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The UT Center for Transportation Research has won a $5.5 million federal award that renews the center’s lead in the research consortium for the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 4, the Southeastern Transportation Center.

The two-year award from DOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration is one of 10 granted to regional university transportation centers. The money will advance U.S. technology and expertise in the many modes and disciplines that comprise transportation through research, education and technology transfer.

STC members include UT as the lead institution along with the University of Kentucky, the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama Birmingham, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina A&T State University, and Clemson University.

The consortium’s research will focus on the Secretary of Transportation’s strategic goal of improving public health and safety by reducing transportation-related fatalities and injuries.

“The consortium’s theme is comprehensive transportation safety,” said Steve Richards, consortium director. “This grant allows us to improve the safety of all transportation modes in the Southeast through a program of research, education, and technology transfer.”

“Safety must be a fundamental objective of our national and regional transportation systems,” said Dave Clarke, center director. “However, statistics reveal that our region’s surface transportation systems, individually and collectively, face unsurpassed safety challenges. We continue to work to achieve comprehensive transportation safety related to moving people and goods through our region.”

Research findings will be communicated to officials and policymakers for consideration through research symposia, workshops, and publications. The funding also will support graduate students at all participating universities to develop the next generation of safety leaders as well as address critical issues related to the shrinking transportation work force.

“As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for twenty-six years in the House of Representatives, I know the importance of this research,” said US Representative John Duncan, Jr. “It will affect every American in the years to come as we take on the huge challenge of strengthening and modernizing our nation’s transportation infrastructure.”

Additional support came from Tennessee’s Department of Transportation, a long-standing STC partner. In this competition, TDOT Commissioner John Schroer pledged $500,000 to help match the federal funding.

Established in 1972, the UT Center for Transportation Research promotes and facilitates transportation research, education and public service activities at UT. The center’s research and advocacy led to child passenger restraint laws, which Tennessee was the first state in the nation to adopt. This work led to many additional state traffic safety laws, such as the adult occupant protection law. To learn more, visit

To learn more about the Southeastern Transportation Center, visit

The goals of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration are to provide a critical transportation knowledge base outside the US DOT and to address vital workforce needs for the next generation of transportation leaders. For more information, visit


Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,

Lissa Gay (865-974-8760,