UC Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS)

With worsening traffic congestion threatening economic growth and quality of life, as well as daunting energy and climate change challenges, California and the nation need new forms of transportation and new ways of thinking about transportation. 

The UC Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), a multicampus research unit with branches on four UC campuses, is recognized as the premier center of transportation research in the world. It teams UC researchers from more than 30 disciplines on six UC campuses to address critical state goals in high priority areas such as climate change, urban sustainability and air quality, infrastructure and energy, transportation system performance/optimization, and taxation and finance.

With these priorities and additional State funding in mind, ITS has developed an ambitious research agenda focused on ten key initiatives:

  • Data-Enabled Decision and Policy Making
  • Sustainable Transportation Finance
  • Greenhouse Gas and Oil Reduction
  • Vehicle Travel and Land Use Integration
  • Connected and Automated Transportation
  • Public Transit
  • Sustainable Goods Movement
  • Infrastructure Resilience: Disaster Management and Cybersecurity
  • Mobility and the Sharing Economy
  • High Speed Rail (HSR)

ITS has been funded with a small portion of the fuel taxes that have supported the Public Transportation Account (PTA) since 1947. Since its inception, the PTA funding for the Institute has risen from $60,000 over 60 years to a current total of $980,000. If the original funding allocation had increased with inflation over the past 68 years, it would amount to $9.7 million in 2015.  Additional state investment is critical to enabling ITS researchers to actively support the state in addressing its priorities and specific immediate and long-term needs. Accordingly, ITS has proposed an ambitious new research push, developed a request for a multi-million dollar budget augmentation to increase total PTA funding, and agreed on a memorandum of understanding on how these funds would be spent across all campus locations in order to better harness UC research for productive use by the state.  The ITS funding augmentation request was successful, and ITS received an additional $3 million in one-time funding for the 2016-17 fiscal year.  Beginning in 2018, ITS is receiving an additional $5 million per year from the new Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account created by SB 1, bringing its total state funding allocation to $5.98 million per year.

To learn more, visit the ITS campus websites at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine and UCLA.

To learn about other statewide or multicampus programs, click here.