In 2006, and again in 2011, the Mid-America Transportation Center won the U. S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s competition for the Region VII University Transportation Center—the region that includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. The consortium partners consist of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Iowa, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Lincoln University, and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Iowa State University and the University of Missouri joined the Center in 2012.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln serves as the lead institution of the consortium and MATC has its headquarters on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.
The states that comprise Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) have many commonalities and, not surprisingly, the states' respective transportation agencies face many similar issues in providing a safe, efficient and effective transportation infrastructure. For example, the majority of the region's roadway networks are primarily rural, although there are a number of major cities interspersed throughout the area that face traditional urban transportation problems. In addition, the four states experience a considerable amount of freight traffic on the region's roadways, railways and waterways - all of which are located at the crossroads of the nation's transportation system. In Region VII, interstates I-70 and I-80 are vital east-west corridors and interstates I-35 and I-29 are major north-south corridors. Given the region's diverse economy and the growing trade with China, Mexico and Canada, freight traffic is increasing every year and is having a profound effect on the region's infrastructure. Congestion on the roadways, railways and waterways caused by this additional freight traffic will have an increasingly detrimental effect on the safety of the region's citizens, the traveling public, the transportation infrastructure and the region's economy.
The interdisciplinary areas of expertise required to successfully meet the research, education and technology transfer objectives associated with our theme include risk and reliability analysis, structural analysis, materials engineering, transportation system operations and alternative transportation infrastructure financing. MATC will work with the leading faculty members from multiple academic departments of the consortium universities. These academicians will partner with staff from the state transportation agencies and members of the commercial freight industry; engineers from the partner organizations will add comprehensive knowledge to minimize the risk to the critical infrastructure systems of the region (and, by extension, of the nation). This collaboration is established to foster an intellectual climate and physical environment capable of supporting the increasing need to improve safety and reduce risk on the multi-modal transportation system.