The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced its selection of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, led by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, to receive a five-year grant totaling approximately $14 million ($2.8 million in the initial year) to advance a more sustainable transportation system.
The NCST is one of only five national transportation centers awarded under the University Transportation Centers program reauthorized by the federal Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act. It is the only national transportation center focused on environmental preservation and the only one in California.
The award solidifies UC Davis’ prominence as the nation’s leading university on sustainable transportation, where researchers develop scientific solutions for today’s most daunting transportation problems.
Other members of the NCST consortium include University of California-Riverside, University of Southern California, California State University-Long Beach, Georgia Institute of Technology, and University of Vermont.
“I applaud the U.S. Department of Transportation for its investment in reducing the effects of the transportation system on our natural resources, including energy, climate, air, water, and land,” said UC Davis Professor Susan Handy, director of the NCST. “Despite considerable progress, transportation’s impacts remain substantial and fall disproportionately on society’s most vulnerable. Our challenge is to reduce impacts while meeting the mobility needs of our nation, fostering healthy communities and supporting economic growth.”
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who represents the UC Davis community, supported the effort.
“Transportation comprises over a quarter of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions,” Garamendi said. “Climate change is real, and sustainability must be a major consideration in how we rebuild our infrastructure. I’m thrilled that the National Center for Sustainable Transportation can continue its work in this area. I was glad to do my part to support their important mission. In Washington today, five years of dedicated funding is a precious commodity.”
Since its founding in 2012, the NCST has mobilized innovative and accomplished research teams, published studies and policy briefs on an array of 21st century transportation issues, and partnered with influential leaders and stakeholder groups to provide national leadership for advancing an environmentally sustainable transportation system.
With this new grant, the NCST plans to build upon early successes, strengthen existing programs, and add important new initiatives, including research in the critical areas of sustainable freight, new mobility and environmental review.
“We are proud and pleased to gain recognition as the premier university center on sustainable transportation,” said UC Davis Professor Dan Sperling, director of ITS-Davis. “We look forward to intensifying our efforts at addressing the growing environmental challenges facing the transportation sector.”
The approach of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation is to:
- Mobilize a network of leading universities to generate new knowledge and tools that address environmental sustainability in transportation;
- Design and evaluate real-world strategies that contribute to the mitigation of the environmental impacts of transportation and enhance system resiliency; and
- Deliver knowledge and tools through an innovative engagement program with the U.S. DOT, state DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and other public- and private-sector stakeholders to support implementation of these real-world strategies.
The NCST also draws on its research in providing education and workforce development programs designed to meet the world’s growing needs for qualified transportation professionals.