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NCTR is located at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida. CUTR is recognized as one of the country's Best Workplaces for CommutersSM      

NCTR Strategic Plan

Section I

Program Overview

Section 5505(b) of TEA 21 provides for the funding of university transportation research. It authorizes the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to make grants to nonprofit institutions of higher learning to establish and operate University Transportation Centers to address transportation management, research, and development matters, with special attention to increasing the number of highly skilled individuals entering the field of transportation. Each university receiving a grant under this provision of TEA 21 must conduct the following program activities:

  1. basic and applied research, the products of which are judged by peers or other experts in the field to advance the body of knowledge in transportation;
  2. an education program that includes multidisciplinary course work and participation in research; and
  3. an ongoing program of technology transfer that makes research results available to potential users in a form that can be implemented, utilized, or otherwise applied.

The University of South Florida (USF) was designated in TEA 21 as one of nine University Transportation Centers (UTCs) in "Group C" to receive $750,000 a year for four years (FY 1998 through FY 2001). USF must compete with the 17 UTCs in "Groups B and C" to be eligible to be one of 10 UTCs that will receive funding at a level of $1 million a year in FY 2002 and FY 2003. USF will conduct its transportation research through the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR).

I. A Glossary

AASHTO American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials
ACT Association for Commuter Transportation
AI Artificial Intelligence
APTA American Public Transit Association
APTS Advanced Public Transportation Systems
AVI Automatic Vehicle Identification
AVL Automatic Vehicle Location
CAA  Clean Air Act
CER Community of European Railways
CML Consortium Member Leader
Consortium FAMU, FIU, FSU, USF
CTPP  Census Transportation Planning Package

Center for Urban Transportation Research

DOT United States Department of Transportation
DSS DSS Decision Support Systems
ETTM  Electronic Toll and Traffic Management
FAMU  Florida A & M University
FDOT  Florida Department of Transportation
FIU Florida International University
FPL Florida Planning Laboratory
FSU Florida State University
FTA  Federal Transit Administration
GIS  Geographic Information System
HOV  High Occupancy Vehicle
HSGT  High Speed Ground Transportation
HSR  High Speed Rail
Institute National Urban Transit Institute
ISTEA Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act
ITAC International Telework Association & Council
ITE Institute of Transportation Engineers
ITS Intelligent Transportation Systems

Joint Project Leader

JTW  Journey-to-Work
LUMS  Land Use Management Survey
MIS  Management Information Systems
MPO  Metropolitan Planning Organization
NPTS Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey
NTIS  National Technical Information Service
NCTR National Center for Transit Research
NUTI  National Urban Transit Institute
PI  Principal Investigator
PUMS  Public Use Micro Sample
RSPA Research and Special Programs Administration
TCRP Transit Cooperative Research Program
TDM  Transportation Demand Management
TEA- Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
TMA  Transportation Management Association
TMI  The Marketing Institute
TPMC  Transportation Promotional Materials Clearinghouse
TRB Transportation Research Board
URIP  University Research Institutes Program
USDOT  United States Department of Transportation
USF University of South Florida
UTC  University Transportation Centers
VMT  Vehicle Miles Traveled

I. B Center Theme

The theme of NCTR is to enhance the performance and relevance of public transportation and alternative forms of transportation in urban areas. NCTR will focus on these modes to help promote USDOT’s strategic goals of safety, mobility, economic growth, and community sustainability. Virtually all of the projects undertaken at NCTR will be dedicated to improving operating agencies’ (e.g., transit authorities, commuter assistance programs, transportation management associations, etc.) abilities to provide their services in a manner that is more efficient, productive, and attractive to the traveling public and in a manner that adds value to the communities they serve.

I. C NCTR Director’s Summary

It is the vision of the director that NCTR will be the preeminent university-based transit and alternative-transportation research institute in the nation by the year 2001. It will be the university of choice for those students wishing to gain comprehensive knowledge of operational and policy issues faced by transit and alternative transportation managers. It is our goal to be recognized and appreciated as the first institution contacted by transit mobility managers when seeking ways to enhance their agency’s performance on behalf of the traveling public.

The principal focus will be on public transportation. Public transportation, broadly defined as alternatives to the single occupant vehicle, includes modes such as carpool and vanpool, paratransit, bus, and guideway transit technologies. In addition, the research activities will focus on the interface of public transit with other modes such as auto, walk, bike, and intercity modes as well as the integration of public transit considerations in general transportation and land use planning tools and procedures. ISTEA and TEA-21 each reinforced the growing awareness of the importance of multimodal thinking and increasing investment in public transportation. Public transportation remains an area of critical national interest as evidenced by funding commitments and its obvious tie to national and local goals regarding the environment, mobility for the population, safety, economic competitiveness and opportunity, congestion relief, and quality of life. In choosing to focus on public transit, NCTR will leverage the experience and staff expertise of the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, and focus on a topical area that is acknowledged as a critical component in our transportation system.

NCTR’s theme melds the respective missions of CUTR with the goals of the UTC program and the USDOT, the mobility needs of the public, and the research and training needs of the public transportation industry. The near-term mechanisms to facilitate this are various studies of specific problems and issues of relevance to the industry coupled with providing knowledge to the professionals and policy makers in the form of resource materials and training opportunities. The longer-term contributions will be realized through developing new knowledge and talent based on these studies to ensure that current and future professionals and decision-makers have adequate skills and knowledge via technology transfer and educational programs.

Being housed at CUTR, NCTR will have the enormous advantage of being a part of a relatively large and extremely active research institute. The faculty and students at the Center will represent the largest concentration of transit researchers in a single university in the country. This concentration of talent and research will provide opportunities for education and professional capacity building within the Center. The Center will take steps to ensure that all faculty and students will be aware, and share the results of, the research being conducted. Structuring this internal sharing of information will serve as a prelude to the more extensive technology transfer activities that will ensure that research results will be available to potential users in a form that can be implemented, utilized, or otherwise applied. continue


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