The center SURLC combines the talents of the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) and the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI) into an organization that can enhance livability in small urban and rural communities.


The mission of the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center is to conduct research and provide leadership, education, workforce development and technology transfer in all transportation related aspects of livability focusing specifically on small urban and rural areas.

Livability Principles

SURLC will focus on the six key livability principles (as defined by the U.S. DOT), which are:

  • Provide more transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs and reduce our dependence on oil, improve air quality, and promote public health.
  • Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined costs of housing and transportation.
  • Improve the economic competitiveness of neighborhoods by giving people reliable access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs.
  • Target Federal funding toward existing communities through transit-oriented and land recycling, to revitalize communities, reduce public work costs, and safeguard rural landscapes.
  • Align Federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the effectiveness of programs to plan for future growth.
  • Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe and walkable neighborhoods, whether rural, urban or suburban.

Aerial View of Small Urban town, Bozeman, MT