Established in 1995 by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, the Mid-America Transportation Center (MATC) first won the United States Department of Transportation's competition for the Region VII University Transportation Center (UTC) in 1995. The University Transportation Centers (UTC) program is a federal program to improve transportation research and education in the United States and to strengthen the country's competitiveness in the global transportation industry. Subsequent competitions were won in 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2023. Region VII includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri.

The 2023 UTC grant is titled "The Mid-America Transportation Center for Transportation Safety and Equity (MATC-TSE)" and the consortium partners consist of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), University of Iowa, University of Kansas, Nebraska Indian Community College, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Missouri University of Science and Technology. UNL serves as the lead institution of the consortium, where MATC-TSE headquarters are located.

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2023 MATC-TSE UTC Theme

The focus of the 2023 MATC-TSE UTC grant is on the statutory research priority area of Promoting Safety and it supports the US DOT Strategic Plan goals of safety, economic strength and global competitiveness, equity, climate and sustainability, and transformation.

The states that comprise Region VII have many commonalities, and the respective transportation agencies face similar issues in providing a safe, efficient, and effective transportation system. 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. 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 growing trade, vehicular traffic is increasing every year and having a profound effect on infrastructure and the safety of the traveling public.

The MATC-TSE UTC will work with leading faculty members from multiple academic departments of the consortium universities, state transportation agencies, members of the transportation industry, and other partner organizations to successfully meet the research, education, and technology transfer objectives associated with it’s theme.