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COTA Spotlight

Founded in 1996, COTA has been constantly growing as one of the largest associations for transportation researchers and engineers oversea and building stronger connections among transportation professionals from China and all around the world. Many people have contributed to COTA’s success. In the series of COTA spotlight stories, COTA would love to acknowledge these figures for their outstanding service and continuing supports to the COTA community.

COTA Spotlight List (A - Z)

Kangzhi Liang
Mr. Kangzhi (Kyle) Liang

Mr. Kangzhi (Kyle) Liang (Founding Member of COTA)

Mr. Kangzhi (Kyle) Liang was a founding member of COTA (peviously NACOTA). He was one of few key individuals that helping establishing an organization comprised by transportation professionals in North America who origainally came from mainland China or those who were not born in mainland but having vast interest on transportation development in China. He served as the board member in the first NACOTA board. He helped organizing the 1st NACOTA opening and conference, and participated the establishment of 1st NACOTA Bylaw.
Kyle helped organizing the COTA's winter conference during TRB every year from 1996 to 2008. He helped Dr. Ping Yi, fromer COTA president, to establish and edit the NACOTA financial regulation.
Kyle helped COTA's official registration in 2010 during the transition of NACOTA to COTA. He attended most of COTA conferences and presented the topics related with traffic and transportation engineering. As a continuously active member of COTA, Kyle now still serves as a volunteer and an advisor to the COTA board.
Mr. Liang has more than 30 years of transportation and traffic engineering experience in both the U.S. and China. He currently serves as a "Senior Planning Specialist" at the Division of Traffic Engineering & Operations, Department of Transportation, Montgomery County, Maryland. At his position, Kyle is responsible for

  • Managing a team of 8 engineers and technicians to implement hundreds of transportation projects each year conducted by internal study team and external consulting firms related to transportation planning and traffic control plans for regional urban and suburban development projects. Up to two thousand successfully implemented transportation and traffic projects to-date.
  • Coordinating with other offices, departments, governments, and citizen associations for project and program implementation. Represent Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Engineering at local stakeholder meetings.
  • Preparing Montgomery County Department of Transportation pedestrian and bicycle safety publications for Transportation Research Board.
Prior to joining the Montgomery County, Maryland, Kyle worked as the Transportation Engineer at Virginia Department of Transportation (1999-2002), and the Transportation Engineer at State Highway Administration, Maryland Department of Transportation (1994-1999). Kyle holds master degree of civil engineering from University of Maryland at College Park, and bachelor degree in Transportation Engineering Management, from Northern Jiaotong University, Beijing, P.R.China.
In addition, Kyle serves an advisory professor at Beijing Jiaotong University. He already delivered 6 lectures and 2 short courses to-date focusing on transportation planning and traffic engineering at it relates to urban development and the environment, specifically smart growth, traffic safety and management, and urban street design and operations. His lecture venues includes Beijing Jiaotong University, Hebei University of Technology, Tongji University, Southeast University, Southwest Jiaotong University, various government transportation departments in China, and the Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China.
Kyle is also an active member at the local Chinese community. He served as Board Chairman (2008–2013) at Hope Chinese School, Washington Metropolitan Area, USA.

jian Lu
Mr. Jian (John) Lu

Mr. Jian (John) Lu (Past COTA President and a Founding Member of COTA)

陆键是NACOTA(现称:COTA)1996年成立时的第一届理事会董事,并一直担任理事会董事直到2004年,是NACOTA的funder member之一,陆键于2000年-2002年担任NACOTA的第三任主席。陆键对NACOTA的主要贡献是:(1)首次发起NACOTA在美国华盛顿DC的学术年会和招待年会,连续主持NACOTA在华盛顿DC的第一届、第二届、第三届的学术年会和招待年会的主要组织工作;(2)首次发起NACOTA在中国的学术年会,主持NACOTA在中国的第一届(同济大学,上海)、第二届(东南大学,南京)、第四届(武汉理工大学,武汉)、第七届(同济大学,上海)的学术年会。在NACOTA早期的发展中,在华盛顿DC的连续学术年会和招待年会奠定了NACOTA在美国的成长基础,并在国际华人交通学者中产生了良好的影响力;NACOTA在中国早期的连续学术年会也奠定了NACOTA在中国的发展基础,为NACOTA(COTA)后来在中国交通界的学术影响力做出了开创性的发展工作,其意义非常深远。
陆键于1990年毕业于美国德克萨斯大学奥斯汀校区(University of Texas at Austin),并获得土木工程专业(交通运输方向)博士学位。在1990-1993年期间,陆键任职于美国纽约交通部工程研究局(Engineering Research Bureau, New York Department of Transportation),担任研究员职务;1993-1995年期间任教于美国阿拉斯加大学(University of Alaska Fairbanks);1995年开始任教于美国南佛罗里达大学(University of South Florida),并于2004年成为南佛罗里达大学土木与环境工程系交通运输专业终身正教授。 陆键于2000年9月受聘为中国教育部第三批 “长江学者”奖励计划特聘教授,并于2000-2009年期间任教于东南大学交通学院,是东南大学的教授和博士导师;在2009-2014年期间任职于上海交通大学船舶海洋与建筑工程学院交通运输工程学科教授,同时担任致远冠名讲席教授,博士生导师,兼任上海交通大学交通研究中心主任;2010年1月入选中组部“千人计划”;2014年起任职于同济大学交通运输工程学院,担任院长职务,并于2014年9月辞去美国大学的终身教授职务。

Zhongren Peng
Dr. Zhongren Peng

Dr.. Zhongren Peng (Past Vice President of COTA)

Dr. Peng is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Florida and the Zhiyuan Chair Professor and Director of the Center for ITS and UAV Applications Research at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China. His major research interests are in the areas of transportation planning, ITS, geographic information science, and transportation and environment. He has worked as a Principal Investigator or Co-PI on numerous research projects. Funding for his research, in excess of $7 million, has been provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Geographic Data Committee, and different state departments of transportation. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles in academic journals and is the principal author of Internet GIS: Distributed Geographic Information Services for the Internet and Wireless Networks.

Bin Ran
Dr. Bin Ran

Dr. Bin Ran (Past President and a Founding Member of COTA)

Dr. Bin Ran was a founding member of COTA (peviously NACOTA). He served as the 1st President of NACOTA, from 1996 to 1998.
During 1993-1994, a small committee was formed to organize the formation of NACOTA (North America China Overseas Transportation Association). Specifically, Bin Ran and Jun Wang were leading the effort of this committee. Bin Ran was responsible to contact the faculty, staff and students in universities and Jun Wang was responsible to contact professionals in government agencies. Kang-Zhi Liang volunteered to contact professionals in the Washington DC area and take care of the logistics.
After the formation of NACOTA, Bin Ran served as the 1st President of its Board of Directors. By working closely with Board members and advisors, a set of rules and bylaws were set up. An important outcome was the determination of “2-year term” for its office positions, including President, Vice President, and Board of Directors. In the 20-year history of COTA, this determination was proven to be successful in the establishment of balance and check as well as attracting the continuous effort of generations of transportation engineering professionals in promoting COTA worldwide.
Dr. Bin Ran is a Professor and Director of ITS Program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He also served as the Director of the Traffic Operations and Safety Lab (TOPS) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Dr. Ran holds the title of National Distinguished Expert in China.
Dr. Ran is an expert in dynamic transportation network models, traffic simulation and control, traffic information system, and Internet of Mobility (Connected Vehicles). He has led the development and deployment of various traffic information systems and technologies in the US and China. He has trained younger generations of professors and experts in traffic engineering and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the US, China, Korea, and other countries.
Dr. Ran is the author of two leading textbooks on dynamic traffic networks. He has co-authored more than 110 journal papers and more than 200 referenced papers at national and international conferences. He co-authored 6 books on intelligent highways in China. He holds 3 US patents and 7 Chinese patents, and has a few patents pending in the US and China. He is an associate editor of Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Ran held positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley. He is active in the Transportation Research Board and Intelligent Transportation Society of America. Dr. Ran received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1993, his MS from the University of Tokyo in 1989, and his BS from Tsinghua University in 1986.

Xiaoduan Sun
Dr. Xiaoduan Sun

Dr. Xiaoduan Sun (Founding Member of COTA)

Dr. Sun was a founding member of COTA (previously NACOTA) and board member during its 1995-2002 term. In 1995, she was one of the seven founding members elected at the very first NACOTA meeting in Washington D.C. during the annual TRB meeting. At the birth of the NACOTA, the board members worked hard to build a strong foundation for the organization to grow into the future. The entire budget of the organization at the first few years was from membership and very small funding was available from the host universities for the NACOTA annual conference in China because of the economic development situation then. Like all strong spirit board members working diligently to establish the organization presence in China, Dr. Sun was responsible for the 2002 NACOTA Highway Safety Workshop in Beijing. She was also the NACOTA organizer for the 2003 and 2006 annual conferences in Beijing and Xian, respectively. One of the key responsibilities being a treasure, Dr. Sun reported to the board the budget/expenses even the amount was insignificant (compared to the current operating budget). In the last decade, Dr. Sun continued to support COTA and actively involved COTA‘s activities as an active member, an advisor and a committee member working on various issues.

Dr. Sun has been a professor of civil engineering at University of Louisiana for the past 22 years since obtaining Ph.D from the Ohio State University. Her research and teaching are mainly on highway safety—from infrastructure to human behavior. Based on her of years researching and teaching experience, Dr. Sun developed a highway safety class to undergraduate (as an elective) and graduate students. She is one of the few professors in civil engineering teaching a whole semester class on highway safety. Dr. Sun also served as specially invited professor to Beijing University of Technology from 2003-2006 conducting major projects on roadway safety at the national level. Because of that, Dr. Sun still has a solid connection with the university in research and graduate program.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Sun has advised hundreds of graduate students and published more than 100 papers and research reports mainly on highway safety. In recent years, her research has involved using cutting-edge data analysis techniques to safety analysis due to the collaboration with researchers in computer science. Dr. Sun is currently a member of TRB Committee on Safety Performance, ASCE Highway Safety Committee and TRB Committee on Transportation in Developing Countries. She has also served as NCHRP panel member for a dozen of safety-related projects in the past decade. Dr. Sun was appointed in 2010 as a World Bank consultant for a road safety initiative in China. Since 2000, Dr. Sun has been awarded two professorships at University of Louisiana.

Jun Wang
Mr. Jun Wang

Mr. Jun Wang (Past President and a Founding Member of COTA)

Mr. Wang was a founding member of COTA (peviously NACOTA) and the second COTA president during its 1998-1999 term. In 1995, he was one of the two key individuals iniciated the idea of establishing an organization comprised by transportation professionals in North America who origainally came from mainland China or those who were not born in mainland but having vast interest on transportation development in China. At the time he was responsible for recruiting and organizing COTA members from transportation practitioners and administrators with both public and private secter experiences in North America. He, as one of the key COTA leadership members in its infancy, helped to craft and establish COTA’s principle and operational structure which laid a foundation for COTA’s healthy development over last two decades.
After his leaving from COTA leadership positions, Jason continued to support COTA and actively involved COTA‘s activities as an active member, a volunteer and an advisor. In 2010, with COTA developed into a mature professional organization let by its new generations of superb leadership, he pioneered and volunteered to lead an effort to coorperate with the World Bank’s China transport team to organize an annual COTA-World Bank China Transport Forum in COTA‘s CICTP series. With the World Bank being the only international organization who has maintained the largest international transportation funding porfolio in China for over last three decades along with its large pool of international transportation experts/consultants constantly working in China, this effort has provided an unique platform for sharing international best practices and knowledge for practical useage on the ground in China with Chinese transportaiton professionals, officials and the community.
Jason is currently a senior transportation advisor and a program director at the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) – an independent U.S. federal agency to foster economic and social development in the Appalachian region. In this position, he works with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of USDOT to administer the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) under the US federal surface transportation legislation. He is also a program manager for the Appalachian Local Access Road (LAR) program responsible for approval and implementation of the LAR projects across 13 Appalachian states.
Prior to joining the ARC, Jason worked as a highway safety research consultant at FHWA’s Turner Fairbanks Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, VA where he was one of the key members in development and operation of FHWA’s Highway Safety Information System (HSIS). He was also responsible for using the system to address highway safety issues with national significance and helped to shape various national highway safety programs and models with numerous professional publications and FHWA reports.
Jason is a graduate of USDOT’s Eisenhower Graduate Research Fellow program from which he completed his graduate thesis at the TFHRC. With the thesis, he won the 1st Charlie Wooden Best Thesis Award by the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) in 1995. He obtained his M.S. in Transportation from Morgan State University and held B.S. of Civil Engineering from the Beijing University of Technology. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Maryland and a member of Transportation and Economic Development Committee of TRB. Internationally, he was invited as a member of the international advisory board to an EU funded CCICED Task Force on Sustainable Transport in China and was appointed in 2010 as a World Bank consultant for a road safety initiative in China.

Yinhai Wang
Dr. Yinhai Wang

Dr. Yinhai Wang (Past President of COTA)

Dr. Wang served as president of NACOTA/COTA from 2010 to 2012 and vice president of NACOTA 2008-2010. He was the last president of NACOTA and first president of COTA. During his tenure as president of NACOTA/COTA, he made several major accomplishments: 1) made NACOTA a global organization by renaming it to COTA and setting up the first chapter out of North America (COTA-Europe); 2) revised COTA by-law to make the board of governor positions, election procedure, and duration of service clear and implementable; 3) standardized the procedure for hosting COTA summer conferences; 4) hired the first employee of COTA; and 5) moved COTA board member election online to ensure its openness and fairness, and only registered COTA members have to right to vote.

Dr. Yinhai Wang is a professor in transportation engineering and electrical engineering. He is the founding director of the Smart Transportation Applications and Research Laboratory (STAR Lab) at the University of Washington (UW) and serves as director for Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans), USDOT University Transportation Center for Federal Region 10. He has a Ph.D. in transportation engineering from the University of Tokyo (1998) and a master's degree in computer science from the UW. Dr. Wang’s active research fields include traffic sensing, e-science of transportation, transportation safety, etc. He has published over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and delivered more than 110 invited talks and nearly 200 other academic presentations.

Dr. Wang serves as a member of the Transportation Information Systems and Technology Committee and Highway Capacity and Quality of Service Committee of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). He is currently a member of the steering committee for the IEEE Smart Cities and chaired the First IEEE International Smart Cities Conference in 2015. He was an elected member of the Board of Governors for the IEEE ITS Society from 2010 to 2013 and served on the Board of Governors for the ASCE Transportation & Development Institute 2013-2015. Additionally, Dr. Wang is associate editor for three journals: Journal of ITS, Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, and Journal of Transportation Engineering. He was the winner of the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering Best Paper Award for 2003.

Heng Wei
Dr. Heng Wei

Dr. Heng Wei (Immediate Past President of COTA)

Dr. Heng Wei is a Professor of Transportation Systems and Engineering, and Director of Advanced Research in Transportation Engineering & Systems (ART-Engines) Laboratory at The University of Cincinnati (UC).

Dr. Wei has served on the COTA Board of Director (BOD) since he was first elected in January 2008. Later, he was elected as the President of COTA in January 2012. Under Dr. Wei’s leadership, the CICTP has become one of the highest-quality and largest scholarly transportation conferences in China with sponsorships from TRB, ASCE T&DI and Elsevier. He initialized several special events that have since become spotlights of the conference, typically including TRB Standing Committee Chairs Forum, COTA-World Bank China Transport Forum, and COTA Education Workshop. Those programs have greatly promoted the CICTP to be an internationally recognized and respected event, which has successfully attracted many prestigious international scholars and experts to the conference. The CICTP has become more than just a conference -- not only a platform connecting professionals in China and other countries, but also an event that has a tremendous impact on those who attend. To date, Dr. Wei has organized and chaired 31 conferences or sessions, symposiums or workshops for mostly influential transportation related associations, including TRB, IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society (ITSS), INFORMS, Ohio Transportation Engineering Conference (OTEC), and COTA.

Dr. Wei has a wide spectrum of research interests and expertise in transportation systems, including intelligent transportation systems (ITS), traffic big data, traffic flow and driving behavior theory and simulation modeling, traffic control and safety, travel demand environmental conformity modeling, advanced computing and information technologies in transportation infrastructure systems, artificial intelligent techniques in transportation, and geographic information system (GIS) application in transportation. Since his faculty appointment at UC, he has secured 33 research projects from ODOT, FHWA, NSF, EPA, UTCs, and UC URC/FDC. His research has resulted in 163 peer-reviewed papers and 9 professional books/chapters. He has been honored with UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Distinguished Researcher Award for Excellence in Research and Engineering Master Educator Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as Honored Faculty/Staff Who Made a Real Difference in the Life of a UC Student. Dr. Wei has served on a member of numerous outstanding professional committees, such as TRB AND20, ABJ70 and ABE90 Committees, ASCE T&DI Committees on Advanced Technology Committee and Transportation Safety and on Sustainability and Environment, ITS Midwest Communications Committee, ITS Midwest Recognition Committee, ITS Midwest Technical & Training Committee, and PCTrans Traffic Simulation Software Review Panel. He is the Chair of IEEE ITSS Travel Information and Traffic Management Committee. Dr. Wei has successfully organized and/or chaired 28 international conferences/sessions and symposiums.

Prior to joining The University of Cincinnati, Dr. Wei was a lecturer faculty for University of Southern California and California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, where he offered civil and transportation engineering courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, Dr. Wei has 5.5 years of industrial experience. Representative technical consulting projects include: the Illinois DOT Transportation System Center Upgrade Project (Chicago Illinois), US National ITS Architecture Maintenance Project, FAST-TRAC Traffic Information Management System Maintenance Project (Oakland County, Michigan), Michigan DOT ITS Center Software Maintenance Project, the City of Franklin TMC Build Project (Tennessee), and Traffic Control and Monitoring System ITS Project (Pasadena, California). Through those practices, Dr. Wei has accumulated hand-on experiences in applications of advanced computing, communication and information technologies in transportation systems. Moreover, Dr. Wei had participated in several major transportation planning and travel demand forecasting, traffic impact and signal control improvement projects for cities in Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and California, as well as, freeway system operation assessment project for Wisconsin DOT and I-71 ramp metering project for Ohio DOT.

Ping Yi
Dr. Ping Yi

Dr. Ping Yi (Past President and a Founding Member of COTA)

Dr. Ping Yi served as the President of COTA (formerly NACOTA) from 2008 to 2009. His involvement in COTA started on the founding day of the organization in a snowstorm of 1996, when more than thirty Chinese scholars and students gathered in a meeting room in the Washington Hilton Hotel during the TRB annual conference.
In the crowd of heated debate on how the board members should be elected, Ping volunteered to conduct the election while excusing himself from being considered as a board member. Ping helped Bin Ran and Jun Wang with meeting procedures and candidates nomination, and completed the election to found the first board of directors of the organization.
For nearly the entire twenty years since COTA was formed, Ping has actively participated in and contributed to the organization in different capacities. He served as a board member for two different boards, acted as the academic committee chair and conference chair of COTA’s winter or summer conference, and served as Vice President and President of the organization. In 2008, Ping led the board to organize a disaster relief fund raiser campaign after a series of winter storms affected large portions of southern and central China with heavy snows, ice and cold temperatures causing extensive damage and transportation disruption.
Dr. Yi is a professor and a registered professional engineer in the Department of Civil Engineering of The University of Akron. His areas of research include traffic control and safety, information systems and technology, and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Dr. Yi served as the Director of Ohio Transportation Consortium, managing a USDOT sponsored university transportation research program in Ohio. Dr. Yi has completed many research projects on various topics and published over one hundred journal papers and project reports in his field of practice. Prior to joining the academia, Dr. Yi was a research scientist and principal engineer in the Minnesota DOT’s IVHS/ITS Office, where he managed several federally funded ITS operational test projects over sensors testing, adaptive signals, parking information systems, and incident and special event management. Dr. Yi has been a member of many professional associations, and served on different technical as well as managerial committees in TRB, IDEA-ITS, ASCE and other state level organizations. Dr. Ping Yi’s education background includes a Ph.D from University of Minnesota and a M.S. from Washington State University. He obtained his B.S. degree from Wuhan University in China.

Lei Yu
Dr. Lei Yu

Dr. Lei Yu (Past President and a Founding Member of COTA)

Dr. Lei Yu served as the President of the North America China Oversea Transportation Association (NACOTA) during 2001-2003 and the Vice-President during 2000-2001. During his tenure at NACOTA, he organized the 4th and 5th Technical Symposium on Important Issues of Transportation Development in China in Washington, DC in 2001 and 2002. He was one of the team members who initiated the first NACOAT China Conference in Tongji University. He was also involved in the organization of the first several NACOTA China conferences between 2001 and 2004. He was an active facilitator and promotor of the mission of NACOTA in early 2000s.

Dr. Yu is currently the Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Texas Southern University. In this position, he serves as chief academic and administrative officer of the College under the general direction of Provost, and provides leadership in formulating educational policies. Academic departments under his direction include Aviation Science and Technology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Environmental and Interdisciplinary Sciences, Industrial Technology, Mathematics, Physics, and Transportation Studies. He also oversees a number of significant research centers .

Dr. Yu originally joined the faculty in the Department of Transportation Studies in 1994, and is currently serving as a Professor of Transportation Planning and Management. Previously, he had served as the Interim Chair and Chair of Department of Transportation Studies for 12 years. Since 2000, he has joined Beijing Jiaotong University as a Yangtze River Scholar in Transportation Planning and Management. Dr. Yu is a professional engineer registered in the State of Texas. He received his Ph.D. degree in Civil/Transportation Systems Engineering from Queen’s University (Canada) in 1994, M.S. Degree in Production and Systems Engineering from Nagoya Institute of Technology (Japan) in 1988, and Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Transportation Management Engineering from Beijing Jiaotong University (China) in 1984.

Fang Zhao
Dr. Fang Zhao

Dr. Fang Zhao (Past President of COTA)

赵放博士生前是弗罗里达国际大学土木和环境工程系终身教授,注册工程师。她同时担任莱曼交通研究中心的副主任。赵博士在北京建工学院获工程学士学位,在美国卡内基麦隆大学(Carnegie Mellon University)获土木工程硕士和博士学位。
赵博士的研究领域包括:地理信息系统及遥感、交通规划、公交规划和运营、新型公交技术、人工神经网络、优化技术、交通仿真、交通数据分析和系统建模。 赵博士是美国交通研究局新技术和系统委员会、公交规划和发展委员会的成员,也是很多工程方面的学术刊物的审稿人。

COTA paid special tribute to Dr. Fang Zhao's dedication on the growth of COTA (formerly NACOTA).
Special Newsletter Dedicated to Dr. Zhao | Dr. Zhao in the Memory

Weibin Zhang
Mr. Weibin Zhang

Mr. Weibing Zhang (Past Vice President and a Founding Member of COTA)

Mr. Zhang joined UC-Berkeley in 1987 and participated in the early founding of PATH Program. His research covers all spectrums of ITS. He was the Technical Director of National Automated Highway Systems Consortium, a $210 million national program led by the USDOT and General Motors. He later managed the Congressionally-mandated technical feasibility demonstration of Automated Highway Systems in 1997. Since 1997, he has played a critical role in transforming PATH to an entrepreneurial multi-faceted applied research organization, delivering many internationally-renowned ITS research projects. He is a member of ITS American International Council and was the Chair of ITS America’s China Committee. He is currently the Vice President for Conferences of the IEEE ITS Society and was a founder for North America Chinese Transportation Association (NOCOTA, now COTA).