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METRANS Named By CTF As Organization Of The Year

Published: June 1, 2011

The METRANS Transportation Center, a joint partnership of USC and CSULB, has been named Organization of the Year by the California Transportation Foundation (CTF). A leading nonprofit providing support for the transportation community statewide, CTF is a foundation whose mission is to promote transportation education in California.

The award being given to METRANS will be among those presented on Wednesday, June 15, at the foundation’s 22nd annual Transportation Awards Luncheon in Sacramento, which recognizes excellence in transportation — all modes, public and private sector, and from all regions across California.

A United States Department of Transportation University Transportation Center (UTC), METRANS specifically addresses transportation problems in large metropolitan areas.

“When you look at what METRANS is about, we solve transportation problems in big metropolitan areas,” said Marianne Venieris, METRANS deputy director and executive director of the Center for International Trade and Transportation at CSULB. “We do it through research, education and outreach. We address transportation problems, which include moving people and moving goods.”

This is first time the CTF’s Organization of the Year award has been given to a university entity.

“Our selections represent the best of the projects, programs and people who made a positive difference for California transportation in 2010,” said CTF executive director Sarah West, adding that METRANS’ research and outreach initiatives made a real contribution to the field.

METRANS funds research on a wide range of transportation-related topics at USC and CSULB through an annual proposal process and engages students through research, seminars and other activities. In addition, the organization’s programs include conferences, public forums, publications, as well as workforce development and professional training.

METRANS

METRANS invites USC and CSULB undergraduate and graduate students in engineering, urban planning, economics and other related fields to participate in its biannual National Urban Freight Conference, the next one scheduled for Oct. 12-14. Students have also been placed in universities as researchers or faculty members, in public agencies, in transportation consulting firms and in offices of elected officials.

“The important thing to me,” said METRANS director Genevieve Giuliano, “is that we’re educating our students in a way that these professionals find very valuable. Students go out with the skills sought, and valued, by practitioners in the field.”

Venieris pointed to METRANS’ high-level performance since its inception in 1998 as one of the reasons it was selected for the award.

“I think what METRANS has delivered consistently is high-quality research and high-quality programs,” she said. “More than 50 percent of all research projects at METRANS focus on goods movement. This is where we are unique. We are working with the biggest port complex in the nation, so it is no surprise that international freight and the impact of trade is part of our focus areas. I am pleased to say that METRANS has a reputation as one of the most effective, efficient and committed UTCs in the nation.”

“We all knew METRANS and CTF were on the same page when it comes to supporting and educating undergraduates interested in transportation,” said James E. Moore, a professor at USC Viterbi School of Engineering and member of the METRANS executive committee. “But this award offers recognition for METRANS’ full range of activities, including research, teaching at all levels, technology transfer, and outreach to communities, agencies and industries.”

–Shayne Schroeder