METRANS UTC is a Tier 1 University Transportation Center funded under the US Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers Program. Established in 2013, METRANS UTC is a partnership of the University of Southern California and California State University, Long Beach.
METRANS UTC conducts an integrated, multidisciplinary program of research, education and technology transfer aimed at increasing the economic competitiveness of large metropolitan areas through improved transportation system performance. Our research approach is uniquely integrative: we address passengers and freight across all surface transportation modes. Passengers and freight often share the same infrastructure and compete for the same capacity. The research challenge is how all urban functions can best be managed together. By developing strategies that promote productivity and better integrate modes and users, METRANS UTC will contribute to more efficient, sustainable metropolitan transportation.
We focus on large metropolitan areas – those with 1 million population or more. They are the engines of the national economy, home to 54% of the US population and accounting for 64% of US GDP in 2010.1 They serve as international gateways and major hubs on the global transportation system. They account for nearly 90% of the nation’s transit passengers, 86% of the nation’s domestic flight departures, and over 90% of freight shipment origins and destinations by value.2,3,4 Well-functioning highways, transit systems, railroads, airports, ports, and border crossings are critical to their economic competitiveness. Large metro areas also face many challenges: they experience the worst congestion,5 and dense settlement patterns mean that local residents suffer the worst pollution, noise, and livability problems. More efficient and sustainable transportation is needed. More efficient metropolitan transportation will reduce congestion and air pollution, save energy, reduce greenhouse gases, and increase livability, while allowing our metropolitan areas to economically thrive.
The METRANS program is consistent with and supportive of the DOT strategic goal, economic competitiveness. It addresses both “more efficient freight movement” and “highway congestion.”