The Center for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure’s (CSTI) vision is to advance the state of sustainable transportation research through collaborative, multi-disciplinary efforts, education, and dissemination of new technologies and knowledge. The path of the Center’s success is centered on achieving established goals and objectives both in the short-term and long-term, and the partners and support needed to realize the vision.

CSTI was created in August 2007. In total, we have secured over $7.2 million in external funding through 2016.  In 2016 we were given notice to proceed from PennDOT for 2 additional research projects. The total value of projects under contract with PennDOT at the end of 2016 was $1,347,134. In addition, CST continued work through the WalkWorks program with funding of $11,000 in 2016.

In 2016 CSTI continued to sponsor the Transportation Forum at the University of Pittsburgh on March 18, 2016.  CSTI, in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE) and Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), held this one-day forum to advance learning on the research being performed by CSTI.

The 2016 forum focused on public private transportation projects in Pennsylvania. A new law in Pennsylvania allows PennDOT and other transportation authorities and commissions in the state to enter into agreements with the private sector to participate in the delivery, maintenance, and financing of transportation-related projects. This new concept in project delivery and financing transfers responsibility of engineering, construction, operation and/or maintenance of a facility to the private sector for a defined period of time; or allows the Private Sector to perform by contract a service previously provided by the Public Sector.  The forum presented research findings on several projects and held a panel discussion with PennDOT, Contractors and Engineers involved in the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, the first transportation public private partnership project in Pennsylvania.

CSTI continued its participation with the Graduate School of Public Health in 2016 in the WalkWorks program funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. WalkWorks’ goal is to increase physical activity among children and adults by establishing community-based walking programs in Western Pennsylvania.  CSTI conducted walking safety assessments for walking routes in Fayette, Blair, and McKean counties in Pennsylvania.

In 2016 CSTI established a partnership with the Healthy Ride System that operates the bikeshare system in Pittsburgh. This partnership was created to determine the sustainable transportation benefits of the bikeshare system in Pittsburgh. The air quality benefits will be estimated based upon the travel characteristics of bikeshare users that include reduced travel via high emission modes such as auto and induced travel via reduced emission modes such as public transit. A survey was conducted of bikeshare users in 2016 to determine their travel characteristics and economic benefits of the system. During the summer of 2016 the survey was sent to current Healthyride users. The data is now being analyzed and future steps will include the tracking of bikeshare routes and measuring the air quality benefits.

On December 8, 2016 CSTI held a one day transportation research idea meeting with PennDOT districts 1, 10, 11 and 12.  PennDOT and CSTI researchers discussed issues and problems facing PennDOT that could be addressed through CSTI research efforts. Further discussion is occurring between faculty and PennDOT on specific research topics of interest.

Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure

Sustainable transportation infrastructure is one aspect of the broader concept of sustainable development, which has the common definition of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

Attributes of sustainable transportation include: 

  • Safe, high-quality, and accessible to all
  • Environmentally and ecologically sound
  • Economical
  • Positive contributor to regional development