December (2016)–The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a $1,402,200 grant to a three-university consortium led by Morgan State University, to establish a second University Transportation Center at Morgan. The newly formed Urban Mobility and Equity Center (UMEC) will focus on research to improve the mobility of people and goods in an environmentally sustainable and equitable manner. In addition to Morgan, the consortium includes the University of Maryland, College Park and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). All three institutions have strong track records in transportation research.
“As Maryland’s premier public urban research university and an anchor institution in the city of Baltimore, it is important that the research we conduct examine all facets of improving daily life for everyday people, and enhancing transportation should be at the forefront of that examination,” said David Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “We have a top-notch transportation center at Morgan and are looking forward to working with our consortium partner institutes on finding solutions to the transportation challenges of today and tomorrow.”
The grant is one of 35 five-year grants awardedunder the University Transportation Centers (UTC) program, which was reauthorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. Identified as a Tier 1 center, UMEC will concentrate on improving access to opportunities, “smart cities” technologies, novel modes of transport, systems integration, analytical tools to optimize movement, and regional planning. Researchers from any of the three consortium universities can apply for transit-related research funding.
“Many low-income urban residents in the United States experience a spatial mismatch between affordable housing and jobs,” says Andrew Farkas, director of the National Transportation Center at Morgan, who will also direct UMEC. “They contend daily with poor access to economic opportunity. Baltimore and other urban areas are constrained by aging infrastructure and congestion, and transportation of goods can burden nearby residential areas.”
The center will establish a public interest research and community technical assistance program to develop problem-solving projects that address citywide and community concerns, such as employment access and economic development. UMEC also will promote education and research opportunities for minorities and women to prepare them for transportation careers.
The Morgan State University National Center for Transportation Management, Research and Development (NTC), is part of the DOT’s University Transportation Centers Program and also a member of the Council of University Transportation Centers. The center was established by Congress under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991; reauthorized in 1998 by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century and reauthorized again in 2005 by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users.
Shared from Morgan State University