FAU to Receive Millions from United States Department of Transportation to Improve Florida’s and the Nation’s Mobility of People and Goods

Wednesday, Dec 14, 2016

FAU to Lead Freight Mobility Research Institute

Whether it's planes, trains or automobiles, the nation's transportation systems are growing rapidly and present a number of challenges related to safety as well as sustainability. Florida Atlantic University will receive $1.4 million per year from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), for five years, for its Freight Mobility Research Institute, housed in the Department of Civil Environmental and Geomatics Engineering within FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

A combined match from the state and private sectors will bring the award to more than $10 million in total. Funds from this award will help to address critical issues affecting the planning, design, operation, and safety of the nation’s intermodal freight transportation system, in order to improve freight mobility through information technology,freight network modeling and operations, intermodal logistics, as well as freight and supply chain sustainability. More than 200 proposals were submitted to the USDOT, and only 20 institutions were selected for funding and designation as a Tier 1 University Transportation Center.

"Florida Atlantic University is at the forefront of pioneering transportation research and we are honored that our Freight Mobility Research Institute was selected by the United States Department of Transportation as a university transportation center," said FAU President John Kelly. "We extend our deepest gratitude to state representatives Lois Frankel and Ted Deutch for their commitment to the future of transportation in Florida and our nation, and for their unwavering support and vision, which helped us to secure this funding."

The primary goal of the Freight Mobility Research Institute is to help strengthen the nation's economic competitiveness. FAU will lead a consortium of experts from leading universities across the nation who have expertise in freight transportation, network modeling, sustainability, and intelligent transportation systems. The institute will help to promote smart cities, improve multimodal connections, system integration and security, data modeling, and analytical tools to optimize freight movements that improve efficiency. The institute also will have a significant educational impact through integrated education and outreach components.

"Efficient and safe freight movement is inextricably linked to the economic vitality of a local area, state, region and even beyond," said Evangelos I. Kaisar, Ph.D., director and principal investigator of the Freight Mobility Research Institute, an associate professor in FAU's Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering, and director of the Multimodal Intelligent Transportation Systems Laboratory. "We are motivated to embrace innovative research projects, to train current and future transportation leaders and workforce, and to engage with industry to enhance collaboration between agencies."

Members of the Freight Mobility Research Institute are Florida Atlantic University (lead), University of Florida, University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), Portland State University, Hampton University, University of Memphis, and Texas A&M University (College Station).

In addition, FAU will receive $1.5 million in total for the next five years from the USDOT to co-direct the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety, a National University Transportation Center housed at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This is one of five national centers with the aim to reduce injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roads by providing a new model for understanding and addressing traffic safety issues.

“We are very excited to join forces with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and our partner universities to work collaboratively to address and improve road safety issues that impact millions of drivers throughout our country,” said Eric Dumbaugh, Ph.D., associate director of the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety, and an associate professor in FAU's School of Urban and Regional Planning within FAU’s College of Design and Social Inquiry.

Researchers from FAU's College of Design and Social Inquiry will work with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Duke University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on transportation research, planning, public health, data science and engineering programs related to the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety.

"The establishment of these new designated centers will help to foster novel ideas that will lead and influence the future of transportation safety in the United States through multidisciplinary research, education, collaboration, and technology transfer activities," said Daniel C. Flynn, Ph.D., FAU’s vice president for research.

Photo l-r: Congressman Ted Deutch, Gary Perry, Ph.D., FAU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Evangelos Kaisar, Ph.D., Congresswoman Lois Frankel, and Eric Dumbaugh, Ph.D.