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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      
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

Section II

Program Activities

II. A Education

Education Goal: a multidisciplinary program of course work and experiential learning that reinforces the transportation theme of the Center.

1. Baseline Measures

Baseline measures are provided in Appendix B.

2. Education Program Outcomes

NCTR will direct participation in the education programs of the university via teaching courses, sponsoring student seminars, and recruiting and supporting students. At a minimum, USF will offer a Graduate Interdisciplinary Transportation Program that includes six core courses in civil engineering, public administration, and economics. This program will broaden the focus of entry-level transportation professionals who must be prepared for a variety of public policy issues as they deal in an increasingly flexible and multimodal transportation environment. It is anticipated that a Master’s degree in Transportation might be offered by the year 2001. Students earning this degree will enroll in courses offered through various departments including Civil Engineering, Public Administration, Economics, and possibly Geography and Anthropology.

3. Planned Activities

Historically, CUTR’s development has differed from that of many transportation research centers. Typically, research centers are outgrowths or initiatives of teaching faculty who are looking to collaborate on transportation research and find value in establishing a center. These centers have a strong focus on the teaching mission of the university, and the faculty are usually intimately involved in teaching. CUTR’s evolution differed in that it was created by the State legislature to ensure that Florida had a research and policy advisory capacity to provide assistance as it faced transportation and land use issues. Thus, the original focus of CUTR was on policy guidance and multidisciplinary research.

Over the past 11 years, CUTR has become increasingly involved in the educational mission of the University of South Florida. While it has retained the client focus and "real world" problem solving mission, it has increasingly embraced the educational mission, both as a natural complement to its mission and as a result of the logical opportunity to contribute in the area of education. Involvement has grown from adjunct teaching and collaborative research to being a substantial employer of graduate research assistants and providing advisory faculty for student chapters of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, ITS America, and the Society of Automotive Engineers to more recent commitments to provide teaching and explore transportation education opportunities and needs in the context of possible degree program additions at USF.

The sections below outline the initiatives that are elements of CUTR’s educational program in which NCTR will be involved or have significant responsibility. Following the discussions, Table 1 presents a tabular summary of the role of NCTR in pursuing these initiatives.

The Graduate Interdisciplinary Transportation Program

As noted above, the Graduate Interdisciplinary Transportation Program (GITP) is offered and administered by CUTR. Eighteen semester hours of core courses are offered in this certificate program to provide a firm grounding in transportation and to meet degree requirements within the respective departments. Participants are exposed to a multidisciplinary perspective on transportation and develop a rich perspective and appreciation for the nature of transportation policy. The program is evaluated on an ongoing basis, with initiatives targeted toward modifying content, increasing marketing, and involving additional departments. NCTR projects will provide employment opportunities for interdisciplinary program students, and the NCTR student funding initiative (described in Section II, Human Resources) will include GITP students. This interdisciplinary program provides an opportunity to involve and support non-engineering students pursuing transportation emphasis in their educational program. Public transportation is an integral part of the course material and an appropriate area to which students should be exposed. Public administrators for example, while perhaps not pursuing a career within the public transit industry, will inevitably have opportunities to be involved in public transportation policy issues in their career.

Exploration of the Feasibility of a Transportation Degree

The human resource needs of the transportation profession are increasingly recognized as requiring more than just traditional engineering programs. The industry needs to attract a diversity of skills to transportation to function effectively in our complex economic and political environment. One means of meeting this need is to develop alternative strategies for providing transportation course content to a broader group of potential future transportation professionals. The Board of Regents of the State University System of Florida has authorized the exploration of a graduate-level transportation degree program based at CUTR. The exploration will include a review of what programs are being offered around the country and how they are being received, as well as an assessment of the needs of the industry and the interests and perceptions of potential students. This exploration is a positive first step; however, the ultimate decision will be dependent on a variety of considerations including the available resources and the market for such a degree. A small amount of NCTR funds has been budgeted to help in the evaluation of the industry and student interest in such a program. This will complement other university resources. After that initial step, a report to USF will determine subsequent actions. Options may include a College of Business transportation degree, a restructuring of a more aggressive certificate program, or a new transportation degree.

University-Funded Instruction by CUTR Faculty

USF provides direct financial support to CUTR to enable the research-based faculty to teach transportation courses. This new source of funding enables CUTR to fund faculty involvement in teaching beyond the previous adjunct activity. Courses that will be taught include Public Transportation, Transportation and Land Use, and Access Management. Courses under development include a second graduate level course in public transportation as well as courses in Analytical Methods and Transportation Policy, GIS Applications in Transportation, and Transportation Planning and Economics. It is anticipated that the frequency of these course offerings will be increased, and modularized instruction will be explored that will incorporate more of the specialized expertise of the substantial public transit-focused research faculty. In addition, NCTR proposals directed to enhancing transportation education will be encouraged.

Curriculum Development

USF has offered a graduate-level course in public transportation on an annual or semi-annual basis. A single course does not have adequate time to address myriad contemporary issues or provide design or planning experiences for the students. A second course would offer the opportunity for a more in-depth look at key issues. Such a course would be of interest to professionals who are interested in transit industry employment and would be attractive to mid-career transit professionals. In the third year of the NCTR work program, resources have been programmed for the development of a second public transit course. The initiative will include developing a course outline, gathering and developing reading materials, designing experiential learning exercises, developing materials to facilitate distance-based or web-assisted learning, and packaging materials in notebook or CD form. The course content will be reviewed by practitioners. When completed, the course will be scheduled for an initial delivery. The prospect of using the taped presentation as a self-taught or independent study course will be explored.

Professional Development Activities

Part of a successful education program involves providing students with exposure to a full range of experiences that will help them in their professional careers. One element of this is to foster participation in professional development via forums such as student chapters of professional organizations. CUTR faculty will continue to serve as faculty advisors for several such initiatives, including the student chapters of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), ITS America, and the Society of Automotive Engineers. These complementary forums provide important peer networks, opportunities for enhancing personal interaction skills, forums for learning more about real world transportation issues, and social opportunities that can increase professional satisfaction. NCTR and the resources it brings to CUTR can support the enhancement of these activities by attracting and supporting the faculty and staff required to make these programs work.

Student Participation in Research

NCTR will provide opportunities for students to be involved in the extensive transit research funded by NCTR or through other research being conducted by CUTR. These opportunities are more fully described in the Human Resources section of this Strategic Plan.

Special Initiatives

In planning meetings for NCTR, a variety of other strategies and activities were considered as part of the educational program. While no firm commitments to these activities have been made to date, it is anticipated that a number of them may come to fruition over the next several years. The prospect of each is partially influenced by opportunities that may arise as well as by initiatives that might be made by NCTR. Resources are set aside to partially fund one or more of these initiatives, starting in the second year of NCTR. Examples include:

Transportation Summer Camp: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), a Historically Black College, has regularly provided a summer camp for high school students to expose them to engineering careers. This type of activity targeted to transportation may be an effective way to expose students to transportation careers. NCTR will be exploring the prospect of supporting such a program through one or more of the Florida universities.

Industrial Professorships: One opportunity to enhance the learning experience for students and faculty is to involve outside practitioners in the educational program. There may be opportunities to involve transit and planning industry professionals in an adjunct capacity at the NCTR. This capacity might include guest lecturers, adjunct faculty, thesis or dissertation committee members, or research project participants. In the past, CUTR has been able to take advantage of such opportunities and we will seek more in the future.

Visiting Sabbatic Faculty: Similar to Industrial professors, CUTR/NCTR will explore hosting visiting sabbatic faculty, thus leveraging the research environment of the university to enable someone to conduct collaborative research in a different environment.

Transportation Intern Program: As part of an educational program, it is often desirable to offer internships for students at various high profile employment locations. Examples include placing students in positions with the USDOT, Florida DOT, or selected transit agencies for a summer or semester. Some degree programs require this type of internship as a condition of graduation. While this is not a degree requirement at USF, CUTR has provided interns to various agencies in the past. This type of initiative requires the right set of conditions for the client agency, the student, and the program. The possibility of initiating this type of relationship by placing a student interested in public transportation in an oversight agency or with a transit operator will be investigated.

Recognition Award: NCTR will develop selection criteria to recognize an outstanding student each year. This student will receive a $1,000 award and an expense-paid trip to attend an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., during the annual winter meeting of the TRB.

 

4. Performance Indicators

Data on student activity in the various undergraduate and graduate courses in transportation offered by the College of Engineering are obtained from Dr. Ram Pendyala, who oversees the USF College of Engineering Transportation Program, using information provided by the Advising Office of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Data on student activity in graduate courses offered through the Interdisciplinary Program are obtained from Dr. F. Ron Jones, who oversees the Graduate Interdisciplinary Transportation Program at CUTR, using information provided by the Advising Offices of the USF departments of Public Administration and Economics. Other activities that enhance the development and continuous education of professionals already in the field will be recorded by the NCTR Director.

 

II. B Human Resources

Human Resources Goal: an increased number of students, faculty, and staff who are attracted to and substantively involved in the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs of the Center.

1. Baseline Measures

Baseline measures are provided in Appendix B.

2. Human Resources Program Outcome

It is the intent of NCTR to attract at least four additional faculty members to its current roster of 22 who are engaged in transit-related research at CUTR. These faculty will be involved in new transit research and the mentoring of additional students. They also will be encouraged to participate in a team-teaching approach for two new classes at USF or in other forms of instruction to enhance professional development in public transit. The number of faculty engaging in teaching/instruction will increase from five to as many as 13. The establishment of NCTR also will bring a new emphasis to the need for research faculty to embrace the education principles of the Center by including students in virtually all of the research projects undertaken through NCTR or CUTR. To this end, NCTR will increase the number of students participating in transit research at any one time from 9 to a minimum of 14. The courses to be taught by NCTR-related faculty also will contribute toward the possible establishment of a transportation degree to be offered by the year 2001.

3. Planned Activities

New Research Faculty

CUTR’s most significant contributions to the advancement of the transportation industry are through leveraging its research skills and "real world" experience to develop innovative solutions and provide the knowledge, resources, and trained professionals to enable public transportation to better meet the evolving needs of our citizens. While CUTR’s faculty is strongly inclined toward research over teaching, NCTR will contribute significantly to the development of the next generation of mobility managers in the field of public transit. Indeed, as the theme of the Center notes, it is expected that USF will become the educational institution of choice for those who wish to become public transportation mobility managers.

Funding for NCTR will provide the resources to hire additional faculty with skills and experience that will complement existing CUTR faculty and be useful to public transportation agencies. NCTR will determine the new skills necessary through internal discussion among current faculty and feedback from mobility managers. All faculty (new and current) will be encouraged to use and to mentor students on virtually every project they undertake. The close association and working relationship between faculty researchers and student research assistants helps prepare the students for myriad circumstances they will face as mobility managers in the future. This working experience, coupled with course work in transportation, will provide students with an outstanding ability to help enhance the performance and relevance of public transportation as they enter the transportation industry.

NCTR Transit Research Assistants

CUTR has an established history of student involvement and providing student educational support. Annually, as many as 25 undergraduate and graduate research assistants work on a variety of transportation-related projects, with as many as nine working on public transportation projects throughout the year. This workforce has consisted of predominately graduate students who work with research faculty on one or more of the approximately 80 research projects under way at any given time at CUTR. NUTI project selection explicitly took into account graduate research opportunities, and NCTR will continue the program of extensive student involvement. A new aspect of that involvement will be the advanced commitment of resources for student support to enable the advanced commitment necessary to attract new students to the program. In addition to employment funding, additional funds will be made available for students to attend two transit-related conferences each year.

Graduate Student Research Assistant Appointments

NCTR will emphasize graduate research assistantship involvement on projects. Work scopes will be reviewed for research assistantship opportunities and principal investigators will be strongly encouraged to use research assistants on their projects. The nature of the specific project will impact the opportunity to involve students. Given the number of transit projects carried out annually by CUTR, it is anticipated that the involvement of research assistants, beyond the NCTR Transit Research Assistants mentioned above, will continue and grow by more than 50% of current levels. These assistants will be funded through specific project budgets rather than being itemized in the NCTR budget.

4. Performance Indicators

The College of Engineering, through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Center for Urban Transportation Research, and the Graduate Interdisciplinary Transportation Program, maintains an extensive database on former and current undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in transportation courses at the University of South Florida. The database compiles statistics for courses offered by semester and instructor, programs of study, financial aid, ethnicity and gender, and graduation dates. In addition, the University of South Florida maintains a database which compiles demographic and employment information on any student who has graduated from USF at the graduate and undergraduate level. CUTR compiles statistics for transportation research it conducts, excluding transportation research conducted by Engineering and other departments.

II. C Diversity

Diversity Goal: students, faculty, and staff who reflect the growing diversity of the U.S. workforce and are substantively involved in the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs of the Center.

1. Baseline Measures

Baseline measures are provided in Appendix B.

2. Diversity Program Outcome

In 1998, USF adopted a Vision Statement as part of the development of it Strategic Plan, which reads, in part, as follows:

The University of South Florida is committed to being the university of first choice for those seeking a nationally recognized learning community. We will be the first choice for those seeking a creative and innovative environment, characterized by openness and built on mutual respect and recognition of the strength that results from an inclusive student body, faculty, and staff.

In addition, CUTR includes within its vision, mission, and values the following guiding principle:

We value a diverse staff and provide equal opportunities for employment, professional development, and advancement.

It is envisioned that NCTR will include students, faculty, and staff that will reflect the growing diversity of the U.S. workforce. Such a representation will add to the credibility and attractiveness of the Center among all potential participants and among the public who will utilize the research being conducted at NCTR. These outcomes are consistent with the visions, values, and guiding principles that have been adopted by USF and CUTR.

3. Planned Activities

While USF’s and CUTR’s commitment to diversity is broad and inclusive, there is primary emphasis on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other minorities. CUTR has always strived for diversity among its student assistants and faculty. Of the students employed in 1998-99, 11 were women, two were Black, two were Asian, and one was Hispanic. Of the faculty in 1998-99, fourteen were women, two were Black, three were Hispanic, and one was Asian. Professional activity opportunities, such as funded attendance at seminars, conferences, and professional meetings, and professional development, such as funded continuing education, are encouraged for all students and faculty, and proactive recruitment efforts, such as advertisement in minority professional publications and websites, are conducted to seek minority applicants.

One of the greatest strengths of NUTI has been its ability to involve an extremely diverse group of participants. Projects conducted in cooperation with FAMU, a Historically Black College, and FIU, which graduates the largest number of Hispanic engineers of any U.S. school, help provide a broad base of minority participation in the program. CUTR itself has conducted several projects of special interest to minority groups, including three African-American Mobility symposia and studies on minorities in transit and the changing travel behavior of African-Americans. Research results from NUTI-sponsored projects have been presented by CUTR researchers at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Transportation Brain Trust Meeting.

NCTR will continue to coordinate with minority universities on the development and conduct of research and projects that will involve professionals and students who represent the diversity of the nation’s population. As noted earlier, NCTR will take advantage of FAMU’s access to African-American candidates for transportation careers through activities including transportation summer camps and internship programs with FDOT. The same opportunities for Hispanic students will be explored with FIU. NCTR representatives will meet with undergraduate students at both FAMU and FIU to provide information on NCTR’s activities to further interest them in transportation careers. Including working with CUTR and NCTR. In addition, NCTR will enlist the support of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and the Women’s Transportation Seminar when seeking applicants for faculty positions.

4. Performance Indicators

The Equal Opportunity Affairs Department at USF will assist the College of Engineering and NCTR program managers with monitoring and recording the diversity achievements obtained through transportation degrees.

II. D Research Selection

Research Selection Goal: an objective process for selecting and reviewing research that balances the multiple objectives of the program.

1. Baseline Measures

Baseline measures are indicated in Appendix B.

2. Research Selection Program Outcome

The project solicitation/selection process planned for NCTR builds on experiences with NUTI and incorporates changes to reflect the interests of the U.S. DOT and the Florida Department of Transportation, which is providing the match funding for the Center.

The Research Selection Program will involve an Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from local operating transit agencies, FDOT, USDOT, APTA, TCRP, ACT, ITAC, and NCTR, a broad representation appropriate for a national center. The Advisory Committee will not only help identify the projects of greatest interest to the transit community but will also help ensure objectivity and prevent duplication of other research efforts with which they are familiar. NCTR envisions that this selection program outcome will result in research that is completed relatively quickly while still ensuring objective selection and high-quality research results.

3. Planned Activities

The Project Selection Process

In addition to supporting the attainment of the overall program goals outlined in the following, the project selection process is designed to provide an expedient and efficient means of identifying and selecting projects.

The vast majority of NCTR’s program dollars will be dedicated to research. It is anticipated that the Center will fund and commence between 15 and 20 projects each year, with an average completion time of 12 months from the time of notice to proceed. This rate of productivity will result in relatively quick responses to issues that have been identified as high priority by those very familiar with the research needs of the transit industry.

A project Advisory Committee will be utilized to help identify the projects to be undertaken. The committee will be composed of 13 individuals who are knowledgeable in the area of transit research and public transportation planning and operations. Overall program design and identification of research priorities will be the primary purposes of the Committee. The Committee also will review the basic goals of NCTR and offer guidance as appropriate.

Proposed members of the NCTR Advisory Committee include:

  • Gary L. Brosch, Director, CUTR; Chairman of NCTR
  • Joel Volinski, Deputy Director, CUTR; Director of NCTR
  • Wendell Joyce, Director, ITAC
  • Louis Clopton, designated liaison, Office of Research, Federal Transit Administration
  • Louis Sanders, Director of Research and Technology, APTA
  • Steve Anderle, TCRP Director, Transportation Research Board
  • Executive Director, General Manager, or Deputy Director, large urban area transit agency
  • Executive Director, General Manager, or Deputy Director, small- to medium-size transit agency
  • Eric Schreffler, Director of Research, TDM Institute, ACT
  • Ed Coven, State Transit Office Manager, Florida DOT
  • Ysela Llort, Director of Transportation Planning, Florida DOT
  • Richard C. Long, Director, Office of Research, Florida DOT
  • Designee, Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council

 

Development of the first year’s work program is being initiated concurrently with the development of the strategic plan for NCTR, and project selection by NCTR administrators is expected to be completed in mid-1999. Starting in 1999, the work program project solicitation will be initiated in the third quarter of the year, with project selection anticipated in the fourth quarter and research scheduled to start in the first quarter of the following year. The overall set of steps is outlined in Figure 1. Timelines and steps for project solicitation are shown in Table 1 and are detailed in the subsequent discussion.

Figure 1. NCTR Research Work Program Development Process

Program Year 1 (1999)

Research Work Program Development Responsibilities
1. Research Ideas Solicited NCTR Call for Problem Statements and Research Needs
2. Research Ideas Due Project Programming Committee
3. Priority Research Selected 
4. Work Program Development Research Faculty
5. Research Areas Added to Website NCTR Administration
6. Specific Work Scopes Completed Research Faculty
7. Final Scope Review NCTR Advisory Committee
8.Work Scopes Finalized, Projects Selected NCTR Administrators and Principal Investigators
9. Project Descriptions Completed NCTR Administration

 

 

Table 1. NCTR Research Work Program Development Schedule

 

Month

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

1. Research Ideas Solicited

 

       

X

           

2. Research Ideas Due

 

         

X

         

3. Priority Research Areas Selected

 

           

X

       

4. Work Program Development

 

             

X

     

5. Research Topics Added to NCTR Web Site

 

             

X

     

6. Specific Work Scopes Completed

                 

X

   

7. Final Scopes Reviewed, Projects Selected by NCTR Administrators

                   

X

 

8. Scopes Finalized, Notice to Proceed to PI’s

                     

X

9. Final Project Descriptions Added to NCTR Web Site

X

                     

Basic Research Work Program Assumptions

  • Each year an overall program budget will include a significant research program. Resources for administration, technology transfer, the Journal of Public Transportation, and education/professional development initiatives will be budgeted separately.

  • The project selection process will have two major steps: (1) solicitation of problem or research needs statements–this step is designed to identify potential research areas, and (2) designing a process for developing specific work programs for conducting the highest priority research–this process will ensure that the highest priority projects are selected and that strong researchers or research teams are assigned to carry out the research. The process is similar to that used by TRB and other research organizations.

  • Each year’s research program will be funded from that year’s funding with deliverables scheduled based on the length of time anticipated to carry out the project. Each supported research project will have a deliverable offering value to users within the funded project scope. Subsequent work, if any, will compete with other projects in future years.

  • The problem statements seeking funding and the work scope proposals will each be designed to provide the reviewers the information needed to evaluate how well the research will address the program goals for NCTR.

a. Research Ideas Solicited

The NCTR Director will provide oversight of research being carried out to address the research needs of the transit industry. Throughout the course of the year, the NCTR Director and other staff will participate in a number of forums allowing them to keep abreast of research priorities. This will include following the research initiatives of FTA, APTA, TRB, ACT, ITAC, other centers, and other forums. Strategic plans, research plans, and goals of the entities active in public transit research will be collected and reviewed regularly.

In the solicitation of ideas for research projects to be funded, information will be compiled regarding the current set of research goals and projects under way by the major players in public transit research. Sources of this information will be NCTR staff, faculty at affiliated Florida universities, FTA, APTA, ACT, ITAC, and TRB. This background information will be provided to NCTR staff, the NCTR Advisory Committee (individuals representing the public transportation industry), and all parties that will be encouraged to submit proposals for research funding. The solicitation also will be broadly distributed within Florida to a variety of constituencies including Florida transit operators, contract public transit service providers, MPOs, Regional Planning Councils, the Florida Department of Transportation (central and district offices), the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, Community Transportation Coordinators, the Florida Transit Association, and other groups involved in multimodal or public transportation planning or service delivery.

b. Research Ideas Due

Proactive solicitations of research ideas will be initiated on a regular annual cycle, as shown in Table 1. However, ideas can be submitted at any time for consideration during the next cycle of project selection. Idea statements will generally be due in December for research ideas that may be initiated in July of the following year. Not all research resources will necessarily be programmed at the beginning of the year, thus enabling funds available to be responsive to new research needs that evolve during the year.

c. Priority Research Selected

Ideas received from the referenced sources and ideas generated internally within NCTR will be assembled in a standardized format for review and prioritization. The prioritization will rely heavily on the comments received from the NCTR Advisory Committee. In all matters requiring votes of the committee related to projects funded by the Florida Department of Transportation, the representatives of the FDOT will be accorded weighted votes (each FDOT representatives vote will be counted twice), given that agency’s substantial interest in, and financial commitment to, the program. This committee, composed of individuals representing critical interests in the public transportation industry, will be tasked with assisting in the identification of project statements that will be further developed.

d. Work Program Development

Having prioritized the research needs, NCTR will develop specific work scopes for conducting research efforts in each of the targeted subject areas. Work scopes will include information that enables the reviewers to address the extent to which the proposed research will address the problem statement and will accomplish the goals and objectives of the research program. The format for the work scopes is designed to incorporate the information prescribed by USDOT as being necessary for the project descriptions.

Work scopes to carry out the research for the priority projects identified will be solicited. The solicitation may be competitive among staff at CUTR or may involve solicitation from other Florida universities. The development of proposals may involve communications/coordination with the party who initially identified the problem and perhaps the peer review team that will subsequently oversee the conduct of the research. The NCTR Director will work with the scope authors to ensure that the scope addresses the issues identified by the Advisory Committee and addresses each of the program goals laid out by USDOT.

e. Research Area Added to NCTR Web Site

Topic areas selected for research will be added to the NCTR web site. This will enable other researchers across the country and beyond to be aware of research plans.

f. Specific Work Scopes Completed

Completed research scopes in the prescribed format will be due for final review. The scopes will contain the project description as called for by RSPA and will serve as the work scope for subsequent task orders between NCTR and the Principal Investigator(s). Refined scopes will be the basis for the final selection of projects and resource programming.

g. Final Work Scopes Reviewed, Projects Selected

The final work scopes and an overall research work program budget will be compiled. This will be provided to the NCTR Advisory Committee for final review and comment, and a final selection will be made by NCTR administrators, who will ultimately be responsible for the success of the program.

h. Work Scopes Finalized, Notice to Proceed to PI’s

The development of final work scopes should respond to feedback or guidance received from the project selection procedure and may involve communications/coordination with the party who initially identified the problem and perhaps the peer review team that will subsequently oversee the conduct of the research. Final work scopes will be used for project descriptions and for contract or task order statements of work.

i. Project Descriptions Added to NCTR Web Site

Final project descriptions based on the work scopes will be added to the NCTR Web site by NCTR staff.

4. Performance Indicators

NCTR Administrators will monitor all projects selected and record this information in its semi-annual reports to RSPA.

II. E Research Performance

Research Performance Goal: an ongoing program of 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.

1. Baseline Measures

Baseline measures are indicated in Appendix B.

2. Research Performance Program Outcome

By the end of FY 2001, NCTR is expected to be the single greatest resource of information on transit performance enhancement in one institution (public or private) in the country. While TCRP funds more research on an annual basis, its research is conducted by a great variety of consultants from offices located around the country. At NCTR, the advantage will be in having a significant amount of research on a great variety of transit issues done at one institution. This "critical mass" will attract professional talent and students who wish to work as mobility managers. Each research effort can be strengthened by its awareness of the status of other ongoing research and the sharing of information and ideas among principal investigators and student research assistants. The research can be more effectively coordinated, conducted, summarized, and shared with the profession.

3. Planned Activities

All research will be peer reviewed while being conducted. This review will help ensure research that is relevant and objective and of high quality and utility to the transit industry. The proposal format for each new research project will include a section to identify intended peer review activities. All final scopes for projects will include the specific peer review activity that must be a part of each research project. The semi-annual reporting will include documentation of overall peer review activities as well as technical report peer review activities.

The progress of each research effort will be monitored. The fact that the bulk of the research will be done by researchers in one institution will facilitate NCTR’s ability to monitor the compliance of all principal investigators to comply with time, budget, and scope requirements.

While the specific projects to be undertaken each year will not be known until the transit industry responds to the requests for research proposals, NCTR, when seeking research proposal topics, will emphasize its interest in ensuring that each project undertaken will help enhance the performance and relevance of the transit industry. The projects will deal with issues that will lead to greater safety, mobility, economic growth, and more livable communities through improved transit performance.

4. Performance Indicators

NCTR will report the status of all of the research being conducted on an annual basis. A portion of the administrative funds allocated in the budget for NCTR is dedicated to monitoring and recording the substantial amount of research that will be conducted on a regular basis. Guidelines will be developed for each principal investigator to follow in the reporting of the status of research. The peer review will help ensure the quality of each research report.

II. F Technology Transfer

Technology Transfer Goal: availability of the research results to potential users in a form that can be directly implemented, utilized, or otherwise applied.

1. Baseline Measures

Baseline measures are indicated in Appendix B.

2. Technology Transfer Program Outcome

Excellent research is of limited value if the results are not made available to as many parties as possible who might use the findings. Extensive technology transfer is a key determinant of NCTR’s value. This technology transfer (information sharing) will take many forms, as described below in the Planned Activities section. Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that those who might want to access the results of NCTR’s research will be able to do so inexpensively and thoroughly. NCTR will use appropriate combinations of electronic, print, and personal communication media that are reasonably available to disseminate the results of its research activities.

3. Planned Activities

Internal and External Marketing

While the primary technology transfer objective of NCTR is to promote its activities to an external market, and a number of activities will be undertaken to ensure that occurs, it is equally important that faculty and students within the Center are aware of those activities and committed to information-sharing outside the organization. To achieve this, principal investigators will make presentations to or provide CUTR faculty and students with summarized information on their research projects in an effort to maximize the visibility of NCTR projects. In addition, principal investigators will be required to include in each project proposal how the results and findings of the project will be distributed to those who might implement them. PIs also will be encouraged to include in their project budgets funds to allow them to travel to at least one national conference to present the findings of their research.

NCTR on the Web

Information on research projects, researchers, students, and events and all final research reports will be available on a Web site that will be continually updated to provide maximum exposure in an electronic medium.

Printed Materials

Information on NCTR will be disseminated by mail or distribution at conferences and other appropriate forums to transportation professionals in Florida and the U.S. throughout the year. This will be accomplished by producing (1) the Journal of Public Transportation, a quarterly, peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated solely to public transportation, which was established as part of the National Urban Transit Institute and which now has more than 1200 subscribers in the U.S. and abroad; (2) a quarterly or semi-annual newsletter reporting the goals, research methodologies, and results of research projects; (3) brochures describing NCTR and its activities and accomplishments; (4) placement of articles in print media of other organizations, such as Passenger Transport, TDM Review, etc.; (5) papers published as part of the compendia of conferences at which results of NCTR research projects are presented; and (6) copies of final reports provided upon request to individuals, agencies, and organizations.

Technical Assistance

One relatively unique aspect of NCTR’s technology transfer activities will be accomplished by providing technical assistance upon request to transit systems. Representatives of NCTR will visit systems to determine what issues are of greatest concern to transit operators and, at the same, share the results of their research. While this activity is designed to interact with transit agencies in Florida, it is anticipated that visits can be made to transit systems outside the state as well. In addition, the NCTR Director has been selected to serve as a "TRIP Ambassador" for the TCRP program and will be attending out-of-state conferences and visiting transit agencies to help disseminate information on TRCP. While carrying out these responsibilities, he will also be able to share information on the activities of NCTR.

Video Teleconferencing

CUTR has the facilities, equipment, and capabilities for downlinking video teleconferences and providing on-site participation via two-way interactive audio from locations around the U.S. This allows researchers and students to participate in conferences that they otherwise might not have the time or funding to travel to. Additionally, USF has excellent facilities that allow uplinking of teleconferences, whereby expert panels can be convened and their programs telecast via satellite. It is anticipated that, after the first year, NCTR will develop and produce such uplinked video teleconferences, thus increasing the national exposure for issues being researched by NCTR.

Distance Learning

For several years, Florida’s State University System has offered a distance learning program known as the Florida Engineering Educational Delivery System, or "FEEDS." This enables, for example, a Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority employee 200 miles away in Ft. Lauderdale to take a public transit course being offered on the FEEDS network, transmitted from Tampa. Distance learning offers the opportunity to provide more narrowly-focused educational materials than might normally be offered by virtue of the fact that one can solicit an audience from a larger area. Other transportation courses will be offered via the FEEDS network in the near future. The initial focus will be on making available courses of relevance to the transit professionals at the 21 fixed-route systems in Florida as well as to the Florida paratransit providers. A web-based course on telework also is planned for implementation by the end of 1999. In discussions with Mr. Bill Millar, Executive Director of APTA, it was apparent that there are a number of niche training needs within the transit industry that might be filled with what is referred to as narrowcast capabilities such as satellite downlink or web-based broadcasting.

NCTR’s priority will be on working with the USF Department of Civil Engineering and the FEEDS program to ensure that courses or seminars relevant to the public transit industry are offered. The goal for 1999 and 2000 will be to have one course offered annually and widely advertised to the transit planning and operations community, growing to two courses per year in 2001 and 2002. In addition, NCTR will explore the possibility of hosting a series of seminars on niche topics to allow in-depth examination of these issues in a manner that can be broadcast or taped at USF and provided to public transportation agencies throughout the country.

Other Technology Transfer Activities

In addition to producing and disseminating research reports, newsletters, brochures, and other print media; publishing articles and papers; making presentations at national conferences; maintaining a Web site; and organizing and participating in conferences, a number of additional technology transfer activities may be conducted as appropriate to each project, including, but not limited to conducting faculty exchanges and intellectual interchanges; presenting lectures; utilizing computer networks, software exchanges, and other electronic media communications; conducting visitor programs at NCTR-related facilities; providing bibliographies and literature searches for fellow researchers and practitioners; developing audiovisual packages and other atypical media materials;

publishing monographs; writing and disseminating press releases and interacting with news media; and conducting personnel exchanges with industry and local, state, and federal agencies and organizations.

4. Performance Indicators

NCTR program managers will develop formats to record the technology transfer activities that have been undertaken, which will include the best estimates of how many parties have received the information developed by the Center. These formats will be based on the items included in Section 6 of Appendix B, and will be supplemented by information on other activities not included in the baseline measure as the program matures. Each Principal Investigator will be made aware of the need to track the information required to report on these measures.

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