New UF Transportation Institute to focus on interdisciplinary research
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida College of Engineering today will launch the University of Florida Transportation Institute. Under its umbrella, departments, centers and programs from around the university will work together to better focus on safely and efficiently getting people where they need to go.
“For decades, UF has had great transportation projects going on all around campus,” said institute director Lily Elefteriadou. “We develop software for traffic simulation and transportation planning that is used by universities all around the country. We study the economic benefits of infrastructure investments. We have public education programs advocating bicycle safety and seatbelts. We test emissions and alternative fuels. We even have engineers designing autonomous vehicles. The real future of transportation lies in inclusion, in working together to improve the transportation system. That’s what this institute will be able to do.”
Elefteriadou is the former director of the College of Engineering’s Transportation Research Center, which is now part of the new institute, or UFTI. Also under its umbrella are the Center for Multimodal Solutions for Congestion Mitigation, or CMS, and UF’s Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education, or STRIDE, Center. Both the CMS and STRIDE are funded through competitive grants by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Florida Department of Transportation.
“FDOT has had a long and productive relationship with the University of Florida in many areas of transportation research,” said Tom Byron, chief engineer at FDOT. “UF is a national leader in many of these areas, and the development of UFTI demonstrates another step in its commitment to providing research that will benefit the travelling public in Florida and nationwide.”
The UFTI is comparable in size, scope, and capability to transportation institutes at other top universities such as the University of Michigan and the University of California Berkeley. By creating this institute, UF can collaborate on larger research efforts with the federal government and other agencies, and thereby have a greater impact on the future of transporation.
“Transportation is a perfect example of how important it is to have interdisciplinary research,” said Cammy Abernathy, dean of the College of Engineering. “Transportation is a critical component to economic development and a huge factor in creating a more sustainable world. While there are mechanical and logistical aspects, human participation is ultimately what defines it. This institute brings together talent from all over campus, positioning us to understand every aspect of the transportation challenges facing our country, and to solve them.”
For more information about the UFTI, go to http://www.transportation.institute.ufl.edu.