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UT to lead $10M University Transportation Center

The U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) has announced that the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will lead a multi-institutional University Transportation Center (UTC) designed to improve the mobility of people and goods across the country. This new UTC, Center for Freight Transportation for Efficient and Resilient Supply Chain, will be funded at $2 million per year for five years through US DOT’s University Transportation Centers Program.

The new center will be housed in UT’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR) and will address the challenges in freight transportation system design, planning, operations, and innovations in national and global supply chains through research, education, workforce development, and technology transfer activities. UT will partner with the University of Illinois Chicago, Oregon State University, California State University, Long Beach, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and Texas A&M University. UT will also be a partner in two other UTCs announced this week: the Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, led by the University of New Mexico, and the University Transportation Center for Regional and Rural Connected Communities, led by North Carolina A&T State University.

“I am delighted that our researchers were instrumental in the award of three new University Transportation Centers,” said Dr. Kevin Heaslip, director of CTR and the Future Mobility Initiative. “Our engagement puts our program in the country’s upper echelon of transportation research. The current momentum in our programs will lead to additional growth in the future as we continue to build research capacity and amplify the impact of our research outcomes.”

Read more…

Dr. Kevin Heaslip
CTR Director
Center for Freight Transportation for Efficient and Resilient Supply Chain partners

UT Commits $50 Million to Transdisciplinary Cluster Hires, CTR to Lead Mobility Cluster

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is committing $50 million over the next five years to recruit 44 top-tier research faculty members across multiple disciplines to address some of the most pressing and complex challenges of our time. It is the largest faculty hiring initiative in recent UT history. These hirings represent seven research clusters:

  • Precision Health and Environment
  • Food and Nutrition Security
  • Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Quantitative-based Solutions for Food Security
  • Advancing UT’s National Prominence in Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry
  • Science-Informed Artificial Intelligence
  • Foundational Artificial Intelligence – Closing the Gap to Human Intelligence
  • Future Mobility

Future Mobility Cluster led by Kevin Heaslip (Director, Center for Transportation Research, Tickle College of Engineering)
Collaborators: College of Arts and Sciences, Haslam College of Business, Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, Tickle College of Engineering

As the automotive and transportation industries continue to undergo rapid technological change, there is a need to meet the heightened demand for advanced mobility research and development initiatives. This cluster will impact two major areas — the greening of transportation and the building of a green transportation economy that will drive economic growth for the state. Faculty will explore, invent and validate new technologies, processes, systems and services that are responsive to mobility consumer and industry needs; prepare a workforce to contribute to Tennessee’s mobility economy through education, reskilling and upskilling; and create shared research testbeds and facilities that support developing and deploying cutting-edge mobility solutions in real-world environments.

Read more about all seven clusters.

Good News for City and County Employees

TTAP has good news for local government employees!  As we start 2023, most TTAP online workshops are now free to employees of any city, town, or county (including townships, villages, boroughs, and parishes for our friends in other states and provinces). This expanded offer of free training is made possible by the support we receive from our sponsors at the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. 

We’ve added many new workshops to our calendar and more will follow as the year progresses. We encourage you to explore our offerings and share these opportunities with your coworkers.

Transportation Solutions to Move Your World

The Center for Transportation Research (CTR) has been a nationally and internationally recognized research entity at The University of Tennessee since 1972. Our group has been the research venue for some of the brightest and most innovative faculty, researchers, and graduate students in the nation’s transportation arena.

Today, CTR has over $10 million in sponsored research under contract, providing increased opportunities for students and researchers. Considering the breadth of our transportation system, the quality of newly graduated transportation students must be of the highest caliber. CTR supports the UT College of Engineering’s responsibility to supply well-educated transportation students to the growing field of transportation professionals.

Transportation research, education, and technology transfer activities are vital if we are to rebuild the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure and encourage solutions to tomorrow’s transportation problems. These initiatives present new technical challenges, involve specialized personnel skills, and require innovative partnerships and management approaches. CTR strives to address these needs for the nation, our region, and our community.

Background & Focus

The Center for Transportation Research was created in 1970 to foster and facilitate interdisciplinary research, public service, and outreach in the field of transportation at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. It began full-time operations in 1972 and since then has contributed greatly to the overall research program of the university. As a research center under the auspices of UT’s College of Engineering, CTR oversees various programs associated with the education, research, training, and workforce aspects of the transportation field.

The center has three goals. The first is to conduct a program of research in transportation that is recognized for its excellence, comprehensiveness, innovation, productivity, and national leadership. The second is to develop and sustain the technical expertise for high quality transportation research by the faculty and students of UT. CTR’s third goal is to serve the transportation research, service, and training needs of state and local government, business, and industry in Tennessee, the Southeast region, and the nation.

Our Value, Mission, and Vision Statements

CTR is dedicated to excellence and integrity in providing effective transportation solutions.

Our mission is to:

  • Harness the full resources of the University of Tennessee in the conduct of transportation research. 
  • Develop and educate the transportation workforce. 
  • Assist and advise operators and users of the transportation system. 

Our vision is to be recognized for excellence in university-based transportation research, education, and service.

How CTR Makes a Difference

CTR’s #Getconvinced teen program was awarded 1st place in class 2 at Engineer’s Day 2021. This program, which was started in 2015, promotes teen safety focusing on seatbelt use by letting teens ride the seatbelt convincer along with understanding the dangers of distracted driving using a pedal kart while wearing impaired goggles and navigating an obstacle course. Over 800 high school students were on campus October 19th to experience these activities. The #Getconvinced program has reached over 13,000 teens since its inception, helping them learn ways to navigate safely around large trucks. After riding the convincer, which safely simulates a low-speed crash, one teen remarked: “I couldn’t imagine being in a crash without a seat belt, even if it’s at only 5-10 mph.”

The Tennessee Travel Demand User’s Group (TNMUG) forum was established in January 2004 to exchange information about travel demand modeling and forecasting. The goal of the organization is to improve modeling and forecasting capabilities within the state. TNMUG is a collaboration between the universities, TDOT, FHWA, MPOs, consultants, and other interested parties. The modeling group promotes standard statewide guidelines and validation standards, helps coordinate systematic data collection and processing, organizes and promotes staff member training, and conducts research on selected areas of interest to the group. The members gather three or four times per year for one-day meetings that include extensive technical programs. TNMUG’s objective is to support travel demand modeling research and practices that can be undertaken in a comprehensive and coordinated fashion, resulting in advancing the state of modeling application in Tennessee.

The LEVER Institute is a consortium of micromobility researchers and educators from University of Tennessee, Portland State University, University of North Carolina, Queensland University of Technology, and Monash University. LEVER’s mission is to focus collectively on interdisciplinary research directed at micromobility adoption, system integration, societal impacts, and related policy. They have focused on e-bike research since the early growth in Asia as well as recent technologies that enable more widespread access to micromobility vehicles through shared mobility systems. Some of their current projects focus on safety, sustainability, big data systems, and multimodal complementarity. A recent study by Dr. Chris Cherry and Hongtai Yang found that e-scooter riders compete heavily with traditional bikeshare.

ISSE’s East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition is geared toward outreach, education, and developing partnerships that help drive alternative fuels adoption by fleets in Tennessee and beyond. One of its programs, DRIVE Electric USA, is a $3.6M project that started in 2020, and it helps states across the country develop statewide, branded “Drive Electric” initiatives with subtasks such as fleet and utility engagement, developing major corridor and community charging plans, and educating state and local government officials. The EMPOWER Project, newly-funded by US DOE, will pull together partners in 30 states to develop a nationwide workplace charging initiative to educate and assist over 3,500 workplaces of different sizes and types and get them to install workplace charging for electric vehicles. 

Dr. Alex Rodrigues’ primary research interests lie in the theory-based empirical studies in supply chain management. He has developed quantitative research related to Global/National Logistics Expenditures estimations using neural networks and Global Supply Chain Management Performance Indexes using macroeconomic data. These efforts improve market intelligence, decision-making, and risk mitigation efforts for supply chain professionals. He has also contributed to qualitative research related to Global Logistics Strategy and Operations. The world has observed an increase in international trade and a strengthening of emerging markets, stressing the importance of Low-Cost Country Sourcing (LCCS) research in particular. 

Upcoming Events

CEE Seminar: Mike Fiske | 4:05 p.m. April 27, 405 Tickle | Moon to Mars Planetary Autonomous Construction Technology (MMPACT)

ISE Seminar: Reha Uzsoy | 2:15 p.m. April 28, 500 Tickle | “Funding Perspectives from the National Science Foundation.”

ORIED Energy Faire | 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. May 2, Toyota Auditorium, Baker Center | Opportunity for faculty, students, and staff to make connections, learn about funding, and see impact and innovation of UT scientists.

TCE Senior Design Showcase | 1–3 p.m. May 5, Zeanah | Student teams present solutions to real-world challenges.

TN Transportation Assistance Program Courses

These online webinars are free to city and local agencies.
Pre-registration is required for all workshops and webinars.

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