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Metropolitan Transportation Support Initiative

The Metropolitan Transportation Support Initiative (METSI) provides grants that fund current and emerging urban transportation research and technical assistance and education required by other Illinois transportation and planning agencies.

METSI was created in 1999 by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). This ongoing source of funding gives the UTC the resources to find answers to some of the state’s most challenging transportation problems.  UTC Director Dr. P.S. Sriraj serves as Director of the METSI program.

Through METSI, UTC faculty and staff, affiliated UIC faculty partners and graduate student researchers study these and other transportation issues:

  • Transportation efficiency and safety
  • Reducing traffic congestion
  • Enhancing mobility
  • Economic development and smart growth
  • Transportation workforce development

METSI funds provide an avenue for technical assistance in all areas of transportation to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), various IDOT departments and other Illinois planning and transportation agencies. The educational component includes workshops, conferences, training courses, presentations, seminars and webinars, as well as student education, assistantships, and development.

The current theme for METSI is “Livability and Sustainable Transportation.” Visit this page to access completed studies.

Here is a list of selected underway research studies funded completely or partly through the METSI program:

  • Transit Connectivity Study. The study will determine how to improve regional public transit system connectivity to the social determinants of health and quality-of-life in the region consisting of Bureau, Grundy, LaSalle, Marshall, Putnam, and Stark Counties in north central Illinois.
  • Transit Availability and Accessibility Project.  Researchers have mapped the volume of automobile, single-unit truck, and multi-unit truck statistics across the state and created a map package file that contains the volume of total flows of major roads in the state of Illinois and their volume/capacity ratios.
  • Work from Home Study. The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused catastrophic public health, economic, and social crises that are expected to last for decades. Travel restrictions, social distancing, closing non-essential businesses, and self-isolation were among the various protective measures implemented to contain and slow down the spread of the coronavirus responsible for the pandemic. Heading to and from work was another critical element of our daily life impacted by the pandemic. This study will investigate the potential benefits of telecommuting and analyze underlying barriers.
  • Monetized Cost of Railroad Crossing Delays Occurring in Illinois Low-Income Communities and Analysis of Selected Mitigation Measures. The research team used the simulation program INTEGRATION to estimate the impacts at each of the eight at-grade rail crossings in Dolton, IL. The outputs of the simulations were then used to estimate the impacts in terms of delay, fuel consumption, and air pollutant emissions (CO, NOx, and VOC). When monetized, the impacts of the eight at-grade rail crossings in Dolton are estimated to be over $70 million annually.

For more information on the program, please contact Dr. Sriraj via email or call 312-413-7568.

METSI Overview Heading link

  • Funding Bi-Annual Grant from IDOT

  • Duration Since Fiscal Year 1999

  • Goal Improve Illinois Transportation