Research Centers

ITS-Davis is internationally recognized for its multidisciplinary approach to transportation studies, with sustainability as a key underlying theme. To address today’s challenges, ITS-Davis has built strong research programs in three areas:

  • Travel behavior and transport systems modeling
  • Environmental vehicle technologies and fuels
  • Climate change, air quality, and other environmental impacts

These research programs are carried out by mission-specific centers within the Institute. They are:

The University of California, Davis, Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) was selected in a national competition in September 2013 to lead a two-year, $11.2 million research, education, and outreach consortium for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The National Center for Sustainable Transportation will help federal, state, regional, and local agencies reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions from passenger and freight travel that contribute to climate change through research in four thematic areas: toward zero-emission vehicle and fuel technologies; low-carbon infrastructure and efficient system operation; low-impact travel and sustainable land use; and institutional change.

Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center

The UC Davis Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center is the hub of collaboration and research on plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles for the State of California. It provides technology and policy guidance to the state, and address research questions and commercialization issues for PHEVs and EVs. The PH&EV Center is led by Director Dr. Tom Turrentine. 

Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways

The UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways program (STEPS) is a four-year (through 2018) multidisciplinary research consortium, focused on the future roles of alternative fuels and vehicles.  STEPS3 continues the work of the original STEPS and NextSTEPS programs. Its goals are to generate new insights about the transitions to a sustainable transportation energy future, and disseminate that knowledge to decision-makers in the private sector and governmental agencies so that they can make informed technology, investment, and policy choices. NextSTEPS is led by Director Dr. Joan Ogden.

China Center for Energy and Transportation

China Center for Energy and Transportation studies Chinese motorization and transportation energy systems, and teaches American and Chinese graduate students. The center collaborates with senior Chinese transportation scholars at State Council’s Development Research Center, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Tongji University, and Beijing Jiaotong University. The China Center is led by Director Yunshi Wang. 

Urban Land Use and Transportation Center

The Urban Land Use and Transportation (ULTRANS) Center focuses on relationships between land use, transportation, and government policy, and the choices that people make about where to live, work, and play, and how and when to travel. ULTRANS is led by Director Dr. Susan Handy.