Making a Difference:
The UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies

The mission of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies is to support and advance (1) cutting-edge research, (2) the highest quality education and (3) meaningful and influential civic engagement on the many pressing transportation issues facing our cities, state, nation and world today. UCLA ITS is one of the leading transportation policy research centers in the U.S. As a non-endowed, entirely soft-money center, ITS faculty, staff, and students regularly collaborate with and receive support from three organizations: the Lewis Center, which provides staff, equipment, and event support; the University of California Transportation Center (UCTC), which provides substantial student, course, and event support and some staff support; and the UCLA School of Public Affairs, which provides space and financial management services. The transportation planning program at UCLA has been ranked second in the nation by Planetizen, due in no small part to ITS support of transportation faculty and students. Since its inception in 1992, ITS has supported hundreds of UCLA School of Public Affairs students with over $2,000,000 in scholarship funding, which is relatively unique among UCLA research centers in both scope and scale. ITS also has enhanced the SPA curriculum by regularly funding special topics courses in transportation studies. This support has helped the Departments of Public Policy and Urban Planning (each of which offers specializations in transportation) attract many of the best and brightest transportation students to UCLA. Not surprisingly, transportation policy and planning faculty and students have garnered an inordinate number of prestigious grants and awards, many of which can be found on the ITS awards page.

ITS also is active in linking transportation research with policy and planning practice. Each fall since 1991, ITS researchers co-host (with the UCLA Extension Public Policy Program) the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium on the Transportation – Land Use – Environment Connection. This invitation-only symposium brings leading transportation, land use, and environmental scholars together with top policy and planning practitioners from around the globe at a three day retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains. In 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007, ITS affiliated students hosted the system-wide University of California Transportation Research Conference. And, in addition, ITS has regularly hosted conferences and events at UCLA and Sacramento, and dozens of public lectures on a wide variety of topics. These programs are listed in the archives of our website.

The Institute’s Humble Beginnings