Texas Southern University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology (COSET) earned three grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation totaling nearly $3 million for transportation infrastructure research over the next five years.

“Receiving $2.8 million in federal research awards is a reflection of the work being done daily by the faculty, staff, and students in the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology and the Transportation Department,” said Dr. Wei Wayne Li, acting dean of COSET. “Our effort and time in conducting innovative research is turning out to be a great success in terms of federal grant awards, publications, and student training, which significantly increases TSU’s visibility on the way toward Research 1 from current Research 2 status.”

The grants are part of an $87 million national award from the U.S. Department of Transportation to 34 University Transportation Centers (UTC) to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing our nation.

“We are excited to be one of the universities leading this effort,” said Dr. Needha Boutte-Queen, Acting Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This is important research that we know will result in solutions to an issue that everyone deals with, whether they’re in an urban center, the suburbs, or in rural America.”

The UTCs, which are located throughout the United States, conduct research that directly supports the priorities of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The participating universities and teams are a critical part of our national transportation strategy.

“Texas Southern University remains committed to providing research-based solutions for Houston and beyond,
said Dr. Michelle Penn-Marshall, vice president for research and innovation. “Transportation is a critical issue that impacts everyone from the urban core to the suburbs. We are proud of the work our transportation department has done over the years to address transportation issues, and we look forward to the transformative work that will take place at these new centers that we know will enable our researchers to do even more to impact our region, our state, and our nation.”

TSU’s grant awards include $1.8 million for a National UTC, $625,000 for teams received three new UTC grant awards, including a National UTC for $1.8 million, a regional UTC worth $625 thousand and a tier-1 UTC for $375 thousand totaling $2.8 million dollars.

The National UTC research is for sustainable transportation, which will focus on preserving the environment. The TSU portion of the project will be administered through the Innovative Transportation Research Institute (ITRI), directed by Dr. Lei Yu, professor of Transportation Studies and director of the TSU Innovative Transportation Research Institute (ITRI). “TSU is honored to join the highly prestigious team of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST) and is truly excited for the great opportunity for our faculty, researcher, and students to make contributions to research and education that promote a sustainable and equitable transportation development” said Dr. Yu.

A regional UTC called “Southern Plains Transportation Center” is for Improving the durability and extending the life of transportation infrastructure. TSU portion of the project is administered through the Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR). The research will focus on intensive freight movement through Region 6 and the interface between inland ports and neighborhoods. “We are 100% thrilled that with the recent USDOT transportation centers’ awards. TSU’s CTTR will begin its 35th year conducting important innovative research to address local and national transportation challenges. Our students will actively participate in these research projects, better preparing them to begin and advance their careers, which is invaluable!” said by Dr. Gwendolyn Goodwin, assistant professor and co-director of the CTTR.

The Tier 1 UTC, called “Connected Communities for Smart Mobility Toward Accessible and Resilient Transportation for Equitably Reducing Congestion” is overseen by the Department of Transportation.

“TSU’s team is thrilled to join the C2SMART center to conduct research on innovative intersection designs to reduce the congestion on our existing roadways!” said by Dr. Yi Qi, the chairperson of the Department of Transportation Studies.