BATON ROUGE – New Mexico State University’s Civil Engineering Department will join a new consortium of universities led by Louisiana State University that has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a regional transportation research center. The Transportation Consortium of South-Central States, or Tran-SET, will focus on improving transportation infrastructure through the use of innovative materials and technology. It aims to support all phases of research, technology transfer, workforce development and outreach activities of emerging technologies that can solve transportation challenges in the region.
Professor Craig Newtson is the NMSU principal investigator and Associate Professor Paola Bandini, both civil engineers, is the campus co-principal investigator. The primary focus is on improving the durability and extending the life of transportation infrastructure.
The consortium also includes Arkansas State University, Baton Rouge Community College, Navajo Technical University, Oklahoma State University, Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M University, University of New Mexico, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas at San Antonio.
LSU Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management Professor Marwa Hassan leads the project. Tran-SET is one of 32 recipients to be awarded a five-year grant from the Transportation Department’s University Transportation Centers, or UTCs, program. Tran-SET will receive $2,470,600 for the current fiscal year.
Limited funding and the downsizing of transportation agencies due to challenging economic conditions has created a backlog of transportation projects. Trans-SET will apply cutting-edge materials, innovations and construction methodologies to various components of the transportation infrastructure including roads, ports, rails and bridges. The center will address economic limitations by only considering research topics that carry out a viable plan to move the technology from research to implementation. In partnership with major state authorities in the region and the private sector, the center will become a transportation focal point in the region. It also will become actively involved with other regional and national UTCs to adopt and implement the most beneficial research findings.