ZEV-NET Program Wins Transportation Excellence Award


UCI's ZEV-NET (Zero Emission Vehicle - Network Enabled Transport) program, the largest shared-use, station car project in the nation, won the 2002 Transportation Excellence Award from the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). ZEV-NET was recognized for "exemplary efforts in improving mobility in Orange County" during a ceremony held on September 30, 2002.

ZEV-NET combines rail and zero- and low-emission vehicles in a far-reaching initiative led by UCI's National Fuel Cell Research Center and Institute of Transportation Studies. Partners also include the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, the City of Irvine, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and The Irvine Company. The goal of the pilot program is to use today's emerging technologies--low and zero-emission vehicles, stationary fuel cells, advanced communication and global positioning technologies and the Internet--to solve complex problems like traffic congestion, air pollution and oil dependency.

"We are pleased with this recognition of ZEV-NET and the role of public/private strategic alliances to address major challenges facing California," said Scott Samuelsen, engineering professor and director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center, which manages ZEV-NET. "ZEV-NET proactively addresses projected grid-lock and environmental degradation with an alternative that participants are finding both enjoyable and functional, while increasing their productivity."

ZEV-NET was one of 19 organizations and individuals honored this year with OCTA Transportation Partnership Awards. Awards were presented in five categories: Transportation Demand Management, Transportation Communications, Technological Innovations, Ideas/Advocacy and Transportation Excellence.

"ZEV-NET is a unique university research platform for exploring transportation alternatives in our future," said engineering professor Will Recker, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies, which is managing the transportation research aspects of ZEV-NET. "In addition to shared-use, station-car applications, the OCTA award acknowledges the role of ZEV- NET to explore next-generation vehicles and next-generation vehicle communication and information systems."

ZEV-NET was launched at the Irvine Transit Center on April 18, 2002. By December 2002, more than 10 corporations will be sharing a fleet of 50 vehicles to complement employee rail commutes and facilitate work-day business appointments.

The National Fuel Cell Research Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies are both associated with The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UCI. The Samueli School encompasses five departments: biomedical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, chemical engineering and materials science, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering. The school is home to numerous research centers, including the Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility, Center for Pervasive Communications and Center for Biomedical Engineering. The school also is a key participant in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, Cal-(IT)2. Additional information is available at www.eng.uci.edu and www.zevnet.org.