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   from the issue of August 24, 2006

Transportation Center lands $6.25M grant


UNL has been awarded a $6.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration. The grant designates UNL's Mid-America Transportation Center as the Region 7 University Transportation Center.

"For five years we have had a vision of winning this regional university transportation center and now our day has come," said Prem Paul, vice chancellor for Research. "This is an important grant because this center will put us in the driver's seat as the leader in transportation research and education in this region, and it will put our faculty, our university and our state at the table where national transportation priorities are set."

MATC is a consortium with UNL as the lead institution and regional partners Kansas State University, University of Kansas, University of Missouri-Rolla, and Lincoln University.

The Nebraska Department of Roads and the Kansas and Missouri departments of transportation are key partners in the center.

"MATC's work will focus on improving safety and minimizing the risk associated with the increasing movement of freight on the nation's roadways, railways and waterways," said Laurence Rilett, the Keith W. Klaasmeyer Chair in Engineering and director of the UNL MATC. "We are excited about being selected as the regional UTC because the grant funding will provide numerous opportunities to MATC faculty and students for research, education and technology transfer initiatives that will be important to Nebraska, the region and the nation."

Safety research will be a main focus for MATC, with an emphasis on rural transportation, Rilett said. Key safety research areas include traffic control, animal crashes, safer at-grade railway crossings and work zones and the development of more effective and economical roadside crash barriers.

MATC is one of 10 regional university transportation centers in the nation.

Other universities designated as regional UTCs in the competition included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University, Texas A&M University, the University of California, and Pennsylvania State University.



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