The Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), a University of California organized research unit with branches at UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC UCLA, was established to foster research, education, and training in the field of transportation. The four branches work closely together to implement a statewide Mobility Research Program funded through California's Public Transportation Account and the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1). The 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 a member of the Council of University Transportation Centers, (CUTC), and is a regular participant in the USDOT's University Transportation Centers program.

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