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About UCTC—Director's Message

Spring 2011 Director's Message from Robert Cervero Robert Cervero, UCTC Director

UCTC's diversity and breadth of research interests has long distinguished it from many other university transportation research centers. Across the five UC campuses and spanning departments like civil engineering, city planning, computer sciences, environmental studies, and law, UCTC sponsors a kaleidoscope of research topics that informs transportation decisions and practice in important ways. To get a sense of just how diverse we are, take a look at the 17 UCTC-funded faculty research projects for FY 2010-2011. Right now, UC faculty and their students are studying the use of navigation systems to improve the fuel-efficiency of heavy-duty trucks, design techniques for better integrating light-rail stations in freeway medians with surrounding communities, and make real-time modifications of traffic control systems to increase intersection safety. Such topics reflect UCTC's focus on "systems analysis and policy" as an overarching theme of what we do. It also reflects the breadth of knowledge and perspectives found across UC campuses.

UCTC has a lot in store for the first half of 2011. Among the upcoming events of note is the UCTC Student Conference, to be held at UC Berkeley on February 24-25. Professor Jose Gomez-Ibanez of Harvard University will be giving the Mel Webber Memorial Lecture on Thursday evening of the conference. Friday morning will feature a lively panel discussion on cutting-edge approaches to improved parking management. Go to the conference's web site to register for the event.

Another UCTC-supported event in February is the Martin Wachs Distinguished Lecture in Transportation, scheduled for February 3 at 5 pm on the Berkeley campus. This is the fifth occasion of this event that alternates between the UCLA and Berkeley campuses, the two UC campuses where Marty taught. In the late 1990s, Marty directed UCTC while also teaching in Berkeley's civil engineering and urban planning departments. Professor Gen Giuliano of USC will give this year's Wachs Lecture. Other UCTC-supported gatherings on important transportation issues of the day are slated for the Spring so keep an eye out for announcements.

UCTC continues to churn out Policy Briefs that distill faculty research findings to two pithy pages. Recent and soon-to-be-released Policy Briefs cover topics like the environmental benefits of plug-in electric hybrid vehicles and density thresholds for cost-effective fixed-guideway transit investments. We have received positive feedback from non-academics about the usefulness of the UCTC Policy Brief series thus we plan to continue churning them out over the coming year.

If you're eligible and would like to apply for UCTC research support for the coming year, the important dates to keep in mind this Spring are: March 1—when UCTC Faculty Research Grant proposals for FY 2011-2012 are due; and April 1—when UCTC Dissertation Research Grants for the spring award cycle need to be submitted.

Visit our web page frequently to find out more about all-things UCTC-related. Be sure to become a fan on Facebook. And contact me if you have any suggestions about how to make what we do at UCTC even better. Your suggestions are always welcomed.

Robert Cervero, UCTC Director
January 2011