News Release

UDM and Eight Universities Win $3.49 Million Grant from U.S. Department of Transportation

Mineta National Transit Research Consortium join efforts to improve transit.

University of Detroit Mercy and eight other leading university transportation centers, operating as the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC), have begun operating under a $3.49 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The funds, which will be used for research, education, and other projects that help improve public transit, are distributed through DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). The federal grant will be matched with funds from local Departments of Transportation and other sources.

The nine MNTRC universities include:

  • Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU), San Jose CA (lead institute for the consortium;
  • Four members of the Michigan-Ohio University Transportation Center (MIOH), led by the University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit MI; with Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green OH; Grand Valley State University, Allendale MI; and University of Toledo, Toledo OH
  • Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) and the Intelligent Cyberphysical Systems Center (ICS) at Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ
  • Howard University Transportation Safety Data and Research Center (HUTRC) at Howard University, Washington DC
  • Nevada University Transportation Center (NUTC) at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV
  • Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute’s Bus Research and Testing Center (BRTC) at Penn State University, University Park PA

“We all are honored that the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium was given this award,” said Rod Diridon, Sr., executive director of MTI. “The need to support mass transit in America has never been more profound. Americans must set an example for the rest of the world by reducing highway congestion in metropolitan areas, combating our deficit balance of trade away from oil imports, and combating climate change.”

Representing the four universities of MIOH, director and UDM College of Engineering & Science Dean Leo Hanifin, Ph.D., was equally enthusiastic about the grant. “The MNTRC members have conducted timely and exceedingly important academic research and the University of Detroit Mercy and the other three members of the Michigan Ohio University Transportation Center are honored to join this exceptional group.  At the University of Detroit Mercy, we will build upon our past work to investigate the ways in which effective regional transit systems are developed, and apply the resulting knowledge to enable such systems in our region of Southeastern Michigan and other urban areas across the nation.”

Besides research, the MNTRC universities will continue to offer a variety of education and workforce development programs, including multi-disciplinary and more traditional undergraduate, masters, and doctoral-level degree programs. The educational opportunities presented by the consortium primarily will span the managerial, policy, and more technical aspects of transit. Educational programs also will continue to be offered to young people in primary, middle, and high school, including a “TRANSIT Camp” at the University of Detroit Mercy for Detroit area students


The Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC) conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on transportation policy, technology, and management issues, especially as they relate to transit. MNTRC was established in 2011 as part of SAFETEA-LU legislation authorized by Congress. Six of the Consortium’s nine university transportation centers were originally authorized under ISTEA in 1991, TEA-21 in 1998, and/or SAFETEA-LU in 2006. The MNTRC has been funded by Congress through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), by individual state departments of transportation, and by other public and private grants and donations.

Release date: February 21, 2012

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The University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan's largest private Catholic University, with more than 100 academic majors and programs. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy, the University has campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit.

UDM is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and the largest of 17 Mercy institutions of higher education in the United States. For the 14th consecutive year, University of Detroit Mercy is listed in the top tier of Midwest regional universities in the 2015 edition of the U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges" rankings.