Stefan Romanoschi and Anand Puppala are UTA's representatives in that group. Romanoschi and Puppala could access up to $2.5 million in the first year of funding.

This consortium aims to support all phases of research, technology transfer, workforce development and outreach activities of emerging technologies that can solve transportation challenges in the region. Its focus is on improving transportation infrastructure through research into innovative materials and new technology.

Romanoschi is an expert in pavement engineering, pavement materials, pavement design and construction, pavement testing and management. Puppala's proficiency is in soil research, ground modification, using recycled waste materials, sustainability in geotechnical engineering, pavement geotechnics and site characterization.

In addition, UTA's Stephen Mattingly, associate professor of civil engineering, is part of another similarly funded consortium led by Portland State University. Mattingly will draw upon a total award of $15.6 million that PSU will administer. His first-year funding is $310,000. His projects include developing institutional infrastructure, evaluating transit connections for opportunities and developing a non-motorized data archive and tools.

Mattingly's expertise is in decision and risk analysis, transportation and public health, transportation planning, intelligent transportation systems, traffic engineering, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian behavior and safety, and transportation safety.

The three awards speaks to all four key themes of the University's Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact, building sustainable urban communities, advancing health and the human condition, addressing the global environmental impact and utilizing data-driven discovery.

In 2013, there were 45.3 million people living in poverty in the nation, an increase of more than 14 million since 2000. The number of people falling into this category who are over 65 will almost double in 30 years. Hamidi said UTA researchers look forward to collaborating with partner institutions to solve major transportation planning issues facing the nation.

"The health and well-being of the DFW region, and others into the future, depends largely on its transportation networks and opportunities," said CAPPA Dean and co-Principal Investigator on the C-TEDD grant Nan Ellin. "As the U.S. DOT defines it, transportation includes all forms of mobility including walking and biking, so this Center and the work of the others will aim to render this entire mobility network more complete and efficient in order to enhance public health, environmental sustainability and access to upward mobility."
About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 "highest research activity" institution of about 55,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times' 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit http://www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at http://www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php. For more on the Strategic Plan, see Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.

University of Texas at Arlington

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