Carnegie Mellon University

Gates Center

Mobility21: Making Transportation Smarter and Safer

Pittsburgh businessman, civic leader and philanthropist Henry Hillman believed transportation could be revolutionized by the explosion of information and communications technology, and he believed that CMU had the knowledge base to play a big role. With seed funding from the Henry Hillman Foundation, Carnegie Mellon University created Traffic21 in 2009 to stimulate a broad community partnership to identify, refine and deploy “intelligent transportation system” technology advancements to the Pittsburgh region’s transportation system. That initial funding has spurred immense interest and investment in transportation technologies and innovation in the region.

In 2016, the success of Traffic21 and its spinoffs, such as Metro21, led to a $14 million grant, over five years, from the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to establish a new National University Transportation Center (UTC).

The UTC, which will be named Mobility21, will focus on safely and efficiently improving the mobility of people and goods in the 21st century by investigating and deploying novel technologies, incentives, policies, and training programs.

Mobility21 is a partnership between the College of Engineering and the H. John Heinz III College. It contributes to initiatives in both colleges and the university in smart transportation and smart city research and education.

To address mobility challenges that span multiple modes of transportation, the College of Engineering and its consortium partners, including the Community College of Allegheny Country, University of Pennsylvania, and The Ohio State University, will explore: smart city technologies; connected and autonomous vehicles; improved transportation access to disadvantaged neighborhoods; multi-modal traveling; assistive technologies for people with disabilities; data modeling for monitoring traffic control systems; and regional planning to establish priorities and aid transportation deployment.

Mobility21 is the second national UTC located at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. The university is also home to the Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation National UTC on Safety, which was established in 2013 to develop and deploy technologies for safe and efficient transportation pertaining to in-vehicle technologies, infrastructure technologies, human-vehicle interactions, mobility/data analytics, and policy.

The Mobility21 grant is one of five National UTC grants that were awarded in 2016 to advance research and education programs that address transportation challenges facing our nation. Funding for the UTC is authorized by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, or the FAST Act.