More than 130 people attended the 2015 UTC Conference for the Southeastern Region held at the Hyatt Regency Wynfrey hotel in Birmingham, Ala., on March 26 and 27, 2015. Conceptualized and initiated by the UFTI’s STRIDE Center in 2013, the conference is now in its third year. Last year, the UTC conference was hosted by Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga.The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hosted the conference this year under the direction of its organizers Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku of UAB and Dr. John Usher of Mississippi State University (MSU).
The invited Keynote Speaker was Michael F. Trentacoste, who serves as the FHWA Associate Administrator for Research, Development and Training and who is also the director of the Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center. Following Mr. Trentacoste’s presentation, the eight UTC directors in attendance provided updates on center activities (Dr. Lily Elefteriadou, STRIDE/UF; Dr. Stephen Richards, STC/U.Tenn; Dr. Michael Hunter, NCTSPM/GaTech; Dr. John Usher, NCITEC/MSU; Dr. Joel Volinski, NCTR/USF; Mr. Kevin Schleith, EVTC/UFC; Dr. Priyanka Alluri, ABC-UTC/FIU; and Dr. John Olusegun Sobanjo, ASAP/FSU.
Breakout sessions included a state DOT/MPO panel moderated by UFTI Director Dr. Lily Elefteriadou titled “Working Together: State DOT/MPO” with Ms. Kathy Braden of Tennessee DOT, Mr. David Jared of Georgia DOT, and Mr. Scott Tillman of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham. The Breakout session also brought together ITE and WTS student chapter representatives who provided an overview of their yearly activities. Invited guest speakers during the student session included Ms. Becky White of the professional chapter of the Alabama ITE and Ms. Tiffany Jackson of WTS International. The one and a half day conference also included 33 technical presentations related to Freight and Logistics, Education and Workforce Development, State of Good Repair 1 & 2, Traffic Safety, Operations and Management, Policy and Economics, and Non-Motorized and Aging Population Issues. The conference also included a poster session showcasing 41 research projects.
The annual conference brings together University Transportation Centers and partners, including other transportation professionals and public officials in Federal Region 4 (Southeast) with the purpose of showcasing the latest transportation research, strengthening collaboration among the academic, private and public sectors in the region. Eight UTCs in the region participated and co-sponsored this event along with the U.S. DOT’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research & Technology (OST-R).
See gallery of images below from the conference.