Universities Win Awards To Help Make Trucking Safer

December 21, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

truck-on-hwy-1615510The other day, I saw the headline from an article in the Kansas City Star, and I had to read a couple of times to make sure I read it correctly. The headline: “Area schools share a $14 million federal grant to reduce truck-hauling accidents”. My first reaction was, what do schools have to do with trucking? Aren’t schools more concerned about education grants and the trucking industry more interested in transportation awards? Then as I read the article, it began to make more sense.

According to the article, researchers from a seven-member consortium of institutions of higher education (IHEs) lead by the University of Nebraska will receive $14 million over the next five years to test “reliable and valid measures of driving visual and cognitive skills of participants.” Testing will be done on transportation workers involved in moving hazardous materials, especially older workers or those with specific health issues.

The awards stem from a recent Department of Transportation (DOT) announcement that over the next five years, it would award $300 million in University Transportation Center (UTC) program grants. The program awards and administers grants to consortia of colleges and universities nationwide to advance the state-of-the-art in transportation research and technology, and develop the next generation of transportation professionals. The program has been around since 1987 to help promote the safe, efficient and environmentally sound movement of people and goods.

One of the recently awarded regional UTCs was the Mid-America Transportation Center. Along with the University of Nebraska, other consortium members participating in this program are Lincoln University; Missouri University of Science and Technology; Nebraska Indian Community College; University of Iowa; University of Kansas; University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. For the first year of the program, these institutions will share about $2.6 million in UTC award funding.

More information about this program and the recent award announcement are covered in an article in Thompson’s Federal Grants Development Handbook newsletter. Hopefully this partnership with IHEs will lead to some worthwhile advancements to make our roads and bridges safer and improve our ability to travel.

Let us know how you feel about these transportation grants. We’d love to hear from you.

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