January 30, 2009

The University Transportation Center (UTC), a federally-designated center made possible by the active support of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, is scheduled to receive $4 million over the next four years from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Dr. Brian Wolshon, Associate Professor in the CEE Department, will serve as the Center Director which will be co-administered between LSU and University of New Orleans (UNO) and housed in the LSU Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and UNO’s School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies.

The mission of the LSU-UNO Center will be Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency. They will address a multitude of issues that impact transportation processes under emergency conditions (such as evacuation and other types of major events) as well as the need to develop and maintain the ability of transportation systems to economically, efficiently, and safely respond to changing conditions and demands placed upon them. Work in this area is anticipated to include the development of modeling and analysis techniques; innovative design and control strategies; and travel demand estimation and planning methods that can be used to predict and improve travel under periods of immediate and overwhelming demand. In addition to detailed analyses of emergency transportation processes, the UTC will provide support for the broader study of transportation resiliency, including:

  • Work on the key components of redundant transportation systems
  • Analysis of congestion in relation to resiliency
  • Impact of climate change and peak oil
  • Provision of transportation options
  • Transportation finance

Using the concept of resilience as an organizing theme for the Center provides a strong analytic frame for advancing management and policy tools necessary for dealing with future conditions that are increasingly unstable.

 

The need to provide multiple options for both personal transport and commerce is underscored by recent experiences in Louisiana resulting from Hurricane Katrina where transportation systems were stretched to the breaking point. Addressing the multitude of issues that impact transportation processes under emergency conditions and other types of major events will be a central focus of the Center.

The work is anticipated to include several different modes including transit, multimodal connectivity and maritime, non-motorized, automobile, and pedestrian. The Center’s theme will provide a strong platform to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience of researchers and practicing professionals in south Louisiana who are actively responding to changing transportation processes and conditions—especially in relation to Hurricane Katrina recovery.

 

Article excerpted from LSU Civil & Environmental Engineering Departmental Newsletter, 225-578-5706, mlavall@lsu.edu

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