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The new University Transportation Center at UT will address the mobility of people and goods across the country.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will lead a multi-institutional University Transportation Center aimed at improving the mobility of people and goods across the country.

This week the U.S. Department of Transportation announced funding of $2 million a year for five years for the Center for Freight Transportation for Efficient and Resilient Supply Chain through its University Transportation Centers Program.

UT will partner with Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois Chicago, Oregon State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and California State University, Long Beach.

Mingzhou Jin

“I am thrilled to be partnering with other institutions to effect change for this critical sector,” said Mingzhou Jin, John D. Tickle Professor in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering, who will lead the center. “Together we will develop innovative technologies and solutions that maximize the capacity of existing roadway infrastructure, ensure the just-in-time delivery of goods that support America’s retail and manufacturing economy, and by doing so enhance supply chain resiliency.”

The new center will be housed in UT’s Center for Transportation Research and will address the challenges in freight transportation system design, planning, operations and innovations in national and global supply chains through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer activities.

“The state of Tennessee plays a critical role in the U.S. freight network, and UT is committed to conducting transformational work in future mobility in support of both new technology advancements and the creation of a skilled workforce for Tennessee and the nation,” said UT Vice Chancellor for Research Deb Crawford.

More than 231,000 Tennesseans are employed in the transportation, logistics and distribution industry at more than 13,800 establishments, including FedEx and Amazon’s Operations Center. Additionally, annual freight volume in the U.S. is expected to increase by 50% to almost 29 billion tons by 2050.

UT will also be a partner institution in two other University Transportation Centers announced this week: the Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, led by the University of New Mexico, and the University Transportation Center for Regional and Rural Connected Communities, led by North Carolina A&T State.

“I am delighted that our researchers were instrumental in the award of three new University Transportation Centers,” said Kevin Heaslip, director of UT’s Center for Transportation Research and Future Mobility Initiative. “Our engagement puts our program in the country’s upper echelon of transportation research. The current momentum in our programs will lead to additional growth in the future as we continue to build research capacity and amplify the impact of our research outcomes.”

Read the U.S. Department of Transportation release of all University Research Centers announced for 2023.


Christie Kennedy (865-974-8674,