DOT Turns to USF to Launch the National Institute for Congestion Reduction

The University of South Florida (USF) is getting support from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to launch a new University Transportation Center (UTC).

USF beat out more than 50 applicants across the nation for $7.5 million in federal funds which will be used for “advancing research and education programs that address the nation’s critical transportation challenges.”

USF showcased its plans for the new program on Thursday.

“Focused on traffic congestion relief, the USF program will be known as the National Institute for Congestion Reduction (NICR). It will be established within the USF College of Engineering’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR),” USF noted.

“As a preeminent research university located in the heart of the metropolitan Tampa Bay area, the University of South Florida has always been focused on the unique issues and challenges facing modern American cities,” said USF President Judy Genshaft. “This designation is an affirmation of our leadership in this kind of meaningful applied research and, along with our partners, will allow us to make an even bigger impact.”

“These investments in transportation research will help address our country’s congestion and durability challenges,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

“FDOT is pleased to continue to work with USF along with all other Florida universities, aiming to improve safety, reduce congestion and expand the use of technology and partnerships. We hope that the impacts of these coordinated activities will be felt by the transportation industry, agencies and practitioners long after the lifecycle of this grant is completed,” said Florida Secretary of Transportation Kevin Thibault.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Florida Department of Transportation and other transportation agency and industry partners. I am particularly pleased that the new UTC includes faculty from across the College of Engineering and also from other disciplines including business, public health and urban planning,” USF College of Engineering Dean Robert Bishop said on Thursday.

The news also garnered praise on Capitol Hill.

“This is great news for the University of South Florida! Infrastructure is the foundation of this nation. I applaud the work USF is doing to address critical transportation challenges,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. said. “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am proud to have helped USF secure this $7.5 million grant to establish a national university transportation center aimed at advancing research and education programs that address the nation’s critical transportation challenges.”

“The Tampa Bay area is home to some of the brightest and most creative minds, with the University of South Florida standing as a shining example,” said U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla. “I am thrilled that the Department of Transportation selected USF for this prestigious grant. I look forward to visiting the transportation center and learning about innovative ways to address our region’s transportation and traffic challenges. Let’s fix it! Go Bulls!”

“Investing in our infrastructure creates jobs and can help us tackle the climate crisis through smart solutions, such as greener grid infrastructure, expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.

USF will work with the University of California, Berkeley, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez on the new program.


Kevin Derby can be reached at

Kevin Derby
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