Carolina to lead one of five national transportation centers

old-well-centeredThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Highway Safety Research Center has been selected to run a National University Transportation Center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The University will receive $2.8 million in the first year, and up to $15 million in grant funding over five years, to create and manage the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS) – an opportunity for UNC-Chapel Hill to lead and influence the future of transportation safety research for the nation.

The CSCRS will accelerate progress in reducing injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roads by offering a new paradigm for how to understand and address traffic safety issues. The center will conduct collaborative, multidisciplinary research and education and technology transfer activities to improve road safety in the U.S.

“We must build a smarter, safer transportation future with dynamic travel choices, capacity, and infrastructure for all road users,” said Rep. David Price, ranking member of the U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for transportation and housing. “The Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety will make an invaluable contribution to our understanding of how best to do so.”

Led by the Highway Safety Research Center in collaboration with the University’s department of city and regional planning in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Injury Prevention Research Center, the CSCRS unites leading transportation research, planning, public health, data science and engineering programs at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, Florida Atlantic and the universities of California, Berkeley and Tennessee, Knoxville.

“This significant grant will assist the world-class UNC Highway Safety Research Center to continue its collaborative, groundbreaking work that has saved countless lives and prevented injuries,” said Chancellor Carol Folt. “Over its 50-year history, investigators at the center have conducted research at the state and national level that has translated into programs and policies that have been implemented in North Carolina and the nation, making all of our highways safer.”

HSRC Director David Harkey will serve as the CSCRS director and lead a multifaceted team of national and international experts.

“It is time to rethink our approach to road safety,” said Harkey. “The CSCRS provides an opportunity to find new ways to address legacy safety issues, such as impaired driving and speeding, which continue to claim the lives of thousands of road users each year. At the same time, we will explore how today’s research can help us prepare for the challenges that tomorrow will bring, such as traffic safety problems brought on by changes in technology or sociodemographic shifts.”

With more than $2.8 million in the first year, this grant is one of 32 five-year awards and one of five national centers that will be awarded to lead consortia under the University Transportation Centers program to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation. Subsequent awards using federal fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2020 funding will be made annually, subject to availability of funds and grantee compliance with grant terms and conditions.