III. A Institutional Resources
CUTR is in the fortunate position of having available a wealth of resources to facilitate carrying out the mission of the Center. With a total staff of 80 dedicated employees, a new building with 26,000 square feet of state-of-the-art space, and warm sunshine that makes it possible to attract staff, visitors, and conference venues, CUTR offers a breadth of resources.
The physical location is an important asset. The University of South Florida is located in a rapidly growing urban area in the fourth largest and one of the fastest growing states with more than 15 million residents. The state hosts 45 million tourists annually and has an age profile matching the U.S. in 2015. Florida has seven metropolitan areas with more than 1 million population and is an international hub for air and sea transportation. In the context of NCTR, these features offer a number of benefits. Florida is a good research environment.
Critical issues in Florida include economic development, accommodating travel needs of an aging population, accommodating travel growth, environmental concerns over air and water quality, growth management and land use control, and mobility preservation and enhancement. While Florida does not have the public transit volumes of some of the older and larger metropolitan areas, the issues critical to transit in Florida are those issues that will govern the success of public transit across the country in the years ahead. There has been very rapid growth in transportation demand and the required need to address this demand. Florida has a high degree of sensitivity to preserving the environment, particularly the coastal and wetland areas. Florida has a very large senior citizen population with corresponding transportation needs and challenges. As a major national and international tourist market, Florida has a variety of intermodal transportation challenges in integrating services among airlines, cruise ports, intercity rail, public transportation, and the auto modes. The elderly, tourists, and new immigrants all create challenges necessitating the effective design and marketing of public transportation services.
The challenges of sprawl and meeting dispersed travel needs, including developing effective public transportation for development patterns designed primarily with the auto in mind, are shared by Florida and the majority of urban America. High speed rail, maglev, peoplemovers, intelligent transportation systems, transportation demand management, growth management, transportation disadvantaged services, and coordinated transportation/land use planning are among the critical topics in transportation in Florida that have a parallel national interest. Florida has more active light rail studies than any other state, a full complement of existing modes from commuter rail to extensive paratransit services and 25 urban areas that provide or are studying the provision of fixed route transit services. These conditions provide a great natural laboratory for many issues of interest in public transit research. The state is also positioned to be a large consumer of transportation professionals and producer of young people who will compose our future work force.
The University of South Florida (USF) is among the largest universities in the United States and a member of the State University System of Florida. Founded in 1956, USF opened its doors in 1960 to 2,000 students. Today, the University serves almost 34,000 students, with nearly 200 programs at the undergraduate, Master's, specialty, and doctoral levels (including M.D.). USF now includes nine colleges and a network of regional campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Lakeland, with more than 2,000 faculty. With a growing academic reputation and a dedicated faculty, including 62 Fulbright Scholars, 35 Endowed Chairs, and 14 Endowed Professorships, USF is fast becoming a model urban research university for the 21st century. The University has surpassed the $100 million mark in sponsored research for four consecutive years, now totaling nearly $135 million annually. USF's libraries contain some 2.3 million volumes, as well as vast computer links to hundreds of library data bases and the World Wide Web.
As a member of Floridas State University System, CUTR has ready access to the resources of the several other universities in the system. CUTR has worked closely with several of those universities including Florida State University, Florida A & M University, and Florida International University, our partners in the NUTI initiative. As discussed subsequently, NCTR anticipates ongoing collaboration with these and other universities as appropriate to accomplish the program objectives of the Centers Program and the NCTR Strategic Plan.
NCTR will be housed within USF's Center for Urban Transportation Research, a legislatively-established research center that is part of the USF's College of Engineering. CUTR is unique in a number of respects that have enabled it to move rapidly to be recognized as a significant national resource in transportation research, education, and technology transfer. Established 11 years ago, CUTR has moved to the forefront of transportation research centers and has earned a reputation for conducting cutting-edge research on a wide variety of transportation policy issues. Unlike many centers, CUTR was not created as a forum for Civil Engineering faculty to collaborate on research initiatives but rather was created by the Florida legislature in recognition of the value that an in-state transportation-policy-focused capability could provide. CUTR has multi-disciplinary capabilities among its own research faculty in transportation engineering and planning, urban planning, economics, finance, public and business administration, anthropology, geography, public policy analysis, statistics, and survey research.
III. B Center Director
Joel Volinski, Deputy Director for Transit at CUTR, has been designated Director of NCTR. He is responsible for the development and, if necessary, modifications to the Centers Strategic Plan. He is also responsible for ensuring compliance with all other UTC Program requirements. As noted earlier, the vast majority of the work being done through NCTR will be performed at CUTR, which will facilitate the monitoring of all projects. The work to be performed will be undertaken by faculty researchers who report to the Deputy Director for Transit Research. The Director will be assisted by Dennis Hinebaugh, Transit Research Program Director at CUTR, who will assist in the monitoring of all project budgets and schedules and help produce the semi-annual reports. Mr. Volinski will represent NCTR at external meetings, including the two annual meetings held by DOT with the directors of all the University Transportation Centers. Mr. Volinski is a former transit agency executive director, an author of nationally published reports on transit performance, a member of Leadership APTA, a TRIP Ambassador, a member of numerous APTA and TRB committees, a frequent panelist at state and national transit conferences, and served as the chairman of the advisory board for the development of the State Transit Strategic Plan.
III. C Center Faculty and Staff
NCTR will be staffed by several full-time research and administrative faculty, as indicated in the table in Appendix A. Both Mr. Volinski and Mr. Hinebaugh will dedicate 50% of their time to NCTR administration and research. Patricia Baptiste, Transit Program Assistant, will dedicate 50% of her time to project administration activities. In addition, NCTR will provide employment for approximately 25 graduate and undergraduate research assistants and 15 support staff.
III. D Multiparty Arrangements
CUTR will be responsible for all aspects of the work program of NCTR. Unlike in NUTI, working relationships with other universities will be based on project specific needs and capabilities. It is anticipated that CUTR will continue to work on a subcontractual basis with other universities in the Florida system. These relationships may change by project and over time but we anticipate that several NCTR projects will be subcontracted on a regular basis. In light of this relationship, supporting documents for partners have not been included here, and the activities of other universities have not been included in our base statistics.
III. E Matching Funds
In accordance with program guidelines, NCTR will have matching funds at or in excess of the full amount of federal funding. A commitment has been received from the Florida DOT to provide matching funds in an amount equal to federal funding subject to the availability of State funds. A letter outlining this agreement is attached in Appendix A. To date, the multiyear master agreement under which project specific work orders will be drafted, has been completed, reviewed and signed. NCTR is currently working with FDOT to define projects that will be carried out under this four-year agreement, which is capped at $750,000 per year, the TEA-21 authorization level for NCTR.
Beyond the State commitment, it is the intention of NCTR to seek partnerships and financial participation of other entities as the program is carried out. Specifically, funds have been reserved to match other agencies in the pursuit of projects of mutual interest. A series of solicitation letters was sent to a select group of transit properties inquiring if they had any projects that would be of national and local interest that they would be willing to provide match funds to support.
It is NCTRs intention to move ahead with the stated project strategy in the first and subsequent years, adjusting the level of effort according to demand and resource availability. This initiative, coupled with the FDOT match commitment, will ensure that the total program match is comfortably over the required program match levels and meets all the maintenance of effort requirements.
The commitment of match resources by the State acknowledges the importance of transit to Florida and speaks to its appreciation of the value of having the NCTR program at USF. FDOT is fully aware of NCTRs program goals, as laid out in the guidelines and contractual documents from USDOT, and acknowledges the program requirements that will apply to projects funded with FDOT funds. Similarly, FDOT has identified specific requirements that are conditions of FDOT funding. As spelled out in other sections of this report, the overall program of activities has been designed to accomplish the goals of all the partners by programming resources in a way that focuses on the respective goals. The significant change that is brought on by having another partner with a very substantial stake in the conduct and outcome of this research, training, and technology transfer program will result in some changes in how some aspects , such as project selection, are conducted but also provides the opportunity to increase the impact of the program.