Transit research group operating with $3.5M fed grant

Posted on February 28, 2012

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) and eight other leading university transportation centers, functioning together as the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC), have begun operating under a $3.49 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT).

The funds, which will be used for research, education and other projects that help improve public transit, are provided by the Federal Transit Administration and distributed through U.S. DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration. The federal grant will be matched with funds from local departments of transportation and other sources.

The nine MNTRC universities include:

  • Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif. (lead institute for the consortium).
  • Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center and the Intelligent Cyberphysical Systems Center at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.
  • Howard University Transportation Safety Data and Research Center at Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • Four members of the Michigan-Ohio University Transportation Center, led by the University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit; with Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio; Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich.; and University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
  • Nevada University Transportation Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas.
  • Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute's Bus Research and Testing Center at Penn State University, University Park, Penn.

A few sample research projects that will be completed within the MNTRC include:

  • Analysis of Bus Transit Crashes in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area, in which Howard University will identify predominant causal human factors of bus crashes. 
  • Assessing Socioeconomic Impacts of Transit Systems on the Small Regional Community and Improving Service Quality of Transit Authorities in Small Urban Areas, in which Bowling Green State University will identify the leading causes of low transit ridership, evaluate the operating efficiency of the current transit system relative to other benchmark systems, and assess the various impacts of transit on the local community welfare;
  • Evaluation of New and Modified Bus Models, in which Penn State University's Larson Institute will use RITA funding to meet the Secretary of Transportation's strategic goal for safety by engineering and testing vehicles, equipment, and infrastructure;
  • A Study of Factors that Inhibit and Enable Effective Development of Sustainable Regional Transit Systems in Southeastern Michigan, in which Detroit-Mercy will analyze the factors that inhibit and enable the effective planning, development, and operation of regional transit systems in southeastern Michigan; and
  • Transit Users' Perceptions of Bike-Friendly Policy Impacts on Accessibility to Transit Services: The First and Last Mile Bridge, in which Penn State will partner with MTI to assess the extent to which geographic access to public transit services is greater as a result of particular facilities and policies.

The research project reports will continue to be available for download from the MTI web site as consortium leader, as well as through public meetings, symposia, professional conferences and other distribution outlets.

Besides research, the MNTRC universities will continue to offer a variety of education and workforce development programs, including multi-disciplinary and more traditional undergraduate, master, and doctoral-level degree programs. The educational opportunities presented by the consortium primarily will span the managerial, policy and more technical aspects of transit. Educational programs also will continue to be offered to young people in primary, middle and high school.

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