A new research initiative has been developed to help industry, municipalities and public agencies meet real-world transportation challenges through innovative partnerships with universities across Dallas-Fort Worth.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments is partnering with the Texas Research Alliance and four area universities that have created the North Texas Center for Mobility Technologies.
The new center includes The University of North Texas, The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Dallas and Southern Methodist University, and will establish a community-driven approach to supplying the region’s employers with the talent and research capacity needed to continue to be leaders in transportation technology innovation. It is intended to strengthen the universities’ capabilities in the transportation sector and to attract mobility technology companies to the region.
The North Texas Center for Mobility Technologies will provide a research and development network consisting of mobility companies, cities and public agencies and use the network to attract industry and academic talent to Dallas-Fort Worth. In the process, the participating universities will be able to further develop transportation-related research capabilities.
“Today’s challenges are best addressed through strategic partnerships, and that is exactly what we are creating by bringing together leaders in higher education, industry and transportation,” said Dr. Victor A. Fishman, executive director of the Texas Research Alliance. “Ultimately, the relationships cultivated as part of this exciting new venture could lead to partnerships that help the region take today’s ideas and turn them into tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”
The Regional Transportation Council approved $2.5 million in seed money earlier this year to help fund sponsored research projects advanced by the center. The RTC has established selection criteria and a process through which NCTCOG identifies which research projects to support with the funding approved.
The center will have competitive calls for projects and will partner with the community through research and innovation projects that will help entities meet mobility challenges and move more quickly to serving their customers. The research project sponsors, universities and NCTCOG’s seed money will all contribute to cover the cost of the research projects.
“We are pleased to join forces with North Texas’ research universities and the Texas Research Alliance to move this exciting initiative forward,” said Thomas Bamonte, NCTCOG senior program manager for automated vehicles. “We want North Texas to be a place where mobility innovators can access research and talent to move their companies forward and solve real-world problems. The North Texas Center for Mobility Technologies establishes a firm foundation for these efforts.”
The center is expected to be open in January and could include autonomous vehicle projects as well as those that employ other advanced technologies to improve mobility and access for communities.
Projects eligible for NCTCOG seed funding will be designed to accomplish one or more of the following:
• Address mobility challenges
• Contribute to economic development and jobs
• Provide mobility models that will help address regional environmental concerns
• Provide mobility solutions for underserved communities
• Demonstrate technology leadership