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The Maryland Transportation Institute, an interdisciplinary research hub based at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, has announced a new set of awardees under its Seed Grant program, now in its second year. The program is designed to spur collaborative, interdisciplinary research across multiple colleges at UMD.

This year’s winning proposals cover a wide range of transportation-related topics, including environmental policy analysis, electric scooter mobility, and communications technology that can assist vulnerable road users. 

MTI’s director, Herbert Rabin Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Lei Zhang, extended his congratulations to the awardees—and encouraged others to try again next year. 

“The MTI Seed Grant program provides a great opportunity not only to conduct research that has tangible human and societal benefit, but to explore the applicability of emerging fields such as machine learning and artificial intelligence in addressing transportation needs,” Zhang said. 

“Once again, we’re excited to see UMD faculty putting forward proposals that advance the field and engage bold new approaches to transportation research,” he said. “That’s very much what MTI is about.”

Established in April 2018, MTI is a research, workforce development, and technology transfer hub with a mission of advancing innovation in the transportation sector and related fields. It leverages the largest transportation data and data analytics center in the nation and a U.S. Department of Transportation-designated National Transportation Center. MTI also has affiliated centers in smart growth, GIS, logistics, sustainability, computer sciences, behavioral sciences, and public health, and more than 100 affiliated faculty members at UMD in all twelve colleges.

Through the seed grants, MTI aims to spur collaborative projects that bring together transportation researchers across colleges at UMD to conduct innovative research with broad societal and economic impact. In addition, the grant program is intended to yield at least one major external funding proposal.

2020-21 Seed Grant Awards

Anna Alberini, CoPIs: Cinzia Cirillo, James Archsmith, “Developing analytical tools for environmental policy analysis: the case of household vehicles, fuel economy, and vehicle-miles traveled”

Dimitrios Goulias, CoPI: Mark D. Fuge, "Data Mining in Transportation Geomaterials & Infrastructure Health Monitoring Through Machine Learning” 

Derek Paley, CoPI: Jae Kun Shim, "Research in Electric Scooter Mobility"

Kaveh Farokhi Sadabadi, CoPI: Nirupam Roy, "Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) Key Fob for Vulnerable Road Users (VRU)"

Paul Schonfeld, CoPI: Ilya Ryzhov, “Methods for Evaluating, Selecting, and Scheduling Interrelated Alternatives for Network Development”

For more information, contact MTI at


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January 15, 2020

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