Consortium Members

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is a leader in rail engineering research and education in North America, with a rich history of significant contributions dating back over a century. UIUC has a distinguished record of accomplishment and remains highly respected by today's railroad engineering community. Through the leadership of Professor Christopher Barkan, UIUC has substantially expanded its Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) through rail research and educational programs during the past 14 years. For more information see:

UIUC is committed to and actively engaged in supporting development of other academic rail transportation programs in the U.S. UIUC’s long and distinguished leadership in railroad transportation reflects a deep institutional knowledge and understanding of the field, including expertise in traditional rail disciplines as well as emerging research areas critical to economically successful, safe, efficient and reliable passenger and freight rail. UIUC has established itself as the leading university rail program in the United States and is one of three AAR Affiliated Labs.

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a leader in the areas of railway mechanical engineering and transportation planning and transit. UIC and UIUC both have strong collaborative relationships with all the major freight and passenger railroads in the Midwest. Due to the importance of rail in the state, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has an extensive rail program supporting freight, intercity passenger and urban rail transport, including extensive research at both institutions. In a recent collaboration with IDOT, UIUC and UIC completed a preliminary feasibility study for a HSR system connecting Chicago, Champaign, St Louis and Indianapolis.

To find out additional information about the engineering portion of the UIC program, listen to Professor Mohsen Issa talk about his program.

The Urban Transportation Center (UTC) is a research unit dedicated to innovative transportation research and education that provides technical assistance on urban transportation planning, policy, operations, finance and management. Part of the College of Urban Planning & Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the UTC is a nationally-recognized innovator in research, education and engagement that benefits transportation networks in cities and metropolitan areas across America. Research is concentrated in these four core clusters:
  • Transit planning, operations and management
  • Transportation funding and financing
  • Freight planning operations and management
  • Data development for transportation planning and analysis
For more details about the Planning and Public Affairs side of the UIC program, listen to Director P.S. Sriraj describe his program.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) contributes to development of solutions for regional and national transportation problems, including a long legacy of important rail contributions. Under the leadership of Professor Joseph Sussman, the high-speed rail/regional development group is conducting path-breaking work directly related to NURail goals. Professor Sussman is the JR East Professor (endowed by the East Japan Railway Company) at MIT and through that relationship have made important contributions in HSR safety, protection from natural hazards and transportation reliability.

MIT’s public transportation program is highly respected, educating numerous students each year. Urban rail transportation is an area in which they make major contributions in the U.S. and abroad (e.g. Transport for London and HSR in the UK). Through its Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL, founded in 1973), MIT has performed path-breaking research in the rail freight sector in areas including service reliability, productivity, wheel-rail dynamics, investment and maintenance planning, and freight car utilization. In recent years, the Transportation@MIT initiative has expanded transportation-related activities into many departments and centers at MIT.

To listen to additional information about the MIT program, watch Professor Joseph Sussman talk about his program.

Michigan Technological University

Michigan Technological University’s (Michigan Tech) Rail Transportation Program (RTP) has developed under Director Pasi Lautala’s leadership into a one of the leading rail education and research programs in the U.S. Established in 2007 within the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI), the program places a high priority on rail transportation and engineering related education. Continued educational development areas include a Rail/Transportation Engineering Certificate, expansion of industry-funded undergraduate Senior Design and Enterprise rail projects, as well as increasing numbers of summer internships. NURail research collaborations with rail industry stakeholders focus on rural freight rail and multimodal transportation improvements, human factors and rail safety, infrastructure evaluation and assessment, high performance materials for railroad infrastructure preservation, and renewal and improved materials for rail industry. The RTP provides the foundation for all rail related activities in the field and has become a permanent part of university curriculum and research at Michigan Tech. For more information go to:

For additional information about the Michigan Tech program, listen to Professor Pasi Lautala describe his program.

University of Kentucky

The Commonwealth of Kentucky was a leader in the development of the rail system in the United States, having one of the first operative railroads in 1831. Its rail system has had a major influence on the development and sustainability of the state’s industry since the very early 1900s. Several of the nation’s major north-south heavy traffic rail lines -- CSX, NS, and CN, and an important regional, P&L – pass through Kentucky, comprising the bulk of Kentucky’s over 2,500 miles of track. This is augmented with local collector lines mainly operated by smaller rail companies, including RJ Corman RR, which provides emergency derailment response and repair services across the US.

The Civil Engineering Department at the University of Kentucky (UK) was an early leader among universities in the re-establishment of an academic emphasis in railway transportation beginning in the early 1980s. The Rail-Related Research Program is a major component of UK’s railway emphasis. Numerous Research Projects have been conducted during the past thirty years and strong partnerships with Class I, regional and short lines railroads. UK’s projects are funded by a combination of railroad companies, governmental agencies, and individuals. Over sixty graduate and undergraduate students have participated in these studies. For more information on UK’s courses go to:

For more details about the UK program, listen to Professor Reg Souleyrette talk about his program.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) has been a national leader in transportation research and education for over 50 years. Students with particular interests in rail transportation are welcomed in the UT Rail Society, which is also an AREMA student chapter.

NURail center activities are coordinated by the UTK Center for Transportation Research (CTR). One of the oldest dedicated academic centers focusing on transport, CTR celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. CTR has a long tradition of excellence in rail transportation research and education, with particular strengths in economics, planning, safety, and workforce development. CTR has been a provider of education and training to the railroad industry for over 25 years. Current courses address railroad track and structures design, safety inspection, and maintenance. CTR has strong relationships with the railroad and planning offices at the Tennessee Department of Transportation, with Class 1 and shortline railroads operating in the southeast, with railroad contractors and suppliers, and with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. CTR will be the host of the 2013 Joint Rail Conference.

For additional information about the UTK program, watch Professor Dave Clarke talk about his program.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Rose-Hulman) is home to 2,100 undergraduate and 100 graduate students majoring in engineering, science or mathematics. Their mission is to provide students with the world's best undergraduate science, engineering, and mathematics education in an environment of individual attention and support. With a 1:13 faculty-student ratio their faculty can take a personal interest in each student's success. As students are prepared for their careers, Rose-Hulman’s emphasis is on a hands-on education where students learn the value of teamwork as well as formulas and equations.

Rose-Hulman has been ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report among institutions whose highest degree in engineering is the master's. Among individual engineering programs, Rose-Hulman was again ranked number one in five areas: chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

To listen to additional information about the Rose-Hulman program, watch Professor Jim McKinney talk about his program.