ECSU partners with DOT

Marsha McLean
March 10, 2005ecsu-partners-with-dot Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett and Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) Chancellor Mickey L. Burnim signed a research services agreement today establishing a new partnership between the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and ECSU to study the transportation needs of small municipalities in eastern North Carolina. Researchers at ECSU will be conducting the study, and NCDOT will fund the $50,000 project through state and federal research dollars. "Transportation is about far more than improving mobility; it also serves as an important catalyst for economic development and opens the door to numerous business, educational and cultural opportunities," said Secretary Tippett. "It is important that the citizens of our rural communities have access to high-quality transportation, and we are pleased to partner with Chancellor Burnim and ECSU to research ways to improve our level of service to eastern North Carolina's small municipalities." "Elizabeth City State University is committed to serving the educational and economic needs of North Carolinians and embraces opportunities for partnerships that advance economic development in our region of the state," said Chancellor Burnim. "This new agreement with NCDOT involves all parts of our mission and is an excellent opportunity for us to work together to make a true difference for rural communities here in northeastern North Carolina." ECSU was selected to participate in this research project because of its strategic location east of Interstate 95 and its strong expertise on the subject of community development in eastern North Carolina. The research project will focus on the eastern part of the state because a high percentage of the state's small, economically-disadvantaged municipalities are concentrated in that region. During Phase I of the project, researchers will identify all small rural municipalities east of I-95 and compile a contact list for those municipalities and their elected officials. They will also gather basic information about each community. In Phase II, a representative sample of elected officials and local leaders from the municipalities will be interviewed about the transportation issues faced by their communities. An interim report will consist of a directory containing demographic and contact information for each municipality, and the final report will summarize the results of the surveys and recommend ways to improve the working relationship between the municipalities and NCDOT. The results of the study will be used to develop a training curriculum for small municipality community leaders through the UNC Institute of Government. The information gathered will also encourage collaboration between small rural municipalities and the department, aiding in the development of a more efficient, environmentally-sensitive and modern transportation system in North Carolina. For more information, please contact State Research and Analysis Engineer Dr. Moy Biswas, P.E., at (919) 715-2465 or biswas@dot.state.nc.us.