The Missouri Department of Transportation and the University of Missouri System recently announced the formation of the Missouri Center for Transportation Innovation (MCTI) – a research collaboration that will benefit both parties as well as the citizens of Missouri, according to a press release.

The vision for MCTI is to establish Missouri as a showcase and a clearinghouse for safe, accessible, sustainable and resilient transportation, and moreover, to: Propel People…Connect their Communities…and Energize their Economies. It will aim to increase Missouri’s participation and influence in national research, perform practical research that can be implemented quickly, implement innovative technologies, produce future transportation engineers, and create an atmosphere that develops faculty and staff at the University and at MoDOT.

“At the rate that transportation technology is changing, if you can’t stay ahead of the curve with your research initiatives, you’ll quickly be passed by others” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. “With Missouri’s historical position as a nationwide leader in transportation, we can’t let that happen. The creation of MCTI positions us well for the future.”

The Center, which will utilize the MoDOT laboratory in Jefferson City and laboratory facilities at the University’s four campuses in Columbia, Rolla (Missouri S&T), Kansas City and St. Louis, is a partnership with the University of Missouri System and MoDOT in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and other transportation stakeholders.

“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,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “Building effective connections between our universities and the state will accelerate research breakthroughs and support economic development and improve transportation safety.”

Bill Buttlar, an engineering professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, will serve as MCTI director. The deputy director will be John Myers, an engineering professor at Missouri S&T. MoDOT Research Director Jen Harper will be liaison to the state agency.