MNTRC Newsletter Vol 20, Issue 1: Spring 2013

Message from the Executive Director


Rod Diridon, Executive Director

Rod Diridon, Sr.

Rod Diridon
Executive Director, MNTRC

Welcome to MNTRC’s current edition of World in Motion, with updates on our latest research and activities.

Join us at APTA Rail in June

MTI/MNTRC will produce the first day workshop at the APTA’s annual Rail Conference in Philadelphia. Please attend on Saturday afternoon, June 1, at the Philadelphia Marriott for the Norman Y. Mineta National Transportation Policy Summit on Transit Finance. With nearly all of the other industrialized nations spending more per capita on transportation infrastructure, with the American Society of Civil Engineers giving the current US infrastructure a D+ grade, and US urban transportation demand already vastly outstripping capacity nearing gridlock, how can the US transportation system’s former world-leadership be reestablished?

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff has been invited to keynote. MTI National Transportation Finance Center Director Dr. Asha Agrawal, will present the results and trends from MTI’s fourth annual national survey on the acceptability of various transportation revenue options. The invited panel of national experts includes COMTO President Julie Cunningham, former Deputy Secretary of Transportation Mort Downey, APTA President Michael Melaniphy, and AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. Administrator Rogof, and the panel will discuss finance measure successes, public-private partnerships, transportation equity, and pending legislative strategies. Time will be protected for audience participation. The program will mirror the hugely popular TRB/MNTRC High Speed Rail Workshop keynoted by Secretary LaHood and FRA Administrator Szabo the first day of this year’s TRB conference. That event, detailed in the MTI Communications report in this newsletter, attracted an excellent audience of mobility leaders.

Other news in this edition:

AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright profiled: Newest MTI/MNTRC Trustee Bud Wright is profiled in this issue. He comes to the board with impressive credentials, sitting in the AASHTO Executive Director’s chair previously occupied by the now-retired John Horsley, who is a past chair of the MTI Board of Trustees.

Grand Valley University lithium ion battery study: Among the nine MNTRC university partners, Grand Valley updates the Li-Ion battery research in process, which will support bus sustainability, a critical goal for clean transit.

Penn State University battery thermal management study: Penn State is testing batteries for electrical and thermal management so electric vehicle fleets will be more universally accepted. The research team is also developing a prototype long-life, nimble bus that could last up to 350,000 miles.

University of Toledo Biodiesel Study: At the University of Toledo, researchers are testing whether biodiesel is cleaner than conventional diesel. The study could have major implications for reducing particulates. So far, biodiesel shows promising results.

Rutgers University Immigrant Transit Use and Bike-sharing Studies: Rutgers hired Fulbright Scholar Dr. Michael Smart to lead two research projects related to the way immigrants use transit, and the effects of bike-sharing on mode choice in Los Angeles.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Hosts AREMA: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas hosted the second AREMA seminar on practical railway engineering. I was pleased to present a keynote on high-speed rail connectivity. With UNLV’s leadership, Las Vegas is undertaking a “Global City” campaign to align the city’s infrastructure with the international standard.

MTI at San Jose State University Sponsors 18 Studies and an MSTM: MTI at San Jose State University is sponsoring 18 studies currently, many of which were directly requested by US DOT. Two recently published reports cover security strategy for high-speed rail and inventory the status and expansion plans for California’s water transit services. Graduates of MTI’s Master of Science in Transportation Management now lead transportation programs throughout the US.  

All of this activity demonstrates how public funds are being put to work to improve America’s transportation systems.