Once a year, the Cooperative Mobility for Competitive Megaregions (CM2) consortium gathers to hold a summer forum to share ongoing research efforts and program updates with CM2 partners and industry stakeholders, and discuss the future of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) funded University Transportation Center (UTC). The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) hosted this year’s summer forum on June 18-20, 2018.
The Tier 1 University Transportation Center’s (UTC) partner institutions – The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), Penn, Texas Southern University (TSU), and Louisiana State University (LSU) – gathered at Penn’s School of Design in Philadelphia for the forum. There were significant achievements to share, as the CM2 consortium enters its third year of administering funding for megaregion transportation research.
The forum comprised of two events: a Penn sponsored program of lectures and panels on megaregional perspectives called “CM2 Megaregions: Retrospect and Prospects” and an academic forum focused on CM2 project updates and research findings from each institution. CM2 Director, Ming Zhang, and Dean of the PennDesign, Frederick Steiner, led opening introductions and welcomed Brandon Buckner from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Mr. Buckner discussed FHWA’s multi-jurisdictional coordination workshops, which have gathered MPOs and state DOTs to collaborate on transportation efforts across state jurisdictions.
Other talks led by representatives from Penn’s McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, and Penn Institute for Urban Research discussed concepts and gains of megaregional research. The range in focus of these research centers provide additional insight to various perspectives such as the environmental, energy, and urbanization processes in megaregions.
Dr. Zhang gave partner institutions an update on the status of CM2 projects during the CM2 academic forum. With 44 total projects spanning three years of funding, there are many projects that advance fields of law, policy, planning, modeling, freight, and equity. Each partner institution shared key updates on CM2 funding and research findings. The CM2 funded projects range from research on the elderly and their use of service technology such as Lyft and Task Rabbit to utilizing Trans CAD to build a behaviorally based mega-regional transportation planning, impact assessment and financing model.
The academic forum ended with a poster session of current CM2 projects and an award ceremony in which attendees voted on projects for three categories: Best Equity Project, Best Inter-Disciplinary Project, and Most Innovative Project. The project award winners and their research is below:
- Junfeng Jiao of UT Austin won the Best Equity Project award for his project, Transit Deserts USA: Lessons from 52 Cities.
- Marilyn Taylor and Dr. Robert Yaro of Penn won the Best Inter-Disciplinary Project award for their project, Mobilizing Investment in America’s Transportation Infrastructure.
- John Landis of Penn won the Most Innovative Project award for his project, A Transportation Capital Investment and Evaluation Simulation Model for the Northeast Megaregion.
If you’d like to learn more about these projects, please see our Research Projects page.
The Summer Forum set the tone for Year 3 of the UTC. At the event, researchers and stakeholders built a solid basis for CM2 research moving forward. The group brainstormed opportunities to further improve upon research dissemination and formed a sense of understanding of partner institution research. The forum also gave project leads the rare opportunity to discuss and learn from one another’s outcomes in person.
Finally, a CM2 Executive Committee meeting provided an outline of next steps for the future of the CM2 consortium. There are several important years ahead for the consortium, in which researchers can further explore and advance opportunities for collaboration with MPOs and industry partners. To receive additional updates about the projects and research of the CM2 consortium, please subscribe to the CM2 newsletter.