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U.S. Department of Transportation Awards $2.83 Million to Expand NITC Livable Communities

Sep 24, 2013
The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a nearly $3 million grant to a five-university consortium, including Oregon Institute of Technology

Sept. 24, 2013, Klamath Falls, ORE. – The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a nearly $3 million grant to a five-university consortium, including Oregon Institute of Technology, to develop safe, healthy, and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities. The grant marks the consortium’s designation as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s national university transportation center for livable communities.

The grant will help to expand the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, a program of the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) at Portland State University. NITC, led by Portland State, includes founding partners Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Oregon, and University of Utah, and now enables the NITC program to include a new partner, the University of South Florida.

The NITC proposal was one of 142 submitted to the federal University Transportation Centers Program for 35 grants. Five national centers were designated, one for each of the Department of Transportation’s strategic goals: livable communities, safety, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, and environmental sustainability.

In the first year of the grant, NITC will research projects including:

  • A project evaluating how transit-oriented developments affect jobs, housing choice and affordability; and another examining their equity effects in immigrant communities;
  • Researchers from four disciplines at four universities collaborating to understand how infill and mixed-use development affect travel patterns;
  • An Oregon Tech-led project looking at whether a fuel-cell drive can reduce emissions from large commercial vehicles such as garbage trucks.

Roger Lindgren, P.E., Ph.D., Professor of Civil Engineering, is Oregon Tech’s representative on NITC’s Executive Committee. Lindgren said that benefits for Oregon Tech will include student-centered funding such as undergraduate scholarships, graduate research fellowships, as well as field trips and travel to transportation conferences. Funding from the grant will continue Oregon Tech’s research into heavy-duty hybrid vehicles and the successful NITC Visiting Transportation Scholar Program, which brings high-caliber guest lecturers to Oregon Tech’s campuses. NITC’s continued funding will enable all Oregon Tech faculty to be principal investigators on future NITC research. Tech departments benefiting from this grant include civil, computer systems, electrical, mechanical, manufacturing, and renewable energy engineering.

Find out more about OTREC/OUTREC research and programs at http://otrec.us. Information on the USDOT University Transportation Centers program is at http://utc.dot.gov/. More on the grant competition is at http://www.rita.dot.gov/utc/sites/rita.dot.gov.utc/files/2013_grant_solicitation.pdf.

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