A Vision for Transdisciplinary Transportation Engineering

Traditionally, transportation engineering has been a specialized field focused on the design and construction of transportation infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and railways. As society requires transportation systems that are increasingly more complex, there is a growing recognition of the need for a transdisciplinary approach that fosters holistic and multimodal solutions that can promote sustainable and equitable community growth and prosperity. Indeed, transportation issues are multifaceted, involving not only engineering but also social, economic, environmental, and policy dimensions. Moreover, transportation systems are no longer isolated entities but part of a more extensive interconnected infrastructure service network. Unfortunately, the true need for transdisciplinary transportation engineering remains opaque within the transportation engineering sector. A lack of knowledge on how to operationalize synergies between engineering and non-engineering disciplines leads to potential inefficiencies within transportation engineering organizations and incongruencies between engineering solutions and societal needs. This project aligns with the US DOT’s RD&T goal of economic strength and global competitiveness, with a particular emphasis on the research priority of “Creating Pathways to Good Quality Jobs”. Its primary objective is to promote a diverse and collaborative workforce of highly skilled transportation engineers. The focus extends to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially in mid-sized cities and small towns. Identifying, characterizing, and categorizing the human and hard skills required by the transportation engineering sector - both current and future - could help inform civil engineering program curricula that can better meet these needs among the expected outcomes. Conjointly, identifying the current synergies and gaps in cross-disciplinarity within major civil engineering curricula could inform a path forward toward a transdisciplinary education workforce pipeline. Study findings will inform a complimentary suite of actionable recommendations for short- and long-term workforce development strategies that fill these gaps within and across higher education and industry.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $Federal: $101,727 Matching: $51,000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Florida A&M University, Tallahassee

      404 Foote/Hilyer
      Tallahassee, FL  United States  32307
    • Project Managers:

      Moses, Ren

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Washington Tacoma

      1900 Commerce Street
      Tacoma, Washington  United States 
    • Principal Investigators:

      Walters, Jeffrey P.

      Kitali, Angela

      Dillon, Heather

    • Start Date: 20230901
    • Expected Completion Date: 20240531
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01896706
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Rural Equitable and Accessible Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348321
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Oct 19 2023 4:00PM