Aging infrastructure in Missouri – such as crumbling roads and bridges – affects Missourians every day and can impede the state’s economic growth. A new transportation research center announced today (Dec. 17) in Jefferson City will combine the research of Missouri S&T and the other University of Missouri (UM) System campuses with industry and government leaders to develop new strategies to address the state’s infrastructure issues.
The Missouri Center for Transportation Innovation (MCTI) will be led by the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) for its first three years. Dr. Bill Buttlar, the Glen Barton Chair in Flexible Pavement Systems at the MU College of Engineering, will serve as the center’s director, joined by Dr. John Myers of Missouri S&T as the deputy director. Myers is professor of civil engineering and associate dean of Missouri S&T’s College of Engineering and Computing.
“The MCTI is an exciting opportunity to help Missouri address infrastructure challenges now and into the future,” says Myers. “The MCTI will also provide an opportunity for our students to gain real-world experience as they prepare for civil engineering careers.”
The MCTI will share research from all four UM System campuses with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), which is providing base funding for the project through the state’s planning and research dollars. The MCTI hopes to attract federal funding as well.
“Combining the strengths of the UM System universities with MoDOT through the MCTI is a clear expression of our mission to foster research that benefits the people of Missouri, the nation, and the world,” says UM System President Mun Choi. “Building effective connections between our universities and the state will accelerate research breakthroughs and support economic development and improve transportation safety.”
The MCTI was announced this morning at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Central Laboratory in Jefferson City. Choi joined with MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and MoDOT officials in delivering remarks. Buttlar and Myers also shared their vision for the center during the ceremony.
Myers and Buttlar will work with MCTI operations cabinet members Dr. John Kevern, professor of civil and mechanical engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Dr. Jill Bernard, assistant teaching professor in the College of Business Administration and assistant director of program development for the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
At Missouri S&T, a new lab scheduled to open next spring will further expand the UM System’s infrastructure capabilities. The Clayco Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory (ACML) will combine Missouri S&T’s infrastructure testing and analysis expertise – specialties of the university’s High-bay Structures Laboratory – with the development of new materials and construction methods in the adjoining ACML.