AMHERST, Mass. – The UMass Transportation Center (UMTC) in the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Engineering has received $6,141,551 from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to combine and run the state’s Local Technical Assistance Program, the Transportation Training Institute, and the Cooperative Research Program as one unit. The funding runs from February 2016 to the end of September 2018.
Michael A. Knodler, UMTC director and associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at UMass Amherst, says this new round of state funding allows the center to consolidate several programs under one umbrella and provides a framework to launch new initiatives. “This provides a closer, more specialized relationship between UMass Amherst and MassDOT,”Knodler says.
He also says the consolidation should foster innovation and speed up the implementation of new programs and ideas. Chris Ahmadjian, UMTC associate director, notes that the new funding, “provides technology transfer that will help folks working within the Commonwealth’s municipalities successfully complete their jobs.”
Under the new system, UMTC will provide research and support MassDOT by making the resources of the UMass system easily accessible for transportation-related issues. The center will also offer training that benefits the state’s transportation infrastructure and industry.
The Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) was established by the Federal Highway Administration to serve states and tribal governments. Baystate Roads, the Massachusetts LTAP, began in 1986. It is a cooperative effort of the Federal Highway Administration, MassDOT and UMass Amherst. Baystate Roads seeks to improve access to highway, road, and street technology for local departments of public works and highway departments around the state. Baystate Roads provides a wide variety of free publications, videos, technical support and computer information, as well as referral assistance.
In 2015, the UMTC Transportation Training Institute (UMTC-TTI) became part of the UMass Transportation Center. This training branch focuses on the knowledge development needs of engineering consultants. Topics address new technologies, personnel development and personal business skills. UMTC-TTI also allows participants to earn professional development, continuing education units, and specialized certificates.
The Cooperative Research Program supports the Massachusetts Transportation Research Program and helps in the use of resources from the multiple-campus UMass system and other universities for transportation research, technology transfer and technology implementation. These resources include the service and expertise of faculty, staff, managers, coordinators and students, as well as the physical facilities, including laboratories and real-world field installations.