Lehman Center for Transportation Research at Florida International University

LCTRJoinedThree University Transportation Centers (UTCs)

MIAMI (Jan. 20, 2012) Florida International University's efforts to find traffic solutions got a boost this week.

Earlier this week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $77 million in grants to 22 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation. The UTCs, which are located throughout the United States, conduct research that directly supports the priorities of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the participating universities are a critical part of the national transportation strategy. FIU's Lehman Center for Transportation Research is part of three of the University Transportation Centers that received grants.

"Transportation matters in everyone's daily life. These research centers will help us solve the transportation challenges we face today and those that we know lay ahead of us," LaHood said.

The Lehman Center belongs to a Tier I UTC led by Georgia Institute of Technology, a Regional UTC led by the University of Florida, and a Tier I-Transit UTC led by the University of South Florida. FIU professors Albert Gan, Mohammad Hadi, and Fabian Cevallos lead FIU's participation at the three centers.

DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), which administers the UTC program, used a competitive selection process to select ten University Transportation Centers, two Transit-Focused UTCs, and ten Regional UTCs. The centers will advance U.S. transportation technology and expertise in research, education, and technology transfer. Each one of the selected UTCs will receive a $3.5 million grant which they must match with funds from non-federal sources. The 22 UTCs selected are all consortia, involving a total of 121 different universities.

UTCs work with regional, state and local transportation agencies to help find solutions to challenges that directly impact their communities and affect the efficiency of the nation's transportation system. UTC projects are peer-reviewed and the results of their work are shared with the national transportation community to encourage greater progress through collaboration. The selected universities will research a wide range of transportation-related issues including shared rail corridors, innovations in multimodal freight and infrastructure, bridge inspection methods, and reducing roadway fatalities and injuries.

FIU and Rutgers are the only two universities with membership in all three UTC categories. FIU College of Engineering and Computing Dean Amir Mirmiran attributed FIU's success to the strength of its transportation program.

"For nearly two decades, the Lehman Center has served South Florida, and built strong credibility in the transportation field, from traffic safety to intelligent transportation, and from accelerated bridge construction to transportation planning and modeling," Mirmiran said. "Our transportation student chapter also has been the nation's most decorated in the last decade, having won numerous prestigious awards, including four Best Student Paper Awards and five Best Student Chapter Awards from the Institute of Transportation Engineers."

The Lehman Center already has strong working relationships with transportation agencies in South Florida, including Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Districts 4 and 6, the Miami-Dade Expressway (MDX), Miami-Dade Transit (MDT), Miami-Dade Public Works, Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Citizens' Independent Transportation Trust (CITT), and Broward County Transit.