About the Center
CTR is a nationally recognized research institution focusing on transportation research, education, and public service. We invite you to review our programs, facility, and professional research staff.
About the ramshorn
CTR's logo incorporates the "ramshorn," an elaborate checkmark used by the UT Cockrell School of Engineering's first faculty member and dean.
The Center for Transportation Research is a nationally recognized research institution focusing on transportation research, education, and public service. Established in 1963 as the Center for Highway Research, its current and ongoing projects address virtually all aspects of transportation, including economics, multimodal systems, traffic congestion relief, transportation policy, materials, structures, transit, environmental impacts, driver behavior, land use, geometric design, accessibility, and pavements. We invite you to read our CTR Annual Report.
Its ongoing mission remains:
- To conduct industry-leading transportation research
- To provide educational opportunities for University of Texas students
- To serve the public through research that responds to the transportation needs of Texas travelers.
In a given year, CTR administers more than 100 research projects and interagency contracts with combined budgets exceeding $13 million. Approximately 80 faculty and 20 professional researchers perform research studies at CTR. Approximately 60 graduate and undergraduate students (full-time equivalency) participate in the university transportation program.
Currently there are eight transportation research faculty: C. Michael Walton, Randy B. Machemehl, Zhanmin Zhang, Chandra Bhat, Kara M. Kockelman, Jorge A. Prozzi, Amit Bhasin, and Stephen Boyles.
CTR researchers work in collaboration with TxDOT, which remains CTR’s major research partner. In addition to TxDOT, CTR works with other sponsors including the US-DOT, National Science Foundation (NSF), North Central Texas Council of Governments (NTCCOG), Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority, and the City of Austin.
CTR’s strength is in the synergy that is created by students, faculty, and professional researchers. Much of the success of the program is due to the efforts of its outstanding graduate students. Guided by full-time faculty members, these University of Texas students, seeking masters or doctoral degrees, perform much of the hands-on research.
In addition to its own staff researchers, the center taps an extraordinary reservoir of expertise in multiple disciplines by collaborating with affiliated research centers, including Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory, the International Center for Aggregates Research, the Center for Electromechanics, the Construction Industry Institute, the Construction Materials Research Group, and the Center for Research in Water Resources.
About this site
Collaboration with Texas A&M University and other University of Texas component institutions is also an important part of the CTR program. Faculty, graduate students, and professional researchers also work with other researchers from a variety of educational institutions that participate in the cooperative research program.
These positive, cooperative relationships benefit the state and beyond, providing quality transportation for Texas travelers and, through technology transfer, to transportation users throughout the world.
CTR research is generally led by faculty whose academic salaries cover nine of each twelve months. Although, by job description, faculty often spend approximately half of their nine-month academic appointment supervising research, they cannot charge this time to research contracts. This means that faculty researchers typically contribute approximately half-time each nine-month academic year to the research program. If they spend three summer months conducting sponsored research, they actually devote about 62% of their annual effort to research. The contributed time is a significant benefit to research sponsors and is documented through a University Effort Certification System.
In a word, CTR is about innovation. For 48 years, we have provided innovative and pragmatic solutions to our state's transportation challenges. Here are some of our research strengths.
Characterization and control of sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), urban air quality and pollution prevention, environmental and industrial reaction engineering
Mitigation of urban, agricultural, and construction site stormwater runoff; statistical analysis of water quality data; groundwater hydrology, subsurface contaminant fate and transport of hazardous and radioactive wastes, groundwater pollution, dose and risk assessment, multiphase flow, and mathematical modeling; in-situ bioremediation highway runoff; treatment and management of sludges and solid wastes
Alternative fuels, emissions, engine modeling
Behavior, analysis, and design of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete structures, earthquake engineering, evaluation of structures in distress, use of fiber reinforced polymers for corrosion repair and strengthening of reinforced concrete, high-performance concrete
Polymer concrete, corrosion protection of concrete, bonded concrete overlays, repair of concrete, concrete sealers, FRP wraps for concrete protection, materials database for highway materials, monomers for sealing cracks in concrete, use of micro fines for producing concrete, test methods and mitigation methods for alkali-silica reaction in concrete, effect of aggregate characteristics on concrete properties, frictional resistance of seal coat pavements, protective coatings for reinforcing steel in concrete, use of recycled materials in concrete
Fracture analysis or mechanics, structural steel, materials fatigue
Design of reinforced concrete structures subjected to severe loading and exposure conditions, concrete structure, performance of reinforced concrete systems, repair and strengthening of structures, seismic response of reinforced concrete structures
Hydration chemistry of portland cement and its constituent phases, the development of microstructure in portland cement, concrete durability, blended cements, chemical deterioration processes in concrete
Composite materials, disaster studies, earthquake engineering, mechanical engineering, structural analysis, structural design, offshore structures, composite materials
Aesthetics of short and medium span bridges, durability design criteria for post-tensioned concrete, and structural concrete detailing procedures
Dynamic response of structures to blast and earthquake loads, with particular focus on the potential for progressive collapse, models and analyses of trapezoidal box girder bridges during construction, the behavior of synthetic-fiber rope in mooring applications
Noncomposite steel girder bridges, bridge-monitoring systems, truck permitting procedures through finite analysis, reinforced concrete bridges
3D sensing and modeling for construction automation
Electronic data interchange, computer integrated construction, and pre-project planning
Hydrologic modeling, use of geographic information systems in hydrology
Wind engineering, structural reliability, dynamics and random vibration, earthquake engineering, probabilistic seismic hazard analysis
Soil mechanics, soil reinforcement and improvement, environmental geotechnics, geosynthetics, numerical and physical (centrifuge) modeling of geotechnical and geoenvironmental systems
University-industry-government collaboration in technology
Urban planning, children's travel behavior and health, non-motorized transportation planning and safety, relationship between urban planning and public health
Facility forensics, contract claims analysis, constructability, value engineering, decision analysis and risk management, project work process integration and automation, innovative IT applications for project execution
Deflection testing of pavements, performance assessment, spectral analysis, soils, flexible pavements and subgrades, non-destructive testing, resonant column/torsional shear (RCTS) equipment, dynamic soil properties, Rolling Dynamic Deflectometer (RDD)
New imaging technology for automated pavement surface distress inspection
Wayside noise testing according to ISO standard, On Board Sound Intensity testing using a specialized test vehicle, materials testing in the lab or in situ using an impedance tube according to ISO standards, analysis of noise impact avoidance/mitigation using the FHWA's TNM noise modeling program, non-conventional barrier/absorptive material design and analysis
Rigid and flexible pavement performance, database design and analysis, traffic characteristics, environmental conditions, and truck configurations affecting pavement, traffic data analysis for pavement management
In 1963, Dr. Clyde Lee established the Center for Highway Research, which merged with the Council for Advanced Transportation Studies to become the Center for Transportation Research. He held the position of Director for 17 years. Under Dr. Lee’s guidance the Center quickly established its position in the world as one of the top university-based transportation research centers.
Dr. B. Frank McCullough, Adnan Abou-Ayyash Centennial Professor Emeritus in Transportation Engineering, continued the Center's mission for 19 years (1980-1999). Dr. McCullough has specialized in the design and behavior of continuously reinforced concrete pavement. Prior to 1969, he worked with the Texas Highway Department in the Materials, Research, and Development division.
Dr. Randy B. Machemehl, Nasser I. Al-Rashid Centennial Professor in Transportation Engineering, became the Director of the Center for Transportation Research in 1999, serving the center until September 2012. He continues toserve as Associate Director of the Southwest Region University Transportation Center headquartered at Texas A&M University.
Dr. Chandra Bhat, Adnan Abou-Ayyash Centennial Professor in Transportation Engineering, became the current Director of the Center for Transportation Research in September 2012.