UNC Charlotte gets $7.7 million federal grant to lead transportation research

UNC Charlotte has been awarded a $7.7 million grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation to lead a study aimed at finding innovative ways to improve the nation’s transportation systems.

The work will encompass all types of travel – called multimodal transportation – including airports, seaports, rails, transit systems, bicycle and pedestrian trails and walkways.

UNC Charlotte’s Center for Advanced Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education will work alongside Texas Southern University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Texas at Austin and Washington State University.

Their mission will be to develop innovations that relieve congestion and improve transportation efficiency.

The federal funding is for five years and investigators will collaborate with the Charlotte Area Transit System nd the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Wei Fan, associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UNC Charlotte, is the principal investigator for the center.

“We will use our research expertise to solve real-world problems for CATS and NCDOT,” said Fan in a statement released by UNC Charlotte. “Multimodal transportation is important in attracting people to urban areas, creating communities that are resilient, and robust and improving the overall quality of life.”

UNC Charlotte’s grant is one of 32 awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop research centers related to transportation.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, former Charlotte mayor, said the research will help a nation facing unprecedented challenges from population growth, climate change and increasing freight volumes.

“Universities are at the forefront of identifying solutions, researching critical emerging issues and ensuring improved access to opportunity for all Americans,” Foxx said in a statement.