Historically Black Morgan State University in Baltimore has been selected to collaborate in a national, multi-university consortium focused on ensuring that autonomous, networked, shared, and integrated transportation technologies and systems are developed and deployed with an emphasis on safety, equity, and sustainability. Led by Carnegie Mellon University, the consortium, collectively, will receive $20 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish Safety21, a new University Transportation Center. The consortium also includes research teams at Ohio State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Morgan State University will receive $1.5 million for research on where and how landslides may occur along the highways and roads using geomechanics analysis and artificial intelligence/ machine learning methodologies. The university will perform research exclusively on geologic hazards and how natural phenomena are capable of inflicting harm and destruction to transportation infrastructure, while threatening property and human life along highways and roads. This includes examining slope failures, landslides, mudflows, debris flows, land subsidence, earth issues, earthquakes, and soil liquefaction. Landslides alone are responsible for thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damages every year.
Both graduate and undergraduate students will be recruited to participate in research activities and exchange programs, preparing the future workforce for disaster reduction. Additionally, participating Morgan faculty will be able to engage in the exchange of ideas and research with the other partner institutions, by way of meetings and seminars.
The completed research will help the Maryland State Highway Administration and other state transportation agencies to develop guidelines for preventing and mitigating landslides, thereby avoiding damages, minimizing the economic impacts, and ensuring the safety of transportation systems.