NDSU-led consortium receives $3.5 million award from U.S. Department of Transportation
North Dakota State University will lead a consortium of eight universities focused on transportation research under a $3.5 million grant awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The grant was one of 22 awarded in the University Transportation Centers Program administered by the DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration. NDSU's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute and other members of the Mountain-Plains Consortium received the award for the coming year to study transportation issues in the Upper Great Plains and Intermountain West. NDSU's share will be about $1.3 million.
The grant was one of 10 awarded to regional transportation centers. The other 12 grants were awarded to national centers. Partners with NDSU include Colorado State University, South Dakota State University, the University of Colorado-Denver, the University of Denver, the University of Utah, the University of Wyoming and Utah State University. NDSU has been the lead university in the Mountain-Plains Consortium with various partner universities since 1988.
"The states in this region share a number of common characteristics such as vast rural road networks, few urban centers and harsh climate extremes," noted Denver Tolliver, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute associate director and director of the consortium. "No single university can effectively address the complex transportation issues we face in this region, but the integrated efforts of eight universities along with support and partnerships in each state will have a significant impact."
Research conducted under the grant will focus on key areas including
- Assessing the impact of energy development and climatic extremes on transportation
- Advancing the state of repair and sustainability of transportation infrastructure
- Enhance economic competitiveness through transportation
- Improving safety and enforcement
- Advancing livable communities through transportation
Collaborators from the cooperating universities will submit project proposals for review and selection within the next month. The grant will also support transportation-related education programs at the participating universities as well as technology transfer and workforce development activities. Funding under the grant is for one year, but may be used over the next two years if necessary.
"Each of the participating universities has key strengths and programs. The consortium will combine them into a comprehensive and coordinated program that addresses key transportation issues in the region," Tolliver said. The consortium has on-going programs in several areas including transportation and sustainable energy development; bridge monitoring and performance; tribal transportation planning; transit oriented development and urban sustainability; workforce skill development; and development of on-line courses and training.
"These are areas where we've already identified needs and where our faculty and staff have developed excellent programs. This grant award gives us an opportunity to build on that foundation," Tolliver said.