Collage of image including a farmers market, a garden, trucks, and a delivery driver

Steady Supply

New Center to Improve Delivery of Goods

The US Department of Transportation has selected UT to lead a multi-institutional university transportation center, funded for $2 million a year for five years. Announced in February, the Center for Freight Transportation for Efficient and Resilient Supply Chain will be led by John D. Tickle Professor Mingzhou Jin.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with other institutions to effect change for this critical sector,” said Jin, who is based in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “Together we will develop innovative technologies and solutions that maximize the capacity of existing roadway infrastructure, ensure the just-in-time delivery of goods that support America’s retail and manufacturing economy, and by doing so enhance supply chain resiliency.”

The new center will be housed in UT’s Center for Transportation Research. It will address challenges in freight transportation system design, planning, and operations, along with innovations in national and global supply chains, through research, education, workforce development, and technology transfer activities.

Our engagement puts our program in the country’s upper echelon of transportation research.”

—Kevin Heaslip

UT is partnering on the project with Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois Chicago, Oregon State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and California State University, Long Beach.

More than 231,000 Tennesseans are employed in transportation, logistics, and distribution at more than 13,800 establishments, including FedEx and Amazon’s Operations Center. Annual freight volume in the US is expected to increase by 50 percent to almost 29 billion tons by 2050.

“The state of Tennessee plays a critical role in the US freight network, and UT is committed to conducting transformational work in future mobility in support of both new technology advancements and the creation of a skilled workforce for Tennessee and the nation,” said UT Vice Chancellor for Research Deborah Crawford.

UT will be a partner institution in two other university transportation centers: the Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, led by the University of New Mexico, and the Center for Regional and Rural Connected Communities, led by North Carolina A&T State.

“I am delighted that our researchers were instrumental in the award of three new university transportation centers,” said Kevin Heaslip, director of UT’s Center for Transportation Research and Future Mobility Initiative. “Our engagement puts our program in the country’s upper echelon of transportation research. The current momentum in our programs will lead to additional growth in the future as we continue to build research capacity and amplify the impact of our research outcomes.”

It’s the kind of growth that will improve things for producers and consumers alike.

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