Through its University Transportation Centers, our Research and Innovative Technology Administration is working hard to improve the future of transportation. At these centers, expert faculty, graduate students, and even undergrads work side-by-side doing the research that helps keep the state-of-the-art in transportation moving forward.
Earlier today, for example, I blogged about an exciting traffic forecasting technology being developed by IBM, the California Department of Transportation, and the University of California, Berkeley. And UC Berkeley is one of our University Transportation Centers.
Last week, research teams from UTC's across the country gathered at DOT headquarters to share work that is--or will soon be--changing transportation. And, if the projects displayed at University Research Technology Transfer Day are any indication, the future of transportation is safer, faster, smarter and greener than today.
One team from Kansas State University demonstrated bridge replacement panels made of Fiber Reinforced Polymer honeycombs that are 25 percent lighter than current concrete bridge decks. This means the repaired bridge can actually handle more vehicle weight on the original bridge structure, which gives freight carriers more options to get where they're going. The panels are also faster to install, so travelers face fewer detours and lane closings. And they save the state departments of transportation money that can be stretched into making more bridges safer.
Other projects on display covered aviation, rail, transit, bikes, cars, and pedestrians. And all of them are working to advance one or more of DOT's strategic goals: safety, livability, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, and environmental sustainability.
Another terrific benefit of DOT's partnership with universities across America is that while we're helping academic experts deliver real-world solutions to market, we're also developing the next generation of transportation professionals among students.
I can't tell you how important that is to the safety and economic competitiveness of future generations of Americans.