In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it will award $77 million in grants to 22 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges. UConn will receive a portion of the funding, as a member of a university consortium awarded $3.5 million under the program.
The consortium is led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and includes UConn, Harvard, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Maine. The grant dollars, which will be managed and distributed by MIT, were made with the stipulation that consortia must secure matching funds from non-federal sources.
According to Dr. Nicholas Lownes, Director of the Center for Transportation & Livable Systems and an assistant professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UConn, the $3.5 million will be distributed among the consortium partners through research grants, fellowships and educational/outreach grants in a competitive process over the next two years. While all five of the institutions share some of the same transportation expertise, Dr. Lownes notes that there is a significant degree of complementary specification at each school. “UConn’s expertise in public transport, safety, sustainable transportation systems and livable communities blends well with the expertise in technology, driver behavior, simulation and urban planning at the other partner schools.”
The consortium’s larger scope of work will include projects focusing on managing the disruptive impacts of technology on the nation’s transportation system, working toward the creative application of new technologies including information communications technology, robotics, related computational methods and systems, and smart materials.