Portland State University has secured a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for transportation research, education and outreach. Portland State's Transportation Research and Education Center, TREC, will administer the grant, expected to be worth up to $15.6 million.
The grant names TREC's National Institute for Transportation and Communities program (NITC) as one of five national university transportation centers. TREC will expand the NITC program and add new partners University of Arizona and University of Texas Arlington. Existing partners University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology and University of Utah remain partners in the Portland State-led program.
The NITC program will focus on four research areas: increasing access to opportunities; improving multi-modal planning and shared use of infrastructure; advancing innovation and smart cities; and developing data, models and tools. Among the 11 projects funded in the first year of the grant are:
- A smart platform for connected vehicle infrastructure and signal control;
- A multidisciplinary look at how the concept of walkability has left out disadvantaged neighborhoods and how to address those gaps;
- Two innovative efforts to help transit connect people with jobs and opportunities;
- An examination of the economic and business effects of converting infrastructure for nonmotorized transportation;
- A study to inform proactive traffic management during major disruptive events.
TREC Director Jennifer Dill said the grant affirms the NITC program's contributions to improving transportation nationwide. "Since our center's founding in 2006, we've provided the research and insight to help transportation agencies serve all users."
The latest grant means TREC has brought Portland State $48 million from a single federal program in the last 10 years. The requirement that each federal dollar be matched from a nonfederal partner has multiplied the effect of that investment, creating fruitful partnerships with more than 100 agencies and organizations nationally, including the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Metro, TriMet and the Oregon Department of Transportation.