Transportation Systems Engineering

1. Introduction

Among leading centers for transportation research, the UCI Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a graduate program which is distinguished by its interdisciplinary approach to the study of contemporary urban transportation issues, and by its unique relationship with the UC Irvine Institute of Transportation Studies.Our program focuses on the planning, design, operation, and management of modern transportation and logistics systems.Emphasis is on the development of fundamental skills and knowledge in engineering, systems analysis, modeling, and planning, combined with advanced computational techniques, to address transportation problems affecting urban travel and goods movement.

The program affords a variety of outstanding opportunities for well-qualified and motivated students to contribute to important research as well as gain valuable experience as professional transportation engineers and planners.Financial support through research or teaching assistantships and a variety of fellowships and scholarships is available to qualified students.

2. Transportation Engineering Faculty

The following constitute the faculty in the graduate program in Transportation Systems Engineering:

R. (Jay) Jayakrishnan Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
PhD, University of Texas, Austin

Transportation Systems Analysis, Operational Research, Traffic Theory and Simulation, Transit Modeling
Wenlong Jin Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
PhD, University of California, Davis

Traffic flow theory, transportation network analysis, intelligent transportation systems
Michael McNally Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
PhD, University of California , Irvine

Transportation Systems Analysis, Travel Behavior, Advanced Transportation Management System
Will Recker Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
PhD, Carnegie-Mellon University
Transportation Modeling, Travel Behavior, Traffic Engineering, Advanced Transportation Management Systems
Amelia Regan Professor of Computer Science and Civil and Environmental Engineering
PhD, University of Texas at Austin
Freight Network Analysis, Logistics, Information Technologies, Operations Research
Stephen Ritchie Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director, Institute of Transportation Studies
PhD, Cornell University
Transportation Engineering, Advanced Traffic Management and Control Systems, Emerging Technology Applications
Jean-Daniel Saphores Associate Professor of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Planning, Policy, and Design, and Department of Economics and Director, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Transportation Science
PhD, Cornell University
Transportation and Environmental Economics


The following UCI Faculty from other departments are active in transportation research and teaching:

David Brownstone Professor of Economic
PhD, University of California , Berkeley
Jan Brueckner Professor and Chair, Department of Economics
PhD, Stanford University
Urban economics, public economics, industrial organization, and housing finance
Rina Dechter Professor of Information and Computer Science
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Automated Reasoning in Artificial Intelligence
Joseph F. Dimento Professor of Information and Computer Science
PhD, J.D. University of Michigan
Planning, land use and environmental law, use of social science in policy making, legal control of corporate behavior
G.J. (Pete) Fielding Professor Emeritus of Social Sciences
PhD, University of California , Los Angeles
Urban Theory, Transportation Policy
Amihai Glazer Professor of Economics
PhD, Yale University
Consumer Behavior, Transportation
Douglas Houston Assistant Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Transportation, air pollution, urban inequality, environmental equity, spatial analysis.
Sandra Irani Associate Professor of Information and Computer Science
PhD, University of California , Berkeley
Analysis of algorithms, on-line algorithms, graph theory and combinatorics
L. Robin Keller Professor of Operations and Decision Technologies
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Decision analysis, risk analysis, creative problem structuring and behavioral decision theory
Raymond W. Novaco Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design
PhD, Indiana University
Human stress, aggression, community psychology
Scott Samuelsen Professor of Mechanical Aerospace and Environment Engineering
PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Energy generation, distribution and utilization including the production of electricity, motive power, and propulsive psychology
Kenneth Small Professor of Economics
PhD, University of California , Berkeley
Transportation Economics, Urban Economics
Rodolfo Torres Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, Chicano/Latino Studies, and Political Science
PhD, Claremont Graduate School
Specializations: critical urbanism, the state, class structures, studies in racism and inequalities, poverty and social policy

3. The Institute of Transportation Studies

The Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), a University of California Organized Research Unit , 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 UCI involves faculty and students from the School of Engineering , the School of Social Sciences , the Graduate School of Management, the School of Social Ecology , and the Department of Information and Computer Science.The Institute also hosts visiting scholars from the U.S. and abroad to facilitate collaborative research and information exchange, and sponsors conferences and colloquia to disseminate research results.

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

  • Intelligent transportation systems (ITS)
  • Planning and analysis of transportation systems
  • Transportation systems operation and control
  • Traffic flow modeling and network simulation
  • Network operations research
  • Public and private transit systems analysis
  • Artificial intelligence applications
  • Travel behavior analysis
  • Transportation engineering and safety
  • Transport economics, particularly congestion pricing and toll roads
  • Applications of information technologies in public, private, personal and freight transportation
  • Dynamic and stochastic freight and fleet management
  • Design and operation of logistics systems
  • Intermodal freight transportation
  • Third party logistics

The Institute is part of the University of California Transportation Center, one of ten federally designated centers for transportation research, the ITS Advanced Traffic Management Systems (ATMS) Laboratories provide facilities for the teaching, research, and development of ATMS strategies, and includes dedicated workstations tied directly to the City of AnaheimÆs Traffic Management Center (TMC), the Irvine Traffic Research and Analysis Center (ITRAC) and the CALTRANS District 12 Traffic Operations Center (TOC).The labs feature state of the art computer systems, a video teleconferencing center, and large screen displays of real-time traffic conditions throughout Southern California .áThe ATMS Lab also contains hardware and software dedicated to research projects in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems in Transportation Engineering and Control.áThe ATMS Lab also provides video cameras, recorders, monitors, and accessories for research in traffic detection, monitoring, and analysis, in addition to traffic signal controllers and a variety of traffic data collection devices.

These laboratories form the backbone of the State of CaliforniaÆs research initiative in ATMS The Caltrans UCI Advanced ATMS Testbed, together with the associated detector and surveillance subsystem and the large network traffic simulation software suite, provide unparalleled opportunities for research and development of applications of advanced technology in the management of transportation systems.

The transportation research program at Irvine is supported by the UCI campus libraries and by the ITS Transportation Library at UC Berkeley.In addition to the resources available from the ITS Berkeley Library, ITS Irvine subscribes to all transpiration research journals, and offers a variety of computer-based information retrieval services.ITS maintains a regular publication series which documents research conducted within its programs.The Institute is also the editorial headquarter of four international journals:

Transportation Research, Part A: Policy and Practice

Transportation Research, Part B: Methodological

Transportation Research, Part C: Emerging Technologies

Accident Analysis and Prevention

These journals are among the premier research journals in the field of transportation and are received by over 2,000 subscribes throughout the world.

4. Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of civil Engineering offers both the Master of Science (M.S) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degrees with a concentration in Transportation Systems Engineering.

M.S. Program

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree reflects in advanced levels of competence for professional practice as demonstrated by the achievements of greater breadth than the bachelorÆs degree and by the development of some depth in a specific area of transportation and urban systems engineering.Students may select between two alternative courses of study:ááa Thesis or an All-course Option.

The Thesis Option requires completion of a Master research thesis, the purpose of which is to demonstrate critical judgment, intellectual synthesis, and skill in written communication.The program requires successful completion of minimum of 36 units (quarter system), comprising required and elective formal courses and thesis research.This total includes successful completion of 21 units of core graduate transportation courses (listed in Section 5), other graduate academic unites (selected from courses numbered 200 through 289 in the UCI general catalog), and a maximum of 8 units for the thesis.All graduate students must enroll in the Transportation Engineering Research Seminar each quarter.The MS candidate must meet with an assigned faculty advisor to prepare a plan of study and to select a thesis topic (a sample MS Plan of Study form is attached).Students can normally expect to complete the degree in from one to two academic years.

The All-course Option also requires 36 units, of which at least 30 units must be from graduate-level courses, including the MS Core.No research thesis or comprehensive examination is required.This option allows for the degree to be achieved on a part-time basis.All other requirements are the same as for the Thesis Option.

Ph.D Program

The Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering indicates attainment of a breadth of scholarship, the ability to communicate advanced concepts, and the capacity for independent, innovative research.The doctoral program is tailored to the individual needs of each student, with a detailed program of study (a sample Program of Study form is attached) being formulated in consultation with an advisory committee in consideration of the objectives and preparation of the candidate.The program of study must be approved by the faculty of the School of Engineering.There are several PhD program milestones to be passed:

Admission to the program by the faculty of the School;

Satisfactory completion within one year of entrance of a preliminary examination to assess the studentÆs background and potential for success in the program;

Advancement to candidacy through a formal qualifying examination;

Completion of a significant, independent research investigation and dissertation;

An oral defense of the dissertation.

It is expected that all PhD students satisfy the core course program of the MS Degree Program or its equivalent.Each student must also complete a sequence of three approved courses in mathematics and a minimum of three advanced Transportation courses.PhD degrees are typically earned within two to four year after the MS degree, and within a maximum of seven years. A detailed description of the formal requirements of the Civil Engineering PhD in Transportation systems Engineering is available.

UC Irvine also offers interdisciplinary graduate degrees in Transportation Science.This program is directed toward those individuals who do not have a formal background in either Civil Engineering or Economics but who desire to pursue advanced studies in transportation.

As part of their program of study, students enrolled in the Ph.D program must complete at least three advanced transportation courses (selected from CE 220b, CE221b, CE223b, CE224b, CE225b, CE226b, and CE229b) and three advanced mathematics and statistics courses selected from the following:

Math 112 A, B, C Mathematical Methods for Engineering and Science
Math 114 A, B Applied Complex Analysis
Math 171 A, B, C Mathematical Methods of Operations Research (ECE 181 a ,b,c )
Math 201 A, B, C Mathematical Statistics/Regression/Experimental Design
Math 292 A, B, C Applied Mathematics
ME 201 A, B Engineering Analysis I,II
SS 220 A, B, C, D Statistics and Econometrics I,II,III,IV

5. Transportation Systems Engineering Courses

The following courses are taught by transportation and other Civil Engineering faculty.All undergraduate transportation courses are offer each academic year.All MS Core transportation courses are taught annually; other courses typically are taught in alternating years.Courses are identified with the associate faculty and quarter offered.

Undergraduate Transportation Courses

CEE 121 Transportation Systems I: Design and Analysis Ritchie Fall
CEE 123 Transportation Systems III: Planning and Forecasting McNally Spring
CEE 122 Transportation Systems II: Operations and Control Recker Winter

Graduate Transportation Courses

MS Core courses (shown in bold) are typically taught annually; other courses typically are taught in alternating years.

CEE 220A Transporation

Demand Analysis I

Recker Fall
CEE 220B Transportation Demand Analysis II Staff Spring
CEE 220C Transportation Demand Analysis III staff Spring
CEE 221A Transportation Systems Analysis I Jayakrishnan Fall
CEE 221B Transportation Systems Analysis II Staff Spring
CEE 222 Transit Systems Planning Jayakrishnan Spring
CEE 223A AI Techniques in Transportation I Ritchie Winter
CEE 223B AI Techniques in Transportation II Ritchie Spring
CEE 224A Transportation Data Analysis I Staff Winter
CEE 224B Transportation Data Analysis II Staff Spring
CEE 225A Transportation Planning Models I McNally Winter
CEE 225B Transportation Planning Models II McNally Spring
CEE 226A Traffic Flow Theory I Jayakrishnan Fall
CEE 226B Traffic Flow Theory II Recker Spring
CEE 227A Transportation Logistics I Regan Winter
CEE 227B Transportation Logistics II Regan Winter
CEE 227C Transportation Logistics III Regan Spring
CEE 228A Transportation Network Analysis I McNally Winter
CEE 228B Transportation Network Analysis II Jayakrishnan Spring
CEE 229A Traffic Systems Operation & Control I Ritchie Spring
CEE 229B Traffic Systems Operation & Control II Jayakrishnan Spring
CEE282 Stochastic Modeling and Simulation Regan Spring
CEE 295C Transportation Engineering Seminar Staff All quarters

Other Selected Graduate Courses

CEE 280 Computational Methods & Software Staff Fall
CEE 283 Math. Methods in Engineering Analysis Staff Fall
CEE 284 Engineering Decision and Risk Analysis Staff Fall
CEE 285,6 Reliability of Engineering Systems I,II Staff Winter
SS 223A Discrete Chice Econometrics Small Fall
SS 281A-B Urban Economics I,II Staff Fall
SS 282A-B Transportation Economics I,II Small Winter, Spring

6. Further Information

For further information on the Transportation Systems Engineering program, contact:

Dr. Stephen G. Ritchie
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-2175

For further information on the program in Transportation Science, please contact:

Dr Jean-Daniel Saphores
Institute of Transportation Studies
University of California , Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3600

ITS Homepage:

CEE Homepage:

For a graduate application and financial aid information, please contact:

April Heath
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California , Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-2175