The University Record, October 5, 1992

$1 million grant to fund truck, transit research, educational programs

By Terry Gallagher
News and Information Services

The University has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for truck and transit research and educational programs.

Gov. John Engler and President James J. Duderstadt formally acknowledged receipt of the grant in a ceremony at the U-M Transportation Research Institute on Sept. 28.

“This grant is both an indication of the importance of the highway transportation system to our national economy, and a vote of confidence in the value of the research conducted here,” Duderstadt said. “We are pleased that the U-M, in collaboration with other great universities in this region, will be able to continue to examine major issues in the transportation industry and to help train and educate new professionals for the field.

“We also acknowledge the fine efforts of the Michigan congressional delegation, especially of Rep. Bob Carr, senior member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, for this important program.”

The grant, from DOT’s Research and Special Programs Administration, will provide continuing support for the Great Lakes Center for Truck and Transit Research. The Center, directed by research scientist Thomas D. Gillespie, focuses on making commercial highway traffic safer and more productive.

In addition to the U-M, five other universities are involved in the Center: Central State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Northwestern University and Wayne State University.

The $1 million grant is designated for the first year of a three-year program. The federal funds will be matched by contributions from state agencies, participating universities and private industry.

Some of the issues studied by the Center include the damaging effects of heavy trucks and buses on roads and bridges, the application of intelligent vehicle-highway systems to trucks and buses, and problems of accommodating persons with disabilities on public transportation.

“As the national home of the highway vehicle industry, the Great Lakes region is the natural site for a center to perform research and educate professionals for the transportation industry,” Gillespie said. “Through the U-M Transportation Research Institute, we are well-positioned to address the important problems facing the national transportation system, including congestion, safety and productivity.”

Michigan is one of 13 institutions to receive funding under DOT’s University Transportation Centers program.

Douglas Ham, acting administrator of DOT’s Research and Special Programs Administration, represented the federal agency at the ceremony. “Applying the principles of science and engineering to the goals of improving the safety and efficiency of the nation’s commercial highway transportation system will enable us to achieve higher productivity and an improved economy for the nation,” Ham said.