The Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), a University of California organized research unit with branches at Irvine, DavisUCLA, and Berkeley, was established to foster research, education, and training in the field of transportation.

A fundamental goal of the Institute is the stimulation of interdisciplinary research on contemporary transportation issues. ITS research at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) involves faculty and students from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, the School of Social Ecology, the Paul Merage School of Business, the School of Law, and the Bren School of Information and Computer Science. The Institute also hosts visiting scholars from the U.S. and abroad to facilitate cooperative research and information exchange, and sponsors conferences and colloquia to disseminate research results. ITS is also part of the University of California Transportation Center (UCTC), one of ten federally designated centers for transportation research and education, and a member of the Council of University Transportation Centers, (CUTC).

Research at ITS covers a broad spectrum of transportation issues. Current funded research projects at Irvine focus upon:

  • Intelligent transportation systems, particularly connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) and their relationship to advanced transportation management systems
  • Analysis and simulation of urban traffic networks
  • Transportation system operations and control
  • Travel demand forecasting and analysis of complex travel behavior
  • Freight operations
  • Transportation/land use interactions, particularly those which encourage alternative modes of travel
  • Planning and evaluation of advanced public transit systems
  • Transportation pricing and regulation
  • Energy and environmental issues, particularly demand for alternative fuels
  • Effect of land-use on transportation demand
  • Artificial intelligence in transportation
  • Growth of automobile use in the U.S. and Western Europe

Research on advanced transportation technologies, a focus at Irvine, is supported by a wide range of programs and sponsored research projects. These include:

  • UC ITS Mobility Research Program, funded by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1)
  • Pacific Southwest Regional Region 9 University Transportation Center
  • Various sponsored research projects with California Air Resources Board, Caltrans, the California Energy Commission, and other State agencies

The transportation research program at Irvine is also supported by computerized access to the ITS Transportation Library at UC Berkeley. In addition to the resources available from the ITS Berkeley Library, ITS at UCI subscribes to the major transportation research journals and offers a variety of computer-based information retrieval services. ITS is linked to the broader professional community through a series of research colloquia and specialty conferences. The latter programs attract an international audience.

The Institute maintains a publication series which documents research conducted within its programs from 1976-2013.