published on September 15, 2017 - 9:57 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno State is partnering with Fresno County and its 15 cities to have students and faculty help tackle the region’s transportation issues.

That work will be done through the new Fresno State Transportation Institute, which will be funded with nearly $3 million from the Measure C New Technology Reserve.

Fresno County voters passed the Measure C half-cent sales tax measure in 1985 to fund projects to improve the transportation systems in the county.

The Fresno County Transportation Authority Board gave final approval in December 2016 to earmark the money in the Measure C reserve to fund the institute, which will have faculty and students work with local transportation officials and planners.

“The Transportation Institute is a true joint project between the University and the community. … It also provides opportunities for university students to work with professors, urban planners and engineers on research, the planning process, grant writing and city government,” Mike Leonardo, director of the Fresno County Transportation Authority, said in a written statement.

The Institute will work in partnership with Fresno State’s Lyles College of Engineering, Craig School of Business and College of Social Sciences, university officials announced earlier this week.

“Faculty and students in the Lyles College of Engineering will collaborate with other researchers on advanced transportation technologies, multi-modal and transit systems and more” Dr. Ram Nunna, dean of the Lyles College, stated in a university press release. “The focus on Fresno County transportation further strengthens Fresno State’s commitment to be regionally engaged.”

“Transportation issues pervade many of the functional areas of business, including logistics and supply chain strategies, information technology, management and human resources, marketing and branding, as well as accounting and finance,” according to a statement by Robert Harper, dean of the Craig School. “Interdisciplinary projects supported by the Transportation Institute will provide enriching experiences for both faculty and students while assisting in economic development for the region.”

Earlier this month, Fresno State officials announced a new bachelor’s degree program in city and regional planning coming this fall that also will involve students learning from people working in these fields and studying current urban planning projects as they develop.

“Our newly approved City and Regional Planning program will be a key player in this institute,” according to a statement by Michelle DenBeste, interim dean of the College of Social Sciences.

“Planning students will benefit from the opportunity to have hands-on experience working on transportation projects and gaining experience working for city and county government projects. The institute provides opportunities for student-faculty research and for service in the community.”

She added there will also be opportunities for students studying in other fields — including sociology and anthropology— to partner on some of the research and community projects.

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