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University Transportation Center (UTC) Program

 

The UTC Program was created in 1987 under the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, which established transportation centers in 10 regions. The UTC Program was reauthorized three more times expanding the number and funding level of UTCs. The UTC Program was reauthorized through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). SAFETEA-LU significantly expanded the number of centers from 33 to 60.

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), enacted on July 6, 2012, reauthorized the UTC program and provided funding of up to $72.5 million per year to establish and operate up to 35 University Transportation Centers throughout the United States. Under MAP-21, all of these UTC grants were competitively selected during 2013.

The grants provided by the UTC program are to operate National, Regional and Tier 1 University Transportation Centers. The purpose of these Centers is to advance U.S. technology and expertise in the many modes and disciplines comprising transportation through the mechanisms of research, education, and technology transfer; to provide a critical transportation knowledge base outside the US DOT; and to address vital workforce needs for the next generation of transportation leaders.

A UTC must be located in the United States or territories. It may be a single university or a consortium of two or more universities. Each Center is required to obtain matching funds from non-federal sources. National and Regional UTCs must obtain matching funds in an amount at least equal to the US DOT grant amount. The match for Tier 1 UTCs is 50 percent of the amount of the UTC grant.

UTCs are a vital source for students that provide educational and research opportunities, training, skill enhancement, workshops, seminars, conferences, summer employment and internship opportunities, and awareness in transportation careers.

The UTC Program is managed by the Department of Transportation's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (previously the Research and Innovative Technology Administration - RITA). To learn more about the UTC program, go to http://www.rita.dot.gov/utc/ (although RITA is soon to be under OST – they will likely be changing the webpage soon)