As of September 1, 2012, the University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM) is no longer an active center of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The archived UTCM website remains available here.

Strategic Plan FY06 - FY09

Strategic Plan Contents

Strategic Plan Home

I. Program Overview

   A. Glossary

   B. Center Theme

      Table 1. Objectives in Strategic Planning Documents pertaining to UTCM Research Focus Areas

   C. Center Director's Summary


B. Center Theme

The theme of this Center is "Improving the quality of life by enhancing mobility."

Mobility is at the very center of the American way of life; it is critical to commerce, economic development and quality of life.  It is difficult to enjoy the unalienable right to pursue happiness while stuck in traffic or delayed by congestion.  Transportation and mobility issues impact nearly every aspect of society, including health care, recreation, education, goods manufacturing and delivery, and national security.

B.1. National Research Priorities

UTCM’s mobility theme is directly in line with national research priorities, as detailed below and summarized in Table 1.

The 2002 report of the National Highway Research and Technology Partnership, entitled Highway Research and Technology: The Need for Greater Investment, identified five needed research and technology areas.  Of these, one was Operations and Mobility.  The proposed activities of the UTCM, described in section I.C, also directly impact the other four areas identified in the report: 1) Safety, 2) Infrastructure Renewal, 3) Policy Analysis, Planning and Systems Monitoring, and 4) Planning and Environment.  Table I shows the correlation between the research areas identified in Highway Research and the 4 proposed Research Focus Areas of the UTCM.  Because over 170 federal and state transportation agencies, associations, foundations, institutes, consultants, industries, universities, and organizations (including modal agencies of USDOT and the Transportation Research Board) were involved in the development of this report, it may be the most comprehensive source to date of a national research agenda.  That UTCM’s proposed theme is in lockstep with the priorities identified in this report bodes well for the relevance and applicability of the outcomes of the UTCM.

The FTA Strategic Research Plan, published in September of 2005, lists 5 Strategic Research Goals:

It is anticipated that UTCM activities in rural public transportation could positively impact all of FTA’s strategic goals, as all five are highly correlated to UTCM Research Focus Areas, as shown in Table 1.  We will seek input from FTA through our DOT Liaison on research and activities of interest to FTA, and will welcome their leadership.

The Department of Transportation Strategic Plan, published by USDOT in September of 2003, named "Mobility" as one of five Strategic Objectives.  While this has the most obvious synergy with UTCM’s theme, the program focus of the center will have direct impact on all the other strategic objectives identified in the Plan, as shown in Table 1.  The planned activities of the UTCM will address all of these outcomes with its research, education, and technology transfer programs.

The USDOT Research, Development, and Technology Plan, published in 2005, bases its research, development, and technology strategy on the same five Strategic Objectives as the DOT Strategic Plan published in 2003.  It then describes the research and development activities of each DOT modal agency.  Again, because the UTCM research agenda is directly in line with the five strategic objectives it follows that UTCM’s research and program agenda will be in line with this document as well.

UTCM is fortunate to have a representative from the USDOT Office of the Secretary as our DOT Liaison.  His global perspective and "Big Picture" thinking will greatly enhance the ability of UTCM to remain in accordance with DOT priorities.  Such a close working relationship with OTS is a first for the UTCP, and will be greatly beneficial to the center and the USDOT.

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B.2. Texas Research Priorities

TxDOT released a Strategic Plan for 2007-2011 in July of 2006.  This visionary document, TxDOT has a Plan, outlines five goals to help TxDOT achieve its mission of providing "safe, efficient, and effective means for the movement of people and goods throughout the state, facilitating trade and economic opportunity." These goals are

  1. Reduce congestion
  2. Enhance safety
  3. Expand economic opportunity
  4. Improve air quality, and
  5. Increase the value of transportation assets.

The four strategies the Plan outlines to accomplish these goals are

  1. To use all available financial tools to build transportation projects.
  2. To empower local and regional leaders to solve local and regional transportation problems.
  3. To increase competitive pressure to drive down the cost of transportation projects, and
  4. To demand consumer-driven decisions that respond to traditional market forces.

Because UTCM is located in the state of Texas, it is important that center activities are complimentary to the goals and strategies in TxDOT’s Strategic Plan. As shown in Table 1, the four Research Focus Areas and proposed education and T2 activities of UTCM will address TxDOT’s goals and strategies in a significant way. 

Two of UTCM’s Research Focus Areas, Coast-to-coast, border to border mobility and Congestion management and mitigation, will directly address TxDOT’s goals of reducing congestion, enhancing safety, and increasing the value of transportation assets.  They will also positively impact expanding economic opportunity and air quality.  The information made available through these research initiatives will empower local and regional leaders by helping them make more informed decisions.

The Rural public transportation Research Focus Area will expand economic opportunity by addressing the needs of rural transportation dependent populations, which will positively impact the workforce.  This will empower local and regional leaders by helping them make more informed decisions regarding transportation options for rural areas. Air quality will also be improved by increased transit ridership. 

UTCM’s Research Focus Area of Alternative Financing directly addresses TxDOT’s goals of reducing congestion, enhancing safety, expanding economic opportunity, improving air quality, and increasing the value of transportation assets by promoting innovative means of financing for transportation infrastructure improvements, and also all of TxDOT’s strategies for accomplishing them.

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