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USDOT Awards $14 Million to CEE-Led Transportation Center

December 1, 2016

A picture of Yinhai Wang
CEE Professor Yinhai Wang, who directs PacTrans.

The CEE-based Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans) has been awarded approximately $14 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve the mobility of people and goods across the Pacific Northwest. The funding will be matched by local and regional companies and agencies, for an expected total of $28 million.

“We will work on accessibility for all, system-wide efficiency and improved reliability across transportation modes,” said CEE Professor Yinhai Wang, who directs PacTrans. “The theme of our center is providing data-driven solutions for the Pacific Northwest.”

The funding will advance the work of PacTrans, which is one of 10 regional University Transportation Centers across the U.S. and represents Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. Other university partners include Boise State University, Gonzaga University, Oregon State University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Idaho and Washington State University. Matching funders include transportation industry partners and local transportation agencies, including the four states’ transportation departments and the City of Seattle.

The funding comes at a critical time, as the fast-growing Pacific Northwest region has unique transportation needs with freight continually moving through urban areas. The topography of the region, with mountains and water, also impacts transportation infrastructure. The diverse region includes both metropolitan areas and rural communities, which contains 5 percent of the population but 24 percent of all U.S. territory.

A Pactrans Logo Over Busy HighwayNew research will build on PacTrans’ previous work to develop data-driven solutions for transportation sustainability and safety. Researchers will work on solutions to address traffic congestion, transit accessibility and enhanced rural transportation. To this end, they will work on utilizing wireless sensors to collect traffic data, integrating self-driving vehicles into traffic operations, exploring transit deserts in the region and strategic freight planning.