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:

National Center for Sustainable Transportation

In 2013, the National Center for Sustainable Transportation was selected in a national competition and established as one of five national University Transportation Centers (UTCs) as part of the UTC program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2016, the NCST successfully re-competed for the opportunity to continue serving as one of the U.S. DOT’s five National UTCs and is addressing the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act research priority area of Preserving the Environment.

The NCST provides national leadership in advancing environmentally sustainable transportation through cutting-edge research, direct policy engagement, and education of our future leaders. To achieve the goal of preserving the environment, the NCST’s programs are organized around four high-priority themes: environmentally responsible infrastructure and operations; multimodal travel and sustainable land use; zero-emission vehicle and fuel technologies; 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.

3 Revolutions Future Mobility

The 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program includes a two-part strategy to build strong capabilities in rigorous research and policy outreach and engagement. These two complimentary efforts will address key challenges facing government and industry decision makers, including vehicle use, traffic congestion, air pollution, energy use, and the equity gap between mobility haves and have-nots.