What We Do

During the late 1940s, The University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science began an ongoing partnership with the research branch of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR). Since then, the transportation program at UVA has grown substantially. The Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) was established to organize the existing academic program and research activities and to lay the groundwork for further growth.

The Surface Transportation Act of 1987, which called for the nationwide establishment of university transportation centers, triggered a significant evolution of the transportation program at the University of Virginia, resulting in the establishment of the Center for Transportation Studies. During the 1990s, under the leadership of our first Director, Michael J. Demetsky, the Center emerged as one of the foremost sites for research dealing with information technology, highway safety, transportation planning, management, and policy.

Today the Center oversees a comprehensive transportation program that includes education, research, and professional training. Thanks to our longstanding ties with such organizations as the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR), the Mid-Atlantic Universities Transportation Center, and the Federal Highway Administration, we now offer a comprehensive research program, covering areas such as intelligent transportation systems, transportation planning and logistics, traffic simulation, highway safety, sustainable transportation, infrastructure management, and freight and traffic operations. In the area of professional training our initiatives include the U.Va. Transportation Training Academy (TTA) and the Transportation Project Management Institute (TPMI).  The TTA was formed by the merger of two of our existing training programs,  the Virginia Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and the Virginia Transportation Professional Development Program (TPDP), and currently offers over 60 different workshops on transportation-related topics targeted at Virginia state and local government agency employees at all levels. The TPMI annually offers a two-week residential training program that is intended to improve the ability of engineers in the public and private sectors to deliver high-quality transportation design projects.

Our faculty is highly regarded both as scholars and as researchers. They are valued for their dedication to the education of their students, their willingness to take on new and complex challenges in research, and for their active roles in professional societies and research organizations.

Expertise in transportation research, education, and training has been a long-standing tradition at the University of Virginia. Today, the Center for Transportation Studies works closely with state, regional, and federal organizations on projects that enhance the efficiency of our transportation infrastructure and improve the safety of those who rely on it. Our goal has always been to conduct innovative research with actionable results in a wide range of transportation areas. Our focus on implementation and the expansion of knowledge is a hallmark of our education program.

The foundation for the center is our productive, dedicated faculty. Together, they have attracted a group of outstanding graduate students. We are also proud of our research facilities including the Smart Travel Laboratory (STL) and the Traffic Operations Laboratory. We believe that STL is a leading facility of its kind in the nation.

We invite you to learn more about the history of transportation studies at the University of Virginia, our faculty and facilities, our research partners, and the many initiatives in research, education, and outreach that are ongoing at the Center. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our staff or faculty.