METRANS Awarded $6+ MillionPublished: December 2, 2013
The METRANS Transportation Center, a partnership between the University of Southern California and CSULB, recently received two awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DoT) University Transportation Centers (UTC) program.
Working to solve transportation problems of large metropolitan areas through interdisciplinary research, education and outreach, METRANS was awarded Tier 1 UTC funding under the U.S. DoT strategic goal of economic competitiveness.
Research will be organized around the concept of system integration—all modes (highway, rail, bus) and users (passengers and freight) are interdependent in a metropolitan environment. The research will explore both system management and policy strategies that promote more efficient and sustainable urban transportation. METRANS will receive $1.414 million per year for two years and be matched 50 percent from other non-federal sources, for a total of approximately $4.242 million. Caltrans has committed to providing the full required match.
“Much of the work is tied to freight, but we are still looking at broader questions of economic competitiveness and the relationship between transportation and competitiveness in large metropolitan areas,” said Thomas O’Brien, director of research for CSULB’s Center for International Trade and Transportation.
“This funding will allow us to continue our efforts with the Town Hall, the Urban Freight Conference and expanding the range of our professional development programs,” he added. “It sort of injects new life into the center allowing us to engage more students in our programs, which is really important.”
In addition, METRANS is part of a six-university consortium headed by UC Davis that was awarded one of five National UTCs. One award was made for each of the main themes of the U.S. DoT strategic plan. The National Center for Sustainable Transportation at Davis will focus on reducing carbon emissions from transportation systems.
“For national centers, you really need national coverage and UC Davis is really well respected and well known for their work on things like alternative fuels,” said O’Brien.
METRANS will lead the urban freight research program and will contribute to workforce development and outreach activities of the center. Research topics include improving efficiency of freight flows, use of alternative fuels, pricing strategies and relationships between land use and freight demand patterns. METRANS will receive $500,000 per year for two years, to be matched 100 percent from other non-federal sources, for a total of approximately $2 million.
“With CSULB’s Advanced Media Productions we are going to be doing a series on a YouTube channel that is focused on sustainable transport,” O’Brien noted. “We have a virtual transportation academy that we’re funding as part of the Tier 1 program. What’s happened now is that we have a series of complementary programs focusing on different aspects of transport, much of it driven by freight activity, some of it driven by the question of sustainability. I think it’s great news for METRANS and CSULB.”