This year, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced grant awards for multiple University Transportation Centers (UTCs). Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) and Texas A&M University will lead or aid eight of these during the 2022-2026 Program.
Led by Texas State University, the Coastal Research and Education Actions for Transportation Equity (CREATE) is a Tier 1 UTC that will receive $2 million annually for five years. The CREATE consortium, which includes Texas A&M and TEES as principal partners, will research ways to improve the durability and longevity of coastal multimodal transportation infrastructure.
Dr. Anand J. Puppala, director of the Center for Infrastructure Renewal and A.P. and Florence Wiley Chair Professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M, is the affiliated principal investigator (PI) for CREATE. Dr. James Kaihatu from civil and environmental engineering and Dr. Jens Figlus from ocean engineering are co-PIs.
Operating from the Center for Infrastructure Renewal (CIR), CREATE is one of multiple infrastructure oriented UTCs that will be stationed at CIR. The team, along with Dr. Nripojyoti Biswas, TEES Senior Research Engineer I from the CIR, will work with Dr. Stacey Kulesza from Texas State University and other consortium partners, including the University of Miami, Oregon State University and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez on research, technology transfer and workforce training activities.
“The Center’s research on innovative technologies, technology transfer and professional preparation will train future workforce within the coastal transportation infrastructure industry,” Puppala said. “Overall, these endeavors will boost our nation’s global competitiveness and enhance national coastal infrastructure resiliency and security.”
Research projects by CREATE will focus on four major research areas:
- Transformational coastal infrastructure design and construction
- Coastal transportation infrastructure evaluation, prediction and prevention
- Equitable response to unprecedented hazards
- Pathways to blue economy transportation careers
CREATE will advance transformative knowledge and embrace disruptive technologies to provide economic, sustainable and societal benefits to coastal communities. The UTC aims to revolutionize coastal transportation infrastructure with enhanced efficiency, safety and durability, particularly for equitable infrastructure solutions in disadvantaged communities. CREATE also addresses the current and impending climate change challenges by designing innovative transportation infrastructure that can withstand coastal hazards and will work towards sustainable and resilient infrastructure for the nation.
For more information about the UTC’s for the 2022-2026 Program: https://www.transportation.gov/utc/bil-centers-and-grantees
For more information about CIR lab spaces, tours or conference & training venues visit cir.tamu.edu