Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Transportation Research Center (TRC or the Center) do?
The TRC conducts research, education and outreach related to transportation. The TRC's research collects and analyzes data related to the energy and environmental impacts of transportation in northern communities. The Center has also helped create five new courses at the University of Vermont.

What is a UVM "Matrix Center"?
The Matrix Center structure was created by UVM to advance transdisciplinary research by bridging across Colleges and hosting faculty and students. Matrix Centers have an academic mission and are supported by external grants funds. The TRC is one of two Matrix Centers thus far.

What makes the TRC unique?
UVM's TRC is campus-wide. It has 40 associated faculty and students from seven Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Medicine, Natural Resources, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Business. Interdisciplinary collaboration is key to solving the complex transportation problems our global society faces: economic development; quality of life; public health and preservation of our natural and built environment.

The UVM TRC has developed 5 integrated interdisciplinary 3 to 4-year research foci using a unique collaborative process involving faculty idea submission, the external advisory committee and facilitated work groups.

The UVM TRC has specifically elected to collect unique data that are essential for policy makers and citizens to plan a better transportation future. Examples include travel pattern and power demands for plug-in hybrids in northern climates, non-regulated tailpipe emissions such as the number instead of mass of particles, carbon emissions as a function of fuel type and the impact of social networks on transportation decisions.

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How do I find the TRC?
Please click here for directions to our offices.

What transportation topics are currently included in the TRC's work?
The TRC is currently undertaking research on the following topics:

Please visit our Research section to learn more.

What is the difference between the UVM UTC and the UVM TRC?
The UVM University Transportation Center (UTC) UTC is a large core grant funded by the US DOT and matched with 1:1 funding from UVM and our partners. By comparison, the UVM Transportation Research Center (TRC) includes the UTC as well as other programs and projects funded by sources other than the US DOT UTC program.

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How many UTCs are there?
SAFETEA-LU created 60 UTCs funded by the US DOT at universities throughout the US. Ten of these are national centers like UVM and are authorized to receive $16M each over five years. The others are receiving less funding. There are many transportation centers, some very large, at universities that are not part of the US DOT UTC funding program. These are funded through state DOTs or private funds. Almost all transportation centers are soft-funded. The majority are in Schools of Engineering but some like UVM's Center, are campus-wide and interdisciplinary.

Where is the UTC money going?
Of the $16M authorized we are estimating UVM will receive only $13M in the appropriation process. The funds are allocated from FY06 through FY10.

UVM TRC Expenditures

Estimated program allocation over all years:  
Signature Research Projects (incl. student stipends) 46.3%
TRC staff for Signature Research Projects 8.0%
Director, administration and outreach staff 11.6%
Conferences 3.8%
Student stipends 5.3%
Other research 8.9%
Faculty start-up 5.9%
Faculty fellowships 2.7%
UVM courses/library 1.3%
Center operations/supplies/travel 6.2%

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What is a "Signature Focus Area"?
The UTC at UVM awarded project funds to a limited number of interdisciplinary "Signature Research Projects" which have served as foundations for five signature focus areas: transportation and land use modeling; tailpipe emissions; travel for tourism; livability; and transportation system efficiency. The original projects were three or four years in duration with projects budgets of up to $2.4M and involve faculty Principle Investigations (PIs) from more than one college.

In addition to awarding grants from its UTC budget what does the TRC do?

Besides the US DOT, what are the other funding sources for the UVM TRC?
TRC staff and faculty prepare many proposals for external grant funding. Already grants have been received from the Vermont Department of Public Services, the US Department of Energy, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Maine Department of Transportation, Two Rivers - Ottauquechee Regional Commission, the New England University Transportation Center at MIT, the New England Transportation Consortium and the National Science Foundation. Other funding has come to the TRC to co-sponsor US DOT projects from the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Central Vermont Public Service, Green Mountain Power and Burlington Electric Department.

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