University of Texas Awarded $1.7 Million USDOT University Transportation Grant

AUSTIN, Texas The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded The University of Texas at Austin $1.7 million in grants to advance cutting-edge research and educational programs that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation.

Austin will be used as a test site for many of the projects, which will use "big data" and innovative wireless technologies to address traffic congestion.

"These are complex societal challenges that require researchers from multiple fields to come together to harness the full potential of advances in technology. This grant makes that collaboration possible," said Chandra Bhat, director of the university's Center for Transportation Research.

The USDOT's Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA) chose UT Austin to be a Tier 1 University Transportation Center (UTC).

The Tier 1 UTC grant, worth $1.4 million in federal money, will be used to operate the Data-Supported Transportation Operations and Planning Center (D-STOP). This center will become a national and international multimodal and multidisciplinary center that integrates innovative developments in wireless sensor networks, communications technologies and transportation modeling systems.

The university will also receive a second $300,000 grant as a sub-grantee on the Michigan State University's grant for Highway Pavement Preservation. A matching contribution of $750,000 from the university will bring the total to $2.4 million.

The grants will be used by researchers at the university's Center for Transportation Research (CTR) and Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG), two research organizations within UT Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering.

D-STOP's research will focus on harnessing the latest innovative technologies and data sources to develop sophisticated systems for data collection and analysis. These systems will provide more informed and accurate models and policies, which will better shape transportation decisions to alleviate congestion.

"The WNCG and CTR are uniquely positioned to advance the frontier of transportation, with the marriage of deep expertise in wireless communications offered by the WNCG and the nearly 50-year history of transportation research in the CTR," explains WNCG Director Robert Heath.