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

II. Program Activities

   A. Research Selection

   B. Research Performance

   C. Education

   D. Human Resources

   E. Diversity

   F. Technology Transfer

Appendix A. Baseline Measures for UTCM

Appendix B. Problem Statement Form


A. Research Selection

Research Selection Goal:

An objective process for selecting and reviewing research that balances multiple objectives of the program.

A.1. Baseline Measures

See Appendix A for Research Selection Baseline Measures

A.2. Research Selection Program Outcome

It is envisioned that, at the end of the grant period, UTCM will have conducted a successful research program with emphasis on each of the Research Focus Areas.  Through this program, TTI will have established itself as the national "go-to" agency on mobility issues. 

As UTCM activities highlight the interdisciplinary, intermodal aspects of mobility, the universal impact of mobility issues will be demonstrated.  As a result, additional sources of funding for mobility research will be identified and combined with UTCM funds to maximize impact on quality of life through mobility. Effective and ongoing partnerships will be developed with other centers and agencies affected by mobility issues. Technology transfer activities will get the results of UTCM research to those who can benefit from it. A requirement that students be involved in all research projects will result in an enhanced educational component as well.

A.3. Planned Activities

The research selection process in the following sections will facilitate the described research selection program outcome.

Required Activities

The research selection process will be guided by the UTCM theme of "Improving the quality of life by enhancing mobility".  Research project ideas will be actively sought two ways: First, through an advertised Request for Problem Statements (RFPS), and second, through research initiatives developed with UTCM Strategic Partners, which may include proposals to other funding entities.  No more than 30% of research funds shall be used in any given year for research initiatives with partners. Proposed projects will be subject to the review process described below.

Advertised RFPS

Once a year, project ideas will be solicited from faculty and staff researchers in a problem statement format see (Appendix B).  Problem Statements will then be reviewed by members of the UTCM advisory groups and UTCM’s USDOT Liaison, who will then independently rank them.  Among the evaluation criteria will be the following: 

A decision will then be made by the Center Director (with input from the Executive Committee and the USDOT Liaison) regarding which PIs to invite to submit a formal proposal based on the combined rankings of the reviewers, funding available, and the balance and diversity of the program.

After the formal proposals are received, the final decisions of which projects to award will be made by the Executive Committee (with input from the Center Director and the USDOT Liaison) based on the previously established criteria,  UTC grant funding available, amount and source of leveraged funds, and the balance and diversity of the program.

Research initiatives with partners

UTCM may join with a Strategic Partner to seek funding from another source.  In this event, before any UTCM resources are committed, guidance will be sought from UTCM advisory groups, the USDOT Liaison and the Executive Committee to ensure that these activities are in accordance with the Center’s theme and objectives.

To meet the requirement that USDOT personnel be involved in the annual research project selection process, our DOT Liaison, Edward Weiner, Office of the Secretary, will be actively involved in the research selection process as described above.  The Liaison’s involvement will facilitate the merits and appropriateness of UTCM’s research agenda in supporting USDOT’s mission and goals.

The completion of this process on a yearly basis produces a coordinated research agenda to be implemented by UTCM during each year of the grant period.

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Recommended Activities

UTCM will support national transportation needs by addressing the high-priority areas of advanced research and congestion chokepoints, among the others detailed in Section I. Program Overview.

Advanced Research

The Research Focus Areas of the UTCM naturally lend themselves to advanced research, defined by RITA as "research that involves and draws upon basic research results to provide a better understanding of phenomena and develop innovative solutions – sometimes referred to as exploratory research in order to convey its more fundamental character, its broader objectives, and the great uncertainty in expected outcomes compared to problem-solving research."  Some advanced research topics UTCM will consider, according to Research Focus Area, are as follows:

Advanced research topics related to "Coast-to-coast, border-to-border mobility" may include

Some of the advanced research topics in "Rural public transportation" may include

Advanced research topics related to "Congestion management and mitigation" may include

Congestion Chokepoints

TTI’s established research programs in mobility and traffic congestion, which include the annual, well-publicized Annual Urban Mobility reports, and in lane management, provide excellent opportunities for collaboration with UTCM. 

UTCM’s Research Focus Area of "Coast-to-coast, border-to-border mobility" is a natural fit for addressing the issue of congestion chokepoints, as the focus of this area is to identify where problems may occur in providing a safe, efficient, intermodal, national mobility system for people and freight from a national standpoint. "Congestion management and mitigation" relates directly to the chokepoints issue from a local perspective. Even UTCM’s program focus area of alternative financing issues is related to chokepoints, as problems identified will have to be addressed by infrastructure improvements, and may require innovative or alternative financing measures.  UTCM plans to integrate alternative financing issues throughout program activities.

A.4. Performance Indicators

One of the anticipated synergies of the UTCM and SWUTC is the benefit of SWUTC’s experience in collecting and documenting the information needed for performance indicators. This relationship will be utilized to the fullest in meeting the report requirements for UTCM’s grant.

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