News Digest

Source: News Digest

OST-R and FHWA Release Final Reports on Novel Surface Transportation Modes – In partnership with Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R), the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program has released a report documenting an initial stage investigation into current research and development of alternative modal concepts. Research results from USDOT research programs help to inform public sector and industry stakeholders and offer guidance for policy formation, investment decisions, and regulation.  The EAR Program focuses on longer term, higher risk research areas—with a higher payoff potential—in diverse areas of highway transportation, ranging from advanced transportation modeling to nano-materials. Today, rapid advances in transportation technology are already showing promise in areas previously considered the realm of science fiction, such as automated vehicles. This report summarizes an initial stage investigation into current research and development (R&D) of alternative modal concepts, with the project team identifying key challenges and opportunities for modal innovation. . The multimodal project included participants from the Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, and OST-R. The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center conducted this project on behalf of the EAR Program. For more information, see the report: Novel Surface Transportation Modes, or contact David Kuehn (202) 493-3414.

BTS Announces 2016 Webinar Schedule. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has announced the schedule for Behind the Numbers: Exploring Transportation Statistics, a new series of quarterly webinar sessions providing insight into transportation statistics and information. The webinars will take place on the following dates: Transportation’s role in the U.S. economy: February 23, 1.30 p.m. EST; Border crossing and Transborder freight between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico: April 26; National Census of Ferry Operators: July 26. To register for the free webinar and for additional information about participating, see the BTS webinar page. Contact Dave Smallen: 202-366-5568.

FAST Act to fund up to $377.5 million over the next five years for University Transportation Centers Federal Grant Program – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology today announced that a maximum of $377.5 million in funding will be available to eligible nonprofit institutions of higher education to operate University Transportation Centers (UTCs), through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). The Federal Register Notice, published 2/2/2016, serves as advance notice to eligible nonprofit institutions of higher education that they will have an opportunity to submit grant applications for the UTC program. This year, for the first time, two-year institutions of higher education are eligible to partner in UTC consortia.

UTCs will be selected by the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration and other modal administrators as appropriate.  Awards will be made no later than December 4, 2016, with Federal FY16 funds (up to $72.5 million) awarded at that time.  Subsequent Federal FY17 – FY20 funding will be awarded annually after that date, subject to availability of funds and grantee compliance with grant terms and conditions. The UTC program supports applied and academic research on national transportation priorities (including safety) at 35 competitively-selected colleges and university grantees across the United States, currently encompassing over 100 institutions of higher education. Find out more about the UTC program here. Contact: Nancy Wilochka (202) 366-5128.