UTA partners with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to support transportation research projects. UTRAC is UDOT’s Research & Innovation Division’s annual research prioritization workshop that allocates state funds for research. Workshop participants include professionals from UDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations, transit agencies, universities, and the private sector. The annual prioritization process matches up today’s toughest transportation challenges with the best problem solvers available to develop implementation-ready solutions. Whether you have an intractable transportation-related challenge or are part of a talented problem-solving team, UTRAC is here to help fuel tomorrow’s innovative transportation solutions today! For more information, visit.

Current Research

Polarized Infrared and Optical Imaging System for Transit Infrastructure Condition Assessment

Safety is a principal concern of the transit industry. Track- and tie-related structural deficiency can pose risks to the safe operation of trains. According to American Public Transportation Association (APTA), one-third of transit assets are in a marginal or poor state of repair, and track and structures are classified as the asset type with the largest total value of marginal to poor assets. Track failures and deteriorated concrete and wooden ties can lead to accidents and catastrophic derailments, and transit employees could get seriously injured due to inadequate safeguards when practicing routine walking inspection.

  • This project has two overarching objectives. To enable early detection and long-term monitoring of hazardous asset condition, the team will:
    • Develop polarized infrared measurement system for internal structural deficiency inspection.
    • Develop polarized optical measurement system for external structural deficiency inspection.
  • To enhance the system robustness and improve right-of-way safety for transit workers, the team will:
    • Develop in-motion track structural deficiency inspection prototype.
    • Demonstrate and evaluate prototype performance on revenue-service lines.
  • The mission of this project is to serve the transit industry by increasing safety, improving infrastructure reliability, and minimizing the risks of accidents induced by rail defects and tie degradation. Funding for this project is being provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s Research Innovation Program.

Completed Research

Transit Signal Priority for Bus

  • Transit Signal Priority (TSP) is a technology that gives public transit vehicles priority at intersections.
  • This project represents a significant advance in both the technology and the use of TSP in the UTA bus fleet.
  • TSP reduces travel time, improves service reliability, and enhances the customer experience. In partnership with UDOT, the UTA TSP project also allows longer green traffic lights for late buses on select routes.
  • Approximately 330 buses will be equipped between 2023 and 2027. This represents half of UTA’s existing fleet and all new regular buses.
  • UDOT’s $17 million investment and partnership are critical to this effort, which achieves many road safety objectives including snowplow performance improvement and road condition warnings.

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