BATON ROUGE – A consortium of universities led by LSU has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a regional transportation research center. The Transportation Consortium of South-Central States, or Tran-SET, will focus on improving transportation infrastructure through the use of innovative materials and technology. It aims to support all phases of research, technology transfer, workforce development and outreach activities of emerging technologies that can solve transportation challenges in the region.
LSU Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management Professor Marwa Hassan leads the project. Tran-SET is one of 32 recipients to be awarded a five-year grant from the Transportation Department’s University Transportation Centers, or UTCs, program. Tran-SET will receive $2,470,600 for the current fiscal year.
“LSU is proud to lend our expertise in transportation and innovation to help solve our state’s transportation issues. With our regional partner institutions and federal support, we can meet the transportation needs of the South,” said LSU President F. King Alexander.
In 2015, Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves helped lay the groundwork for Tran-SET as Congress negotiated the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, a federal highway funding bill that was signed into law. Graves championed language in the FAST Act that provides funding for research and testing of new applications of technology to improve the efficiency of transportation systems.
“Technology has made things that were impossible 20 years ago commonplace – just think about your smart phone,” said Graves. “We need to leverage those capabilities to make our transportation systems smarter, our commutes faster and the flow of traffic smoother.”
The Tran-SET’s research team would like to acknowledge the unprecedented support that was received from the region’s construction and transportation industry, state DOTs as well as state and private organizations, including the Port Authorities of Louisiana, Louisiana Transportation Research Center, American General Contractors, Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana Workforce Commission, and Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
Limited funding and the downsizing of transportation agencies due to challenging economic conditions has created a backlog of transportation projects. Trans-SET will apply cutting edge materials, innovations and construction methodologies to various components of the transportation infrastructure including roads, ports, rails and bridges. The center will address economic limitations by only considering research topics that carry out a viable plan to move the technology from research to implementation. In partnership with major state authorities in the region and the private sector, the center will become a transportation focal point in the region. It also will become actively involved with other regional and national UTCs to adopt and implement the most beneficial research findings.
The consortium includes Arkansas State University, Baton Rouge Community College, Navajo Technical University, New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University, Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M University, University of New Mexico, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas at San Antonio.
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Contact Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations