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March 05, 2023 | Shannon Smith

UTK to lead multi-institutional University Transportation Center

UTK will also be a partner institution in two other University Transportation Centers focused on rural communities and pedestrian and bicycle safety.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, (UTK) and five other U.S. universities are joining to form the new University Transportation Center, with UTK taking the lead. The goal of this center is to improve the mobility of people and goods across the country.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is funding $2 million a year for five years for a total of $10 million for the Center for Freight Transportation for Efficient and Resilient Supply Chain through its University Transportation Centers Program.

UTK will partner with Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois Chicago, Oregon State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and California State University, Long Beach.

The new center will be housed in UTK’s Center for Transportation Research and will address the challenges in freight transportation system design, planning, operations, innovations in national and global supply chains through research, education, workforce development, and technology transfer activities.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with other institutions to effect change for this critical sector,” said Mingzhou Jin, John D. Tickle Professor in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering, who will lead the center. “Together we will develop innovative technologies and solutions that maximize the capacity of existing roadway infrastructure, ensure the just-in-time delivery of goods that support America’s retail and manufacturing economy, and by doing so enhance supply chain resiliency.”

More than 231,000 Tennesseans are employed in the transportation, logistics, and distribution industry at more than 13,800 establishments, including FedEx and Amazon’s Operations Center. Additionally, annual freight volume in the U.S. is expected to increase by 50% to almost 29 billion tons by 2050.

UTK will also be a partner institution in two other University Transportation Centers announced this week: the Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, led by the University of New Mexico, and the University Transportation Center for Regional and Rural Connected Communities, led by North Carolina A&T State.

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