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$4M Grant Funds Research into Traffic Operations, Highway and Vehicle Safety

December 19, 2016

The University of Idaho’s National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) was awarded $4 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct collaborative research over the next five years as a member of two University Transportation Center consortiums.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced $300 million in grants to 32 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation. Each UTC is a consortium of colleges and universities that come together to form a unique center of transportation excellence on a specific research topic.

Located in UI’s College of Engineering, NIATT is a returning member of the Regional UTC: Pacific Northwest Transportation — also known as PacTrans — which is focused on improving mobility of people and goods. PacTrans is led by the University of Washington and includes researchers from Oregon State University, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Washington State University, Boise State University and Gonzaga University.

As a member of PacTrans, UI transportation researchers will receive about $450,000 per year over the next five years to continue research on traffic operations and control, advancement of non-motorized traffic modes, highway and vehicle safety, connected vehicle technology and applications, and transportation network modeling and optimization.

“Multidisciplinary research teams from NIATT have been working in collaboration with PacTrans universities on research, education and outreach activities to address the region’s transportation challenges,” said Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, director of NIATT. “This new five-year extended UTC funding will enable UI researchers to further advance their research expertise and contributions in these areas.”

In addition, NIATT joins the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and University of Washington as a member of the newly established Center for Safety Equity in Transportation (CSET).

“NIATT researchers have extensive experience in different areas of transportation safety, such as two-lane highway operations, geometric design of rural highways, human factors as they relate to traffic safety, safety education for high-risk groups, and safety of non-motorized vehicles,” said Abdel-Rahim. “Our work will significantly contribute to improving transportation safety for rural, isolated, tribal and indigenous communities.”

As a CSET partner, University of Idaho teams will receive $350,000 per year over the next five years to conduct research, education and outreach activities focused on understanding the behavior of roadway users in rural, isolated, tribal and indigenous communities, as well as understanding the safety needs and causes of traffic crashes in those areas and developing technology solutions.

“NIATT researchers will continue building on the robust base of expertise developed through UI’s 25 years of participation in the University Transportation Center program,” said Janet E. Nelson, UI’s vice president for research and economic development. “NIATT-developed technologies and techniques provide direct benefit to people across the West and beyond who rely on safe, innovative transportation systems.”

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at