UF awarded $3 million to launch new center on traffic congestion
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new University of Florida research center will focus on finding new solution for an age-old problem every driver is familiar with: traffic congestion.
The U.S Department of Transportation has awarded up to $1 million annually for three years to the Tier 1 Transportation Research Center, funding that will be matched on a one-to-one basis by the Florida Department of Transportation. The center, which is set to launch in early summer of 2007, will be based at the UF College of Engineering’s department of civil and coastal engineering.
Lily Elefteriadou, an associate professor of civil and coastal engineering, will serve as the center’s director. She said the goal will be to develop new strategies for reducing not only automobile congestion, but also rail and shipping bottlenecks – problems that often contribute to or feed off each other.
“Particularly in the state of Florida, we are going to need new solutions for addressing these problems,” Elefteriadou said. “Another issue we’re going to look at is how we can streamline emergency evacuations. That means not only getting people out of an area faster and more safely, but also planning for after the emergency in terms of providing supplies for returning residents, hospitals and so on.”
She added that the center also will serve as a magnet for students interested in entering transportation-related fields, a rapidly growing area.
The center will rely on an interdisciplinary network of scientists, engineers and scholars. Current UF faculty associated with the center include Scott Washburn, an associate professor of civil and coastal engineering; Yafeng Yin and Siva Srinivasan, assistant professors of civil and coastal engineering; Ruth Steiner, a professor of urban planning; Bill Mann and Dennis McCarthy, professors of occupational therapy; and Don Hearn, a professor of industrial engineering.