The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the lead research partner in a government-backed program aimed at improving freight transportation and supply chains, school officials said this week.
UT Knoxville's Center for Transportation Research will house the new Center for Freight Transportation for Efficient and Resilient Supply Chain, one of several research efforts that are part of the Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers program.
DOT has awarded $2 million a year over five years to fund the UT Knoxville center. The university will partner with Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois Chicago, Oregon State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and California State University, Long Beach. Together, they will address challenges in freight transportation system design, planning, and operations as well as innovations in national and global supply chains through research, education, workforce development, and technology transfer activities, according to UT officials.
“I am thrilled to be partnering with other institutions to effect change for this critical sector,” Mingzhou Jin, John D. Tickle professor in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering, who will lead the center, said in a press release. “Together we will develop innovative technologies and solutions that maximize the capacity of existing roadway infrastructure, ensure the just-in-time delivery of goods that support America’s retail and manufacturing economy, and by doing so enhance supply chain resiliency.”
DOT has also awarded UT Knoxville partnerships in two other University Transportation Centers: the Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, led by the University of New Mexico, and the University Transportation Center for Regional and Rural Connected Communities, led by North Carolina A&T State.
UT officials said the awards recognize the important role both the university and the state of Tennessee play in logistics and supply chain. More than 231,000 Tennessee residents are employed in the transportation, logistics, and distribution industry at nearly 14,000 outlets, including FedEx and Amazon’s Operations Center, university officials said.
“The state of Tennessee plays a critical role in the U.S. freight network, and UT is committed to conducting transformational work in future mobility in support of both new technology advancements and the creation of a skilled workforce for Tennessee and the nation,” UT’s Vice Chancellor for Research Deb Crawford, said in the press release.
DOT’s University Transportation Centers program dates to 1988, as part of the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987.