Montana State University

Western Transportation Institute selected as “Innovation Center” by U.S. Department of Transportation

January 25, 2017 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu

BOZEMAN – Early this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University has been selected as one of the agency’s new “Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers.” 

WTI is one of 18 university centers nationwide to receive the designation, and is one of only three centers selected to focus on addressing transportation challenges in rural areas.

“Most of the centers were selected to focus on urban mega-regions,” said WTI Director Steve Albert. “We’re very excited that U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also recognized that rural areas face their own unique mobility challenges. We need to ensure that people and goods can continue to move through the vast rural regions of the country.”

The innovation centers will build on USDOT’s “Beyond Traffic 2045” report, which outlined critical transportation trends for the next 30 years. The report was the result of a major, multi-year policy initiative at USDOT, spearheaded by Secretary Foxx, that worked with stakeholders around the country to identify emerging transportation challenges and potential policy options in six key areas:

  • How will people move from place to place?
  • How will goods and services move?
  • How can infrastructure become resilient to environmental changes?
  • How can technology help move people and things more efficiently?
  • How can transportation improve economic opportunity?
  • What is the best way to finance transportation investments?

According to USDOT, the selected centers were recognized as “forward-thinking and influential institutions that are capable of driving solutions to the challenges identified in Beyond Traffic through research, curriculum, outreach and other activities.” 

Some of the proposed activities for the centers include identifying new technologies to meet specific transportation challenges, developing training approaches that will improve workforce development in transportation fields, and convening stakeholders who can lead long-range transportation planning.

More information about the USDOT Beyond Traffic 2045 initiative can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/BeyondTraffic.

Steve Albert, Western Transportation Institute, (406) 994-6114 or stevea@montana.edu

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