USC Price School of Public Policy

METRANS Named Transportation Organization of the Year

METRANS Named Transportation Organization of the Year

By Ben Dimapindan

METRANS director and SPPD professor Genevieve Giuliano

The METRANS Transportation Center has been named Organization of the Year by the California Transportation Foundation (CTF), a leading nonprofit providing support for the transportation community statewide.

The accolade will be presented on June 15 at the foundation’s 22nd annual Transportation Awards Luncheon in Sacramento. The awards recognize excellence in transportation — all modes, public and private sector, and from all regions across California.

“Our selections represent the best of the projects, programs and people who made a positive difference for California transportation in 2010,” said the foundation’s executive director Sarah West.

West added that METRANS’ research and outreach initiatives were able to bring a real contribution to the field.

METRANS, a U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Center, is a joint partnership of USC and California State University, Long Beach. The center, which has affiliated faculty from the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and other USC schools, addresses transportation problems in large metropolitan areas through interdisciplinary research, education and outreach.

According to METRANS director Genevieve Giuliano, this is first time the CTF Organization of the Year award was given to a university research center. The distinction “usually goes to companies,” she noted.

“CTF is a foundation whose mission is to promote transportation education in California. Its members represent the field’s major engineering and consulting firms – the same people who build our highways and transit systems,” explained Giuliano, holder of the Margaret and John Ferraro Chair in Effective Local Government and senior associate dean for research and technology at SPPD.

“The important thing to me,” she said, “is that we’re educating our students in a way that these professionals find very valuable. Students go out with the skills sought, and valued, by practitioners in the field.”

Maged Dessouky, professor of industrial and systems engineering at USC Viterbi and a member of the METRANS executive committee, said that the award is an affirmation of the impact of the research and educational activities supported by the center.

James E. Moore, like Dessouky a professor at USC Viterbi and a member of the METRANS executive committee, noted that CTF and METRANS have long collaborated with respect to student programs.

He said that CTF consistently invites USC and Cal State Long Beach undergraduates in engineering and urban planning to participate in its annual transportation education symposium.

“We all knew METRANS and CTF were on the same page when it comes to supporting and educating undergraduates interested in transportation,” said Moore, who also is a board member of CTF. “But this award offers recognition for METRANS’ full range of activities, including research, teaching at all levels, technology transfer, and outreach to communities, agencies and industries.”

METRANS funds research on a wide range of topics at USC and Cal State Long Beach through an annual proposal process. It engages students through research, seminars and other activities.

Other METRANS programs include conferences, public forums, publications, as well as workforce development and professional training. METRANS students have been placed in universities as researchers or faculty members, in public agencies, in transportation consulting firms and in the offices of elected officials.