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UMass Transportation Center Receives $6-Million ISA To Support Research, Outreach, and Training

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The UMass Transportation Center (UMTC) has received an Interdepartmental Service Agreement (ISA) of $6,141,551 from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to operate the Commonwealth’s Local Technical Assistance Program, the Transportation Training Institute, and the Cooperative Research Program as one cooperative unit.

According to UMTC Director Michael Knodler, “The most important aspect of the new ISA is that for the first time research and outreach efforts will be combined to foster innovation and speed implementation.”

Associate Director Chris Ahmadjian adds that “The Center has revamped both its physical office space and its organizational structure to make this new initiative a reality.”

The duration of this ISA is from February 18, 2016, until September 30, 2018. Collectively, the UMTC will provide multiple mechanisms to accomplish the following:

  • Provide research services for emerging topics in an appropriate and time sensitive fashion.
  • Support the needs of MassDOT by making the resources of the UMass system including the services and expertise of faculty, managers, coordinators, and students, as well as the physical facilities, including laboratories and field installations, easily accessible to MassDOT for transportation research.
  • Undertake research work tasks and special projects designated by MassDOT and to provide support and oversight for those activities.
  • Derive new knowledge, applications, and solutions to particular problems in all areas related to transportation, which may include processes identified by MassDOT, and to oversee, as directed, the implementation of those solutions.
  • Provide a liaison between MassDOT and the UMass system, through identification of principal investigators, support of proposal development, budget estimation, editing, and publishing final reports and project information sheets.
  • Provide training that will benefit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts transportation infrastructure and industry.
  • Assist in communicating MassDOT’s policies, innovations, and procedures throughout the Commonwealth. These mechanisms will be accomplished and verified through measurements and reporting.

The Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) was established in 1981, while Baystate Roads (Massachusetts LTAP) began in 1986. It is a cooperative effort of the Federal Highway Administration, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the University of Massachusetts. The purpose of Baystate Roads is to improve access to highway, road, and street technology for local agencies. Local agency capabilities and needs differ, and it is this recognition and accommodation of this fact that has been primarily responsible for the program’s success. Baystate Roads provides a wide variety of free publications, videos, technical support, and computer information, as well as referral assistance. Training workshops can be requested to cover community-specific concerns, while a variety of prescheduled workshops are also held throughout Massachusetts. Baystate Roads publishes a quarterly newsletter, M3 Quarterly, which focuses on advancing municipal transportation mobility, methods, and modes across the Commonwealth. Additional information on Baystate Roads can be found at www.mass.gov/baystateroads.

In 2015, the UMTC Transportation Training Institute (UMTC-TTI) was the newest program to join the UMass Transportation Center. While welcoming all participants, this training branch focuses on the knowledge development needs of engineering consultants. The UMTC-TTI develops a variety of training classes and delivery approaches to grow the careers and businesses of this sector. Topics address new technologies, personnel development, and personal business skills. UMTC-TTI also allows participants to earn professional development, continuing education units, and specialized certificates. Presentations incorporate new technology to accommodate the busy work schedule of this audience; offering a live Internet streaming option for those unable to travel to its UMass Center Springfield site. Additional information on UMTC-TTI events can be found on its website www.UMTC-TTI.com.

The Cooperative Research Program supports the Massachusetts Transportation Research Program and facilitates the use of resources from the multiple campus system of UMass and other state colleges for transportation research, technology transfer, and technology implementation. These resources include the service and expertise of faculty, staff, managers, coordinators, and students, as well as the physical facilities, including laboratories and real world field installations. Click here for more information on the Cooperative Research Program: MCRP Home - umass.edu. (March 2016)