16:45 PM

Creating a New Mobility Pathway for Future Student Success

Alstom and Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering sign collaboration memo for research and student engagement


Above from left: Mark Gruber, Head of Urban rail Development Center, Alstom, Americas, with Sanjeev G. Shroff, Interim U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering and David Trayhan, Vice President, Automated People Movers, Alstom Americas, at the MOU signing in Benedum Hall. 

As any Pittsburgher knows, getting from Point A to B can be a challenge. And from a mobility perspective, new technologies are critical to making transportation smarter, more sustainable, and energy efficient. To tap into that potential for new knowledge, Alstom and the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering have entered a memorandum of understanding to build new research and student engagement programs for Pitt students.

“We have many challenges facing our society and environment today,” said David Trayhan, Vice President, Automated People Movers, Alstom Americas. “We must work together to accelerate progress and agreements to share knowledge, latest technologies and future innovation that are enablers to our collective success. I look forward to working with the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering to advance research and thought leadership in technologies to accelerate the creation of a better quality of life for our communities.”

Alstom is a mobility technology leader in the U.S., with a 160-year history steeped in its experience building and repairing rail cars and locomotives, and in supplying signaling solutions for America’s great cities, agencies, and airports, such as New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New Jersey Transit, Caltrans, and Amtrak, as well as America’s freight railroads. More than 4,300 Alstom employees work at over 40 sites across the country. In Pennsylvania, approximately 650 employees work at locations in Pittsburgh, West Mifflin and Philadelphia, developing urban rail signaling solutions, such as the first ever radio-based moving block communications-based train control system, Cityflo™, in addition to building traction and automated people movers, and managing domestic and international rail infrastructure projects. The company seeks to engage the Swanson School’s research faculty and students across four collaborative pillars:

  • Student Recruitment (Undergraduate and Graduate/PhD)
  • Research (Sponsored Research, Federal Collaborations, Fee for Service)
  • Student Projects (Undergraduate)
  • Alstom as Teacher (Undergraduate)

“I am excited and proud to formally start this cooperative effort with Alstom and the University of Pittsburgh,” added Mark Gruber, Head of Urban rail Development Center, Alstom, Americas, said. “As a University of Pittsburgh alumnus, I am particularly aware of the tremendous value the faculty and students here can bring to the complex and societally important solutions that Alstom develops in Pittsburgh and around the world for not only projects and customers here in the U.S. but also globally.”

In addition to partnering to attract potential federal funding for research projects, both Alstom and the Swanson School are keen for establishing mentorship, research, and career pathways for undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students. Sanjeev Shroff, Interim U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering, explained that corporate engagement is an important dimension in preparing engineering students for a global career.

“Dynamic industry partnerships are critical to further research and ensure student experiences and success in and out of the classroom. This MOU with Alstom will provide a beneficial link for our growing faculty expertise in transportation and mobility, as well as career development opportunities for our students,” Shroff noted. “I want to thank David Trayhan, Mark Gruber, and the Alstom leadership for engaging in this new endeavor with the Swanson School.”

The five-year agreement will continue through fall 2027, with on-campus events for students and twice-yearly executive committee meetings to review progress and planning through each of the four Pillars.


About Alstom

The work was supported by funds from the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under grant number DE-FG02-90ER45438. The University of Pittsburgh Center for Research Computing provided computational facilities.