ODU to Launch Transportation Center in Virginia Beach in Agreement with City Development Authority

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In an agreement with the Virginia Beach Development Authority, Old Dominion University will launch the Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions (CITS) in Virginia Beach Town Center, positioning the city and university at the forefront of transportation research for the region and beyond.

The center, slated to open later this summer, will focus on developing and applying innovative techniques, including the expansive use of modeling and simulation, to address a broad variety of transportation challenges and issues facing the region, state and nation.

“Old Dominion University and the City of Virginia Beach have partnered for many years to create opportunities for the betterment of the city, university, region and its citizens,” said ODU Chief Operating Officer David F. Harnage.  “The Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions is a continuation of that strong partnership and we look forward to the promising work that will come from our joint efforts in CITS.”

Virginia Beach Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. added, “This is a very timely project for the city and ODU. For years now, I have said that transportation the No. 1 issue in Hampton Roads. As former chairman of the region’s transportation planning group, I am proud that Virginia Beach will host this center, dedicated to finding creative solutions to moving people and goods through Hampton Roads.”

Approved June 19 by the Development Authority, the agreement provides ODU office space in One Columbus Center, valued at approximately $50,000 per year, for three years.  In return, CITS will complete detailed transportation simulation and modeling research of an equivalent value for Virginia Beach. The topic will be jointly selected by researchers and city leaders.

“Cities face many complex issues in transportation, and elected officials and city managers must make decisions that benefit their citizens and provide the basis for economic growth,” said John Sokolowski, executive director of Old Dominion’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center.  “Modeling and simulation enables decision-makers to see the impact of planned improvements on congestion and ease of access to neighborhoods and businesses, resulting in better informed decisions and more successful projects. This partnership between Old Dominion and Virginia Beach brings together the transportation research resources and urban planning capabilities to solve these complex issues for the benefit of all.”

Six researchers will be housed at CITS, with others joining them to collaborate on specific projects.  Asad Khattak, Old Dominion’s Batten Chair in Transportation, will serve as director.

Khattak also leads Old Dominion’s work as part of a five-university team recently named a Tier One University Transportation Center (UTC) by the U.S. Department of Education.  Work on the $3.5 million grant to integrate real-time data systems and advanced transportation applications to better manage congestion while minimizing environmental impacts, will be done at CITS.  Researchers will also study alternative fuels and technologies, fuel conservation, urban studies, land use and public policy to support transportation decision making at the local, regional and national levels.

In addition, other possible areas of research include:

  • multimodal transportation planning, including signal light timing, public transportation planning and analysis, potential growth of light rail, and simulation of future traffic patterns;
  • intelligent transportation systems, including Advanced Traveler Information Systems, advanced sensors analysis, and inter-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communications;
  • safety and security, including driver and passenger behaviors and evacuation transportation plans; and
  • transportation impacts of climate change and sea level rise.

Old Dominion University is Virginia’s forward-focused metropolitan research university with rigorous academics, an energetic residential community, and engaging and relevant learning opportunities that teach skills for success. With a determined entrepreneurial approach that drives research and collaboration, the university contributes nearly $1 billion annually to the local economy.

Old Dominion has held classes in Virginia Beach since 1988, and currently offers 28 bachelor’s and 17 master’s and doctoral degree programs.  Nearly 2,000 students take courses and 90 professors teach at ODU’s Virginia Beach campus in Princess Anne Commons.   The university recently announced the relocation of its nurse anesthesia program to Virginia Beach.

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