Institute to Lead New Center Dedicated to Transportation Emissions and Public Health
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) will lead or assist three new centers awarded up to $50 million as part of a competitive grant program established by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). A total of 32 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) were established with grant funding totaling over $300 million over the next five years to address “critical transportation challenges facing our nation.”
TTI was awarded lead status for one center and is a consortium member for two others in the UTC program. Since 1987, USDOT has awarded and administered grants to institutions of higher education to conduct research, education and technology transfer programs. The funding will include the UTC grants and state- and private-sector matches.
“I am delighted with TTI’s success in the 2016 UTC Grant Competition, which is the culmination of almost 30 years of experience in the UTC program,” says Senior Research Engineer Melissa Tooley, TTI’s director of external initiatives.
Over the next five years, the head of TTI’s Environment and Air Quality Division, Joe Zietsman, will lead the Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy and Health (CAR-TEEH). A total of four other universities are consortium members of the new center. They include the Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, The University of Texas at El Paso, and the University of California, Riverside. This one-of-a-kind center will perform cutting-edge research that brings together experts in the areas of transportation emissions and public health.
In the UTC research priority area of Promoting Safety, TTI is a consortium member of a National Tier center titled Safety Through Disruption: Goal Zero, which is led by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). San Diego State University is also a consortium member. TTI is also partnered on a Tier 1 center led by the University of Arkansas, the Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center, which focuses on maritime transportation. Other consortium members include Jackson State University, Louisiana State University, the University of New Orleans and Vanderbilt University.
“The new center led by Dr. Zietsman will provide leadership in the emerging area of transportation and public health, while our partnerships with VTTI and the University of Arkansas will enable us to continue to enhance the body of knowledge in safety and maritime transportation,” says TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree. “We’re looking forward to working with our faculty partners to implement the educational initiatives in these new centers.”
A major component of the UTC program is the educational opportunities provided to graduate students who help conduct research alongside leading experts in their fields of study. Hundreds of students have worked on TTI’s UTC projects since the 1980s.