The Michigan Engineer News Center

Joining forces to innovate the future of mobility

The U-M Transportation Research Institute and Michigan Engineering bring together their complementary strengths.| Short Read
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IMAGE:  UMTRI maintains the world’s largest connected vehicle and infrastructure deployment, the Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment. A Ford Econoline demonstration vehicle is equipped with Dedicated Short Range Communications, or DSRC, which enables it to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure. Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

Two key players in advanced transportation and mobility research at the University of Michigan are joining forces to more effectively move the sector into the 21st century in ways that are safe and sustainable.

The U-M Transportation Research Institute, a multimillion-dollar enterprise that began in 1965, will merge with the College of Engineering, one of the nation’s premier engineering colleges.

On Sept. 20, UMTRI began the process of changing its administrative home from the U-M Office of Research to Michigan Engineering.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring together complementary strengths, combining expertise in transportation technology, biosciences, human factors and data science, as well as the social and behavioral sciences,” said Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of aerospace engineering.

“As we look to the future of mobility, we must think holistically about this complex problem. I am confident this change will help us do so to the great benefit of our faculty members, our students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and eventually society at large.”

As we look to the future of mobility, we must think holistically about this complex problem. I am confident this change will help us do so to the great benefit of our faculty members, our students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and eventually society at large.Alec D. Gallimore

This transition will provide UMTRI researchers greater access to a wide range of engineering resources including labs, faculty and students. It also will create a more sustainable funding environment to better attract and retain faculty and staff.

“For over 50 years, UMTRI has been at the forefront of pioneering transportation safety and saving lives,” said UMTRI Director Jim Sayer. “Since its inception, UMTRI has been a multidisciplinary institute that thrives on collaboration. This move gives us additional resources to advance the next generation of safety and improved mobility.”

UMTRI is one of the largest research institutes at U-M in terms of research expenditures, at $20 million annually. The institute has conducted more than 1,000 research projects and collected hundreds of terabytes of data.

Its multidisciplinary research includes short-term and long-term projects in areas involving social and behavioral analyses, accident data collection, traffic safety analysis, and standards development and testing, as well as the deployment and evaluation of new safety and mobility technologies.

UMTRI’s faculty and staff include full-time researchers, technical and administrative personnel, teaching faculty affiliated with university academic departments, as well as graduate and undergraduate students. Its research scientists collaborate with many academic, government and industry partners to accomplish interdisciplinary research, generating new knowledge and providing students with experiential learning opportunities.

The institute is globally recognized for its approach to research, as well as the implementation of large-scale projects in transportation and safety. Working with its partners including Mcity, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the city of Ann Arbor, UMTRI currently maintains the world’s largest connected vehicle and infrastructure deployment. The Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment involves 3,000 vehicles, as well as infrastructure throughout the city.

The U-M Office of Research remains the administrative home of Mcity, a U-M-led public-private partnership to accelerate advanced mobility vehicles and technologies.

  • UMTRI’s Biosciences Group conducts sled impact tests of wheelchairs and wheelchair tiedowns and safety belt systems to determine how they behave during crashes
    UMTRI’s Biosciences Group conducts sled impact tests of wheelchairs and wheelchair tiedowns and safety belt systems to determine how they behave during crashes. UMTRI has been involved in wheelchair occupant safety research for more than 20 years, and the Biosciences research staff has been active in standard-development efforts worldwide since 1985. Photo by Laura Rudich, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing
  • Black and white photo of engineers working in a transportation test facility
    For over 50 years, UMTRI has been at the forefront of pioneering transportation safety and saving lives. Courtesy of UMTRI
  • A black and white photo of a man pointing to a chalkboard covered in notes
    The U-M Transportation Research Institute opened its doors in 1965. Since then it has become one of the largest research institutes at U-M in terms of research expenditures, at $20 million annually. Courtesy of UMTRI
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Contact

Jim Sayer
Research Scientist, Director, Administration/Library, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

(734) 764-4159

303 UMTRI

Researchers
  • Jim Sayer

    Jim Sayer

    Research Scientist and Director, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

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