The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Research and Technology (OST-R) within the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded, in the fall of 2013, a grant to establish the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS). The Center for Railway Safety, which is headquartered at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), operates as a consortium with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) and the University of Nebraska Transportation Center (NTC).
As a Tier 1 University Transportation Center, UTCRS works to develop and manage programs to address Railway Industry and USDOT safety and efficiency concerns. UTCRS consortium partners conduct research according to their areas of expertise. The UTRGV (lead institution) focuses its research on Railway Mechanical Components Safety, TAMU focuses its research on Infrastructure Safety, and UNL focuses its research on Operations Safety.