UCF was recently ranked No. 5 in the United States and No. 29 in the world for transportation science and technology, according to ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020.
The ranking includes 200 of the world’s top universities, and places UCF ahead of Georgia Tech, Purdue, Arizona State University, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Florida in the category.
Last year, UCF ranked among the top 20 in the nation and top 75 in the world in the same category.
Also known as Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), ShanghaiRankings annually ranks the best universities in academic subjects ranging from physics and biological sciences to finance and hospitality and tourism management. The rankings take into account six indicators, including the success of alumni, the quality of faculty and the amount of research published in the field’s top academic journals.
“The significance of the ranking means that UCF has another pocket of excellence in its mix,” says Michael Georgiopoulos, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “Outstanding faculty and students, who we recruit to UCF, look at these rankings to make decisions about whether to join our institution. Funding agencies look at the reputation of the institution’s faculty and students to make funding decisions. The college’s continued pursuit of research and educational excellence depends on pockets of excellence such as transportation science and technology housed in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering [CECE].”
UCF’s CECE department has made impressive strides over the past several years, including being ranked among the top 40 civil engineering programs in the nation in the same global ranking, alongside Iowa State University, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University and Pennsylvania State University.
The team has published nearly 300 articles in top publications and been recognized for best papers by the Transportation Research Board, the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering and the World Conference on Transport Research Society; beat out 50 other teams — including Ford and Uber — to win a national competition by the U.S. Department of Transportation focused on making driving safer; and garnered roughly $22 million in research funding for projects, including a grant from the Federal Highway Administration to test several smart cities transportation technologies locally. In addition to the USDOT, FDOT and MetroPlan, UCF researchers have collaborated with the Federal Highway Administration, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and the University Transportation Center: Safety Research Using Simulation to study topics focused on monitoring, assessing and improving traffic safety.
UCF offers several degrees for students interested in pursuing transportation studies, including a B.S. in civil engineering, an M.S. in civil engineering, an M.S. in transportation systems engineering, and the nation’s first engineering-focused M.S. in smart cities.
“Integrating programs in transportation systems and smart cities have extended our influence and reach to many students, and increased the demand for our programs,” says Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Pegasus Professor of civil engineering and chair of the CECE department. “Our faculty have wide range of critical expertise that contribute to the excellent quality of our education and research.”
As one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities and only hubs offering connectivity options via road, sea, air, rail and even space, Orlando offers faculty and students alike the opportunity to study multi-modal, multi-faceted transportation systems. Orlando was the most-visited destination in the U.S. with a record 75 million people in 2018 and was ranked the No. 23 worst cities in the nation for traffic, according to a 2019 ranking by international navigation company TomTom. The area boasts seven major highways, three major ports less than 2 hours away, seven international airports within 100 miles, and 68 miles of railroad with an additional 170 miles of new track being developed by Virgin Trains to connect Orlando to Miami. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is also only roughly an hour away.
Currently, there are more than $10 billion in transportation infrastructure investments in Orlando, including the $2.3 billion, 21-mile long I-4 Ultimate project. According to The Wall Street Journal, the public-private partnership is one the nation’s largest roadway projects.
Story by Laura J. Cole, UCF Today