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Northwestern tribal transportation program center headquartered at UW

November 30, 2022

To support tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest with a variety of technical transportation needs, from administering public transit to enhancing safety and infrastructure, a new center will be headquartered in UW Civil & Environmental Engineering.

Yinhai Wang

Yinhai Wang

Margo Hill

Margo Hill

Funded by a $3.7 million U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) grant awarded over the course of five years, the Northwestern Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) center is one of seven throughout the United States. Directed by Professor Yinhai Wang in collaboration with Associate Director Margo Hill, faculty at Eastern Washington University, the center will serve the states of Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

“We are very excited to host the Northwestern TTAP Center at the UW. Over the past decades, the UW has been the lead institution of PacTrans, the USDOT University Transportation Center for Federal Region 10, and produced a variety of research products and built connections with the tribal community. With this Northwestern TTAP Center in place, the UW will strengthen its connection with tribes in the Pacific Northwest and enhance its technical assistance to them on workforce development, technology transfer, solution development and more,” says Wang.

Throughout the United States, there are a total of 574 federal recognized tribes that reside on approximately 56 million acres of land reserved as permanent tribal homeland. To help manage various transportation-related needs on these tribal lands, the TTAP will provide American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal governments with training and assistance in a variety of ways, from planning, developing and delivering transportation programs to managing critical infrastructure. The TTAP Centers will also offer training, workforce development and technology services that best meet the transportation needs of each tribal community.

The establishment of the seven TTAP regional centers comes after the program was previously consolidated and administrated by a single national center. Under the new model, the national center will continue to operate in collaboration with the regional centers to support enhanced delivery of services to tribal stakeholders at a local level. The timing of the launch of the regional centers is expected to help advance related initiatives in tribal communities that receive funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure law and other new federal programs.

Program delivery will be undertaken in partnership with the Office of Tribal Transportation and Bureau of Indian Affairs. The TTAP program was originally founded to deliver the Tribal component of the USDOT’s Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration’s Local Technical Assistance Program, established in 1982. The vision of the TTAP program founders is “Through mutual respect and understanding, enhance the quality of life in Tribal communities by building capacity for Tribes to administer and manage their transportation programs and systems.”