The Small Urban and Rural Transit Center (SURTC), a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University, is changing its name to the Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility (SURCOM).
The name change reflects the center's expanded focus which now includes all types of personal mobility. "Public transportation is still an important component of our research, education, training and outreach efforts," director Jill Hough noted. "But shared-use mobility modes such as carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing, on-demand transit ride services and microtransit are increasingly making inroads into rural and small-urban areas. We've been expanding our work to include those modes as we examine the needs and opportunities for mobility of residents in those areas."
SURTC (now SURCOM) was established by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute in 2002 to address the lack of research and outreach related to mobility needs in small urban and rural areas. Since then, the center has become a leader in that field, generating internationally-recognized research and providing training and outreach across the country. An advisory panel of industry and academic specialists in mobility was assembled in the Fall of 2019 as a part of a strategic planning effort and recommended the name change and assisted in writing the center's new mission statement: "To be an innovative research, education, and outreach center providing mobility solutions to small urban and rural communities." The changes became official Jan. 1, 2020.
"The name, Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility, is a more accurate reflection of our current portfolio of activities and helps us to think more broadly about our future," Hough said. "Our vision is to be an internationally distinguished center for providing research and education for improving mobility in small urban and rural communities."