Dynamic Transportation Leader to Head the Center for Urban Transportation Research

Transportation educator Robert L. Bertini will lead the nationally recognized center.

After an extensive, two-year search, Dr. Robert H. Bishop, Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida, announces the appointment of Robert L. Bertini, Ph.D., P.E., as Director of the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and tenured professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Bertini was most recently a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Previously, he held faculty and leadership positions at Portland State University in Oregon.

In 2009, President Obama appointed him deputy administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) for the U.S. Department of Transportation (now known as OST-R) where he also led the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office and chaired the USDOT’s Innovation Council. He served as the chief operating officer of a 700 person agency reporting to the Secretary of Transportation. He was also founding director of the Oregon Transportation and Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), a statewide four-campus national university transportation center in Oregon from 2002 to 2006.

“This is an exciting time for transportation as we begin to re-imagine our future with intelligent roadways and self-driving vehicles in increasingly complex traffic patterns,” said Bishop. “Dr. Bertini is the right person at the right time for the College of Engineering and CUTR.”

As a researcher, Bertini received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, one of the most prestigious awards in support of early career development for young faculty. His primary research interests are in sustainable transportation solutions, traffic flow theory informed by empirical and experimental measurements, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), multimodal transportation “big data” for improving performance measurement, planning and operations, and proactive traffic management and operations, which has generated nearly $18 million in external funding over his 20-year academic career.

Currently, he serves as chair of the Transportation Research Board Operations Section, is a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society and co-chairs the Research Working Group of the Vehicle to Infrastructure Deployment Coalition. He is a recipient of the DeFazio Transportation Hall of Fame Award.

“I’m grateful to Dean Bishop, the CUTR Advisory Board and the entire CUTR team for this unparalleled opportunity to join such a dynamic and impactful organization. I’m looking forward to working with all of my new colleagues and all of our stakeholders to move CUTR to the next level of excellence in multimodal transportation research and education.”

Dr. Bertini has authored / co-authored more than 280 publications, including journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters and technical reports. He is an active advisor to students, having supervised, advised and mentored dozens of Ph.D., masters and undergraduate students over the years. “Bertini’s experience in transportation at the national and state levels will undoubtedly enhance and strengthen CUTR and the College of Engineering’s work in transportation planning, policy, and safety, and in intelligent transportation systems and demand management, economics and finance,” said Bishop.

Bertini received his Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley, a masters from San Jose State University, and bachelors cum laude from California Polytechnic State University. He is a registered professional engineer in California and Oregon. Established in the USF College of Engineering in 1988 by the Florida Legislature and the Florida Board of Regents, CUTR is an internationally-recognized resource for policymakers, transportation professionals, the education system, and the public. CUTR provides high-quality, objective transportation expertise in the form of technical support, policy analysis, and research support that translates directly into benefits for its project sponsors. CUTR’s multidisciplinary research staff includes experts in planning, engineering, public policy, finance, economics, and geography who develop comprehensive solutions for all modes of transportation while combining academic and real-world experience.

CUTR conducts over $15 million in research annually for a variety of public and private sector sponsors in Florida and the U.S. Areas of research include public transportation, transportation planning, mobility policy, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), transportation safety, transportation demand management (TDM), transportation economics and finance, and corridor management, among others.


The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

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