Transportation research receives grant

The Center for Urban Transportation Research received a grant for about $2 million that will provide additional funding for a continued study of urban transportation planning.

Edward Mierzejewski, director of CUTR, said the grant would be used for research on a variety of programs that have been in development for several years. Mierzejewski added that the Federal Transportation Administration, which has worked with CUTR on past projects, is providing funding from the grant.

Mierzejewski said general areas of transportation that are being researched include analyzing crashes involving public transportation vehicles, estimating the demand for public transportation trips for people with disabilities and developing the best practices in environmental justice considerations in public transit.

Also included in the research is downtown transit circulating systems, which include trolleys and small buses that are used by many major cities to alleviate traffic.

The grant money will be used to fund the last two years of study, Mierzejewski said. Securing the grant funds for the last two years was completed through a competition with several other schools.

“For the final two years CUTR had to compete with 17 other university programs that were successful in this area,” Mierzejewski said. “We were part of 10 (other universities) who were successful in receiving the funds.”

Mierzejewski said CUTR received additional funding apart from the grant for the research from the Florida Department of Transportation. The DOT has also provided its insight while working with CUTR.

“The Florida DOT has been committed to matching this project dollar for dollar,” Mierzejewski said. “(The topics being researched) are all projects that have been selected in conjunction with the Florida DOT.”

The first grant from the FTA is for $1.8 million, and it will fund the National Center for Transit Research at USF. The second installment of $248,375 will be used to inform major urban areas about the work of the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute, which is housed in CUTR.

Mierzejewski said the research is rewarding for him because he understands that it has a real world application once completed.

“The best part of this process is that there is an actual person in the real world that is interested in getting answers for the things we are working on,” Mierzejewski said.

The Urban Transportation Monitor, a magazine for the transportation industry, recently recognized CUTR as being one of the top 10 universities in the nation to study transportation planning and transit operations.