Fall 2013 Message from the Director
This Director’s Message is appearing fairly late in the Fall semester because I, like many others, have been waiting to hear the outcome of the new competition for the Region 9 UTC under the MAP-21 program. We finally heard the last week of September that a new Region 9 UTC consortium will be awarded to a new entity that has many of the members of the current UCTC consortium – namely the Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Santa Barbara UC campuses plus Cal State Pomona. This new Center will go by the name UCConnect (University of California Center for Environmental Competitiveness in Transportation) and as implied by name, will focus on economic competitiveness in transportation as its programmatic theme. Professor Michael Cassidy of the Transportation and Environmental Engineering program at UC Berkeley will direct UCConnect and Karen Frick, UCTC’s Assistant Director, will have a similar role at UCConnect. Thus for the next few years there will be two parallel UTC programs for Region 9, both headquartered at Berkeley: UCTC, personified by the 10-member consortium of the extended SAFETEA-LU program, and UCConnect, comprised of a six-member consortium drawn from UCTC’s current 10-member consortium. It is noted that UC Davis, a member of the current UCTC consortium, will not be part of UCConnect, instead heading a National UTC focused on the theme of environmental sustainability. UC Riverside and several other universities across the US will be part of this Davis-led national center. Every effort will be made to coordinate the activities of UCTC and UCConnect as closely and in as complementary fashion as possible. I’m committed to working with Michael and Karen as well as other members of both consortia to make sure this is the case. For the next several years, UCTC in its current manifestation, will continue doing what we signed up to do: advancing knowledge and practice in the critically important areas of "economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability, and livability."
On the research front, things have been quite active in recent months. In addition to posting a number of new UCTC Research Reports, we recently solicited proposals for Faculty Research Grants for 2013-2014. An all-time high number of applications were received and due to budget constraints, only nine of the proposals could be funded. A rich and interesting mix of research projects were awarded grants on the following topics: valuing the benefits of urban rail through event studies; lifecycle cost analyses of pavement management; impacts of the sharing economy on travel; interregional travel modeling; infill dynamics of rail transit corridors; activity-based toolkit planning applied to urban rail; safety evaluation of signalized intersections; evaluation of changes in curbside parking rates; and spatial transfer of travel behavior research in California. Keep an eye out for the results of these important studies over the coming year, in both final-report and Policy Brief forms. Other upcoming activities to keep an eye out for include the UCTC Student Conference in Spring 2014, UCTC dissertation grant competitions on individual UC campuses, new UCTC Policy Briefs, and a batch of forthcoming UCTC Policy Syntheses. We’re particularly excited about the Policy Synthesis series which will thread together insights and findings from UCTC-funded research projects on similar topics that were carried out over the past five years. Graduate students throughout the UC system are taking the lead in preparing these syntheses. Visit our web site often to find out more about what has been accomplished and what is in the works for the coming year.
—Robert Cervero, UCTC Director