MNTRC Newsletter Vol 19, Issue 3: Winter 2012

Consortium’s first year: progress and changes


Rod Diridon, Executive Director

Rod Diridon, Sr.

Rod Diridon
Executive Director, MNTRC

MNTRC to host TRB high-speed rail workshop

As a unique declaration of confidence in the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC), the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board (TRB) has asked the Consortium to arrange a full day of high-speed rail programing on Sunday, January 13, the first day of the annual TRB Congress in Washington DC. The event convenes at 8:30 a.m. and adjourns at 5:00 p.m. in the Omni Shoreham's Blue Room. It promises to be standing room only for this charismatic subject.

Transportation secretary LaHood to keynote

US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood will keynote, and Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator Karen Hedlund will be a lead moderator for the six panels showcasing the worlds' top experts on the subject. Reservations may be made via the TRB web site.

With President Obama and other national leaders like California’s Governor Jerry Brown determined to implement a high-speed rail system for the nation, MNTRC’s TRB high-speed rail workshop will be the hottest ticket in town! Compliments go to MTI’s National High Speed Rail Connectivity Center Director Stan Feinsod, who leads the convening committee, which includes APTA High Speed Intercity Rail Committee Chair David Kutrowski, TRB Intercity Rail Committee Chair David Simpson, MNTRC's Professor Harry Teng of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and others. All aboard!

Thirty-six transit research studies underway

The MNTRC is nearing completion of its first organizational year. The nine university members have 36 transit research projects in process and are preparing for a second year of research programming. This second year evolved unexpectedly as congressional appropriators, Secretary LaHood, and RITA assigned an additional year of funding to each of the 22 national consortia.

In addition to the research effort, each of the MNTRC universities presents transportation education programs, most focusing on sustainability and mass transit. Most of the universities completed a round of summer transportation institutes designed to encourage high school students to pursue college educations that lead to transportation careers. The nine universities also have sponsored 17 outreach programs (national summits and symposia, plus local forums) presenting significant transportation concepts to over 2,300 policy-level attendees. The MNTRC/MTI web sites have hosted over three million uses and over 800,000 downloaded reports for each of the past two years. Indeed, MNTRC research is well used!

MAP 21 competition approaches

The consortium contracts have been extended and are funded to January 31, 2016, at which time the consortium program will terminate in favor of the MAP 21 Tiered UTC program. The tiered program competition will be held in spring 2013. Then in 2014, it will begin to operate in parallel with the consortium program. Until that transition is complete, MNTRC will continue to provide exemplary research and education services to the nation's transit community.