University of Illinois to Establish National University Rail Center of Excellence

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has selected the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to establish a National University Rail Center of Excellence (NURail CoE).

UIUC has been awarded up to 5 million USD in federal funding for this initiative, which has been made possible through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The CoE will be dedicated to developing the future workforce for the nation’s railway industry while advancing research and expansion to enhance safety, efficiency and reliability for passenger and freight rail.

FRA announces University of Illinois to receive $5 Million to establish the National University Rail Center of Excellence
FRA announces University of Illinois to receive $5 Million to establish the National University Rail Center of Excellence

This project is led by UIUC and comprises of a consortium of nine partner institutions, including the University of Illinois Chicago, University of Delaware, Kansas State University, Michigan Technological University, Morgan State University, Rutgers University, University of Texas at Austin, and Tuskegee University.

FRA Administrator Amit Bose said:

“The establishment of the NURail CoE is a testament to the dedication and expertise of these institutions. This initiative exemplifies our ongoing commitment to building a safer, more efficient, and sustainable rail network for the benefit of all Americans.”

The NURail CoE’s potential research topics include technology developments in the following key areas:

  • Rolling stock development
  • Positive train control systems
  • Human factors
  • Rail infrastructure enhancements
  • Shared corridor solutions
  • Grade crossing safety
  • Trespasser prevention
  • Remote sensing applications
  • Rail systems maintenance
  • Network resiliency
  • Operational reliability
  • Energy efficiency.

Under the NURail CoE programme, FRA will provide up to 50 percent of the cost of establishing and operating the centre and supporting research activities.

The NURail CoE is set to operate for three years, providing sufficient time to pursue solutions and innovations that will contribute to a safer and more modern rail network.

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