North Dakota State University is one of four universities that will cooperatively conduct research and provide training and outreach related to public transit under a $3.5 million grant awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
NDSU is a partner with the University of Illinois at Chicago and Florida International University in Miami. The University of South Florida in Tampa will lead the effort. The Small Urban & Rural Transit Center, a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Research Institute at NDSU, will provide expertise in rural and small urban transportation. NDSU will receive about $500,000 from the grant.
The grant was one of 22 awarded in the University Transportation Centers Program administered by the DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration and was one of two grants specifically targeted to consortiums that will study public transportation.
“NDSU has developed expertise in transit management and coordination, among other areas specifically related to transit providers in rural and small urban areas,” notes Jill Hough, director of the Small Urban & Rural Transit Center. “Our participation in this effort brings added knowledge and awareness to assure that the issues faced by rural and small urban transit providers are addressed.”
Overall, the partnership will focus on the following topic areas:
- Enhancing transit safety
- Developing procedures and approaches to help agencies better care for their fleets and facilities
- Exploring how transit can enhance economic competitiveness of business, regions or communities
- Enhancing the livability of regions or communities through transit
- Improving environmental sustainability of transportation systems and transit operations.
“In each of these areas we will bring a rural or small community focus,” Hough noted. “We will also gain ideas from our partners that may be transferable to the smaller transit providers that we serve. Each of the four partner universities brings unique strengths and accomplishments to this consortium, but by working together we will enhance our overall collective contribution to the transit industry.” Hough said.