Environmental transportation planning
Center shares in federal funding for environmentally sustainable transportation research
2:22 p.m., July 28, 2014--The Delaware Center for Transportation (DCT), a research center housed in the University of Delaware’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will share in $5.2 million in federal funding for environmentally sustainable transportation research as part of a regional consortium of universities.
Awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the funding supports research by the newly formed Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability University Center (MATC-UTC) led by University of Virginia.
Confidence and risk
In addition to UD and Virginia, consortium members include Marshall University, Morgan State University, Old Dominion University and Virginia Tech.
According to Ardeshir Faghri, DCT director and professor of civil and environmental engineering, the center’s strength lies in its emphasis on environmental practices in transportation engineering and its established relationships with the Institute for Public Administration in UD’s School of Public Policy and Administration.
“This combination of engineering, plus planning and policy has distinguished UD’s transportation center among state and federal transportation agencies,” Faghri says.
With $1 million in new funding, DCT faculty research will address alternative fuels, multimodal transportation facility resilience, mode choice among commuters, land use planning and environmental sustainability, and infrastructure and development patterns to support reduced driving.
“Transportation engineering has been a core strength of UD’s civil engineering program for years. This new funding provides needed resources to make major advances in sustainability, both in infrastructure and the environment,” says Tripp Shenton, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
The MATC-UTC research program will focus on five main areas of interest to the USDOT:
- Sustainable freight movement This plays a key role in the regional economy and on the environment, a critical consideration give the Mid-Atlantic region’s large port facilities, critical trucking routes, extensive rail network and inland waterways.
- Coastal infrastructure resilience A majority of the Mid-Atlantic population lives in coastal areas that are directly impacted by the effects of climate change, particularly sea level rise and extreme weather events. Research will focus on understanding the risks and innovative adaptations.
- Energy efficient urban transportation Energy efficient and environmentally sound methods are needed to address extreme congestion in the I-95 urban corridor in the Mid-Atlantic region, specifically the Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, which are among the most congested corridors in the nation.
- Enhanced water quality management Given the Mid-Atlantic’s coastal location and important inland waterways, the management of stormwater on transportation facilities is particularly important to protect watersheds. Regional transportation agencies are particularly interested in looking beyond meeting minimum regulations to developing sustainable water quality management practices.
- Sustainable land-use practices To overcome “one-size-fits-all” land use polices and practices that are impractical given the mid-Atlantic region’s diverse mix of densely populated urban areas, sparsely populated forested regions, brownfield sites, etc.