PSU awarded $2.83 million as U.S. DOT center for livable communities

Portland State University’s transportation research and education center has earned a $2.83 million federal grant to expand the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, a program of OTREC at Portland State. The grant marks the center’s designation as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s national university transportation center for livable communities.

The grant enables the NITC program to include a new partner, the University of South Florida. With leadership and administration from Portland State, the NITC program also taps the research capacity of the University of Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Utah.

OTREC at Portland State was one of 142 applicants to the federal University Transportation Centers program for 35 grants. Up to five national centers were to be designated, one for each of the Department of Transportation’s strategic goals: livable communities, safety, state of good repair, economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability.

In the first year of the grant, NITC will research projects including:

  • A project evaluating how transit-oriented developments affect jobs, housing choice and affordability; and another examining their equity effects in immigrant communities.
  • A study providing designers and engineers the safety effects of splitting scarce right-of-way among various modes.
  • A project looking at whether a fuel-cell drive can reduce emissions from large commercial vehicles such as garbage trucks.

“Portland State University continues to be recognized as a national leader in cuttingedge research on safety, multi-modal planning, and innovative methods to reduce vehicle emissions,” said U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “Expanding the scope of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program builds upon OTREC’s record of success and I’m excited to see how we can capitalize on their work to create safer, healthier, and more livable communities.”

“OTREC is quickly becoming a national leader in researching innovative transportation systems and finding ways to encourage more livable communities,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley. “This grant further solidifies OTREC’s leadership and builds on the success already happening at Portland State University, as well as helping move research into the community and making our cities a magnet for middle class families.”

Since 2006, OTREC at Portland State has brought in $26 million of U.S. DOT grants, matched one to one by community partners, for its transportation research and education center. The NITC program was created in 2012 to reflect the center’s national leadership on transportation serving livable communities.

For more information, contact: Jennifer Dill, OTREC Director, 503-725-2855,

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