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ODU Receives University Transportation Centers Program Grant as Part of Consortium

Old Dominion University is part of a consortium of four schools that will share in a 2012 University Transportation Centers (UTC) tier 1 grant.

The research will focus on "transportation for livability by integrating vehicles and the environment," or TransLIVE for short.

"The main mission of the centers is to help our nation achieve the goals of a cleaner environment and greater energy independence through developing new technologies and decision support tools," said Asad Khattak, professor of civil engineering and director of the ODU Transportation Research Institute, who served as PI for the grant.

As a tier 1 grant recipient, ODU will share in a $3.5 million grant (requiring matching funding from participant schools) as part of a team led by the University of Idaho, and including Virginia Tech, Syracuse University and Texas Southern University. ODU's share will be approximately $600,000, plus matching funds. The funds will cover faculty, staff and student salaries, permanent equipment and student tuition.

Only 10 of 46 applications were selected to receive tier 1 grant status. This is the first time ODU has participated in the UTC program, which awards grants to universities across the United States to advance transportation research and develop the next generation of transportation professionals.

Khattak will work with two co-PIs, Mike Robinson, research assistant professor at ODU's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), and Mecit Cetin, assistant professor of modeling and simulation research.

The initial key research goals of this research are to integrate real-time data systems and advanced transportation applications to better manage congestion while minimizing environmental impacts, and to develop modeling, simulation and visualization tools that assess energy, environmental and emission impacts of transportation systems to support transportation decision making at the local, regional and national levels.

John Sokolowski, executive director of VMASC, said the grant is a recognition of the modeling and simulation expertise that has grown at ODU. "The work of Drs. Khattak, Robinson and Cetin in the field of transportation modeling and simulation can help provide a valuable service in keeping our roads safer, cleaner and more efficient," he said.

Letters of support for the grant initiative were provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, both of which will aid in the research.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration announced that 63 UTC applications were received for a share of the $77 million in grants. A total of 22 grants were awarded to research institutions across the United States.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a news release that these research centers will help the country solve its transportation challenges today and in the future.

UTC works with regional, state and local transportation agencies to help find solutions to challenges that directly impact their communities and affect the efficiency of the nation's transportation system. UTC projects are peer-reviewed and the results are shared with the national transportation community to encourage greater progress through collaboration.

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