University of Utah Awarded $15 Million Grant for Transportation Research


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Salt Lake City — The University of Utah is shaping the national conversation on transportation. As part of a multi university program, the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning in the College of Architecture + Planning has been awarded a five-year, $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for research, education and outreach as a program partner of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program, or NITC.

“This grant affirms the U’s role in shaping the national conversation around transportation, communities and their profound impact on health and quality of life,” said Keith Diaz Moore, dean of the College of Architecture + Planning. “The NITC program has helped fund groundbreaking research on topics including transit and mobility, land use and development at the U.”

The NITC grant will provide a base minimum of $850,000 to the U and the funds will support doctoral student research assistantships, scholarships, student group activities and basic research over the grant’s five years. In addition, U researchers will compete with researchers at the other NITC institutions, including Portland State University, University of Oregon and Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Arizona and University of Texas at Arlington for approximately $7.5 million in research funding.

“We can project how NITC’s re-designation will benefit our community by looking at their research accomplishments over the past five years,” said Keith Bartholomew, associate dean of academic affairs and associate professor in the Department City & Metropolitan Planning.

NITC has provided dozens of student assistantships and fellowships, supported the training of new transportation professional planners and engineers, and provided funding for the following research projects at the U:

Transit Access can Improve Economic Outcomes

Using data from 12 Bus Rapid Transit systems across the country, researchers at the U found these systems attract higher-wage manufacturing jobs and reduce household transportation costs.

Land Use and Housing are Key to improving Access and Mobility

Analyzing economic development and demographic change, researchers at the U found Transit Oriented Development areas gained jobs in the office, knowledge, education, health care and entertainment sectors, adding more than $100 billion in wages.

Gateway Communities such as Zion National Park benefit from Regional Planning Efforts

U researchers are developing academic and professional education tools aimed at teaching the skills and practice of collaborative regional planning around gateway communities, such as discussions of traffic congestion and crowding in the Zion region.

Public Transportation and Trail Systems on Salt Lake’s West Side must be linked systemically

Through studying the connections between the North Temple Transit Oriented Development and Jordan Park River Trail on Salt Lake City’s West Side, U researchers explore how planners can best create pedestrian, bike and public transportation networks to link transit stations and regional trail systems to inform future policy decisions.

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