A UT Arlington civil engineer will investigate how advanced technologies can improve public transportation and alternative transportation modes as part of a national initiative aimed at developing more “livable communities.”
The Department of Transportation has awarded Stephen Mattingly, associate professor of civil engineering, a $210,000 grant to support the research. Mattingly will study how technology can improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, how social media may be used to shape more sustainable commuting practices and the impact of GPS and cell phone technologies on driver safety as part of the larger project.
Co-principal investigators on the project with Mattingly include: Professors Sia Ardekani and James Williams of civil engineering, Professor Jianling Li and Assistant Professor Colleen Casey of the School of Urban and Public Affairs.
Stephen Mattingly, associate professor of Civil Engineering
“The aim of the research is to
start thinking differently about transportation solutions,” Mattingly said. “We
just can’t continue to build lanes of highways. There have to be more
comprehensive, more livable solutions out there.”
Overall, the federal agency will
distribute about $63 million to 33 transportation research centers at colleges
and universities across the country through the initiative. The grants are
being awarded through the federal agency’s Research and Innovative Technology
Western Michigan University will
lead the Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities, which includes
UT Arlington, Wayne State University, Utah State University and Tennessee State
Each university will house a
part of the newly established Transportation Research Center for Livable
The center will focus on
improving public transit systems and alternative transportation modes,
providing better and safer pedestrian and bicycle networks and enhancing
transportation accessibility for children, people with disabilities, older
adults and lower-income populations. The center also will work to minimize the negative
impact of transportation infrastructure.
For instance, Mattingly said his
group might demonstrate how social media can be used to encourage ride sharing
and how smartphones may be used to collect transportation and activity information.
“We can use technology to enable
different lifestyle choices that do not require car ownership,” Mattingly said.
“By understanding people’s needs, we can start shifting the importance of
transportation systems from public services to improving the community and
Mattingly said solutions
developed by the Center need to be sustainable.
“Walking and bicycling represent
the most sustainable forms of transportation,” Mattingly said. “These modes
need to be part of future transportation solutions; the center will try to
identify strategies and technologies to encourage more sustainable
transportation choice and to improve safety their safety.”
Ali Abolmaali, chairman of UT Arlington’s Civil Engineering Department, said the Livable Communities
project is another example of how Mattingly’s research can help transform North
Texas and beyond.
“This research could help travelers in decades to
come,” Abolmaali said. “We need to continue to push the envelope in
transportation, coming up with inventive ways to address local and national
challenges in transportation.”
Mattingly’s work is
representative of research excellence at The University of Texas at Arlington, a
comprehensive research institution of more than 33,300 students and 2,200
faculty members in the epicenter of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.