Research Focus Areas
UTCM's theme, “improving the quality of life by enhancing mobility,” describes our mission to conduct research, education and technology transfer activities that address the nation's mobility issues. Through our strategic planning process, we identified four focus areas for the UTCM research program:
- Coast-to-coast, border-to-border mobility
- Rural public transportation
- Congestion management and mitigation
- Innovative financing
Coast-to-coast, border-to-border mobility
This focus area includes all modes and the regional and national linkages between them. Since a breakdown in one area's transportation system may affect the entire country, UTCM seeks to develop methods to predict, analyze and mitigate such failures, to identify “chokepoints” and how they affect the nationwide transportation system, and develop programs that would positively impact this area.
Rural public transportation
Research in rural public transportation represents an opportunity for UTCM to improve the quality of life for rural residents, including disadvantaged, aging and disabled persons. Research topics include better routing methods, the use of technology in rural transit systems, safety issues and more. In Texas and contiguous states, many areas of opportunity exist for such studies, including the Colonias (a series of economically disadvantaged small communities along the Texas/Mexico Rio Grande border), the Mississippi Delta, and the Four Corners area of the American Southwest.
Congestion management and mitigation
Research in this area that is currently underway at TTI will be expanded by the UTCM, providing a greater understanding of the benefits of mobility improvement programs and projects. Through such efforts, UTCM will set the stage for major, long-term research initiatives in this area.
Innovative financing methods can provide alternative sources of funding for transportation improvements and new construction. Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) have the potential to generate revenue to fill the widening gap between ever-increasing vehicle miles traveled and the decreasing resources available for both new construction and existing infrastructure improvements. UTCM therefore solicits projects that seek to better understand the policy implications and implementation issues involved with P3s and other financing options.