El Paso, Tx (UTEP) — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has designated The University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CTIS) a member of both a national and regional University Transportation Center (UTC).
As part of the recognition, UTEP becomes the only institution in the country deemed both a national and regional UTC and joins two consortiums that will receive $5 million each over the next two years.
“Being invited to join these two consortiums shows how hard our civil engineering faculty and students work,” said Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D., professor of civil engineering and CTIS director representing UTEP in the consortiums.
As a member of the national consortium the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), which includes Rutgers University, Columbia University and Princeton University, researchers will tackle national needs to improve the condition of transportation infrastructure. The Southern Plains Transportation Center (SPTC) consortium will focus on addressing transportation infrastructure issues that will improve the quality of life for residents of the states of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.
“We are looking forward to leveraging these funds by teaming up with our local entities such as the City of El Paso, MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) and TxDOT to address some of the transportation infrastructure issues of our region,” Nazarian said.
Civil engineering faculty and students will conduct studies promoting the safe, efficient and environmentally sound movement of goods and people. Potential areas of research include when and how to assess the condition of bridges and roads and repair deficiencies, and the impact of extreme weather — such as flooding, drought and freeze — on transportation infrastructure to improve resiliency.
Nazarian said, “Being the only institution in the U.S. that has been designated both as a regional and national center will bring a level of excellence in transportation research that can help UTEP achieve its goal of becoming a Tier One research institution while educating the next generation of leaders in transportation infrastructure.”