CSULB/USC METRANS Center Receives $3 Million Grant from U.S. Department of Transportation
Matching Funds from Caltrans Make It $6 Million
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a three-year, $3 million grant to the METRANS Transportation Center, a joint venture of California State University, Long Beach and the University of Southern California, under the University Transportation Centers program.
The grant requires a 100 percent match, which is being provided by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), bringing the total funding to $6 million for the three-year period. The grant will continue to support for research, education and outreach aimed at solving metropolitan transportation problems.
METRANS is a University Transportation Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It was established in 1998 through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century and is a joint partnership of the CSULB and USC.
"Getting this grant was essential for us," said Marianne Venieris, executive director the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) and deputy director of METRANS. "It helps us to continue with our research, as well as our successful outreach activities such as the annual CITT State of the Trade and Transportation Industry Town Hall meetings, the National Urban Freight Conference and various goods movement related workshops and seminars."
METRANS was one of 36 institutions vying for 10 Tier 1 University Transportation Center grants. Although METRANS was established with a federal grant in 1998, previous DOT funding was not a factor in the department's decision.
"The College of Engineering is thrilled with the $6 million in newly acquired funding for METRANS," said METRANS Executive Committee member and CSULB College of Engineering Dean Mike Mahoney. "To date, METRANS has had a tremendous impact on our college by providing research support for 16 of our faculty members, many of them in the junior ranks. These faculty members hire students and sometimes other faculty members to help with their METRANS-funded research, so a large number of people in our college have been positively affected by METRANS, and many more will be in future.
"Moreover," Mahoney added, "our equal partnership with USC on the METRANS center has increased our reputation and fits our vision as a college that persons outstanding applied research."
Like Mahoney, Professor Joe Magaddino, chair of the CSULB Economics Department, sees the great impact of the grant.
"METRANS had a very direct impact on the Economics Department at this university," said Magaddino. "We have hired two transportation economists. Most econ departments don't have one transportation economist, let alone two. Our strategy for faculty hiring has been to develop expertise in areas that best serve our region - goods movement and environmental and natural resource economics. With faculty expertise the ability to develop academic programs to meet the needs of regional employers is facilitated. This certainly was the case for our M.A. in Global Logistics program. As we are able to attract and retain high quality faculty, we will be positioned to improve our academic offerings and, in turn, enhance the reputation of the university."
The center's interdisciplinary research, education and outreach activities have grown rapidly since METRANS was launched eight years ago, according to Genevieve Giuliano, USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development professor and director of METRANS.
"Between USC and Cal State Long Beach, the number of faculty members involved in METRANS research has grown from nine in 1998 to 60 in 2006 and nearly $5 million in research grants has been awarded," said Giuliano. "In 1998, USC awarded just one Ph.D. with a specialization in transportation; last year, 14 students earned Ph.D.s with a transportation specialization. These graduates have been placed in faculty and research positions in the U.S. and abroad."
A METRANS executive committee comprising USC and CSULB faculty members sets policy and guides the research program. CSULB members include Magaddino, Mahoney, Venieris and Anastasios Chassiakos, electrical engineering professor. USC members include Giuliano; James Moore, chair of the USC Viterbi Schoolof Engineering; Petros Ioannou, electrical engineering-systems professor and director of the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology; and Maged Dessouky, industrial and systems engineering professor. The METRANS Advisory Board, comprising public agency and industry leaders, provides overall guidance and advice.
For more information on METRANS, visit www.metrans.org.
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