University of Memphis Creates Center for Transportation Innovation, Education and Research

July 16, 2020 - The University of Memphis has created the Center for Transportation Innovation, Education and Research to address critical issues affecting the planning, design, operation, safety and equity of the nation's multimodal transportation system and to increase its economic competitiveness and reduce economic, racial and gender inequality.

C-TIER will focus on research and development that improves mobility, accessibility and safety through information technology, network, operations and land-use modeling and simulation. It will also focus on transportation sustainability that will promote smart, equitable cities, improve multimodal connections, system integration and security, data modeling and analytical tools to optimize passenger and freight movements and improve efficiency.

"C-TIER is a great addition to the University of Memphis research landscape and is critical for addressing the future challenges of transportation," said Dr. Cody Behles, director of research development for the Division of Research & Innovation. "The interdisciplinary leadership team represents a diverse set of perspectives that will ensure the center is able to grow externally funded research and create a national reputation for its work."

The center's research will seek to improve local, state and regional planning, and develop a set of transportation priorities that deliver shared prosperity and enhance productivity. Research areas conducted by the center will:

  • Support maintenance and improvement of mobility in the face of growing traffic and shrinking resources;
  • Develop methodologies that optimize the performance of the U.S. transportation system with the user needs and safety as the major objective;
  • Increase efficiency while maintaining security and resilience;
  • Improve air quality to advance personal health and environmental justice; and
  • Remove barriers to transportation-disadvantaged individuals participating fully in society.

Dr. Sabya Mishra, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, will serve as the center's director.

"In recent years, the transportation sector has seen introduction of disruptive technologies such as connected autonomous vehicles, battery electric vehicles, rideshare and mobility enhanced travel to make cities more safe, efficient, resilient and environmentally friendly," Mishra said. "Memphis is one of the national hubs of transportation. There is a need for interdisciplinary research at the University of Memphis to address the impact of innovative technologies, and forthcoming newer challenges. We hope faculty and researchers from many disciplines at the University of Memphis will be affiliated with the center to create a vibrant research group that helps to conduct research, collaborate on educational activities, and provide solutions for improved quality of life."

All partners of C-TIER are encouraged to embrace innovative, interdisciplinary research projects and curriculum development, and engage with the industry to enhance collaborations. The center will be led by founding members from the Herff College of Engineering and the Department of City and Regional Planning. In addition to Mishra, other founding members include Drs. Charlie Santo, associate professor and chair of City and Regional Planning; Michail Gkolias, professor in Civil Engineering; and Andrew Guthrie, assistant professor in City and Regional Planning.

For more information on this initiative, contact Mishra at smishra3@memphis.edu; Santo at casanto@memphis.edu; Gkolias at mgkolias@memphis.edu; or Guthrie at guthrie1@memphis.edu.