National Transportation Center to receive
MOSCOW A $680,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Department will ensure continued operation of the University of Idaho's National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) as a University Transportation Center for a seventh year.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo confirmed the grant award Tuesday (July 20). (See announcement.)
NIATTs success in the FY02 limited competition made the research center eligible for this FY 2004 federal appropriations funding. The grant represents about one-third of the institutes yearly $2 million budget to conduct research, to educate students and working engineers to meet future transportation challenges and to transfer new technologies and solutions to the profession and society.
The federal appropriation was sponsored by U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo, U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, U.S. Rep. Michael Simpson and U.S. Rep. C. L. "Butch" Otter, and comes under the DOT's Research and Special Programs Administration.
NIATT, one of 26 university-based centers of excellence established by U.S. DOT, advances technology and expertise in the many transportation disciplines through education, research and technology transfer. Today, more than 200 University of Idaho students, faculty and staff from all the departments in the College of Engineering participate in one or more parts of NIATTs program.
Over the past six years, NIATT has made a significant contribution to traffic signal control technology by developing its first commercial product, the Controller Interface Device. Additional investments have resulted in two state-of-the-art traffic controller laboratories, which are used for classroom instruction and short courses for professionals, and are fundamental to NIATTs research program in traffic control technology.
A second successful focus of NIATT research is the development of vehicle technology to promote a cleaner environment and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil. Research on biodiesel fuels has been internationally recognized. NIATT also works with the private sector to develop and refine new catalytic ignition technology, a key component of lower-temperature engines.
Graduate and undergraduate students tested their engineering designs and research results in a number of student competitions. Teams from the UI have won or placed highly in the Society of Automotive Engineers Clean Snowmobile Competition and the Department of Energys FutureTruck competition. Test results from NIATTs clean snowmobile have helped the National Park Service develop standards for cleaner and quieter commercial machines to eliminate adverse impacts in environmentally sensitive areas, such as Yellowstone National Park.
"NIATT continues to create engineering environments in which University of Idaho students can put into practice what they learn about transportation engineering" said Donald M. Blackketter, acting NIATT director. "These new funds will allow us to continue to prepare the transportation workforce for the 21st century and to help solve transportation problems through research and professional training.