ITS Fall 2010 Director's Message: A Growing International Role

Samer Madanat

UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies has entered its seventh decade with a series of new beginnings. A new logo, a new web site, and a redesigned newsletter have updated our look, and more clearly reflect our role as part of this internationally renowned campus. Of greater scope, a new system-wide collaboration was born in the form of our Multi-campus Research Project (MRP) with our sister transportation institutes at Davis and Irvine and colleagues at three other UC campuses (Los Angeles, Riverside, and Santa Barbara). A $6.25 million grant joins us in the common pursuit of sustainable solutions to transportation challenges. 

The new MRP brings us back, in many ways, to our beginning, when the California State Legislature created the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California in 1948. The Institute’s original purpose was to provide technical advice and expertise to California at a time when the state was expanding its highway system.

TSRC Co-Director Susan Shaheen and Samer Madanat meet with State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing.

Six decades later, this remains one of our most important roles, as we demonstrated last year in responding to a request by the State Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing by reviewing the California High-Speed-Rail ridership prediction model. This request came on the heels of our successful HSR Symposium, held in fall 2009.

The past year also witnessed exciting activities at all ITS Berkeley centers and by our affiliated faculty. Of special interest is our increasing global influence. Our recent work in Europe, and Africa has built on our previous and ongoing research in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, making our impact truly international.

Looking forward, this coming academic year will offer several symposia and conferences organized by our faculty, including the prestigious International Symposium on Transportation and Traffic Theory, which will be held in Berkeley in July 2011, and is being organized by my colleagues Mike Cassidy and Alex Skabardonis.

At ITS Berkeley, we aim to make a positive impact on transportation science, policy and practice locally, nationally and globally. With active faculty engagement from several departments, more than 50 staff researchers, and a world-class group of graduate students, we are poised to achieve this objective.

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