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:

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.

BicyclingPlus Research Collaborative

ITS-Davis BicyclingPlus Research Collaborative conducts applied research on travel by bike, e-bike, e-kick-scooter, skateboard, e-skateboard, and other similar travel modes. The need for understanding the role of bicycle travel and other small vehicles is growing. A rise in adoption of bicycling and the proliferation of micromobility service companies (e.g. Lime, JUMP, Bird, Spin, etc.) both indicate a travel future where these vehicles play an important role in every day transportation. As our name implies, we are collaborative by nature working with researchers from a variety of universities and centers and partnering with government agencies and private industry.

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.

Energy and Efficiency Institute

The Energy and Efficiency Institute (EEI) at UC Davis is a leading university institution advancing impactful energy and energy efficiency solutions. We focus on addressing critical energy challenges and improving energy use through research, education, and engagement. The EEI is home to innovative research centers and programs in buildings, transportation, water, and agriculture & food production; has more than 45 affiliated faculty; and hosts an interdisciplinary graduate program in energy systems.

Energy Futures

The Energy Futures Research Program is a rapidly growing research and policy program in the Institute of Transportation Studies of the University of California, Davis. It grows out of the STEPS program and focuses on medium/long term transportation energy transitions for California, the US and worldwide. The program receives support from a range of government and industry partners, planning agencies and research foundations, and works in close cooperation with the federally-funded National Center for Sustainable Transportation and the other research programs at UC Davis.

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. Gil Tal.

Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy

The UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy (Policy Institute) was founded in 2011 to support the mission of relentless pursuit of knowledge, innovation, and collaboration by facilitating productive engagement between policymakers and University researchers on pressing energy and environmental issues.

Sustainable Freight

Freight movement is on the cusp of major transformations in the U.S. and worldwide. Yet to achieve very low levels of CO2 as well as pollutant emission reduction goals, complementary solutions will be needed. The Sustainable Freight Program evaluates goods movement patterns, supply chain management strategies, intermodal dynamics, new vehicle technologies, and new fuel options, along with infrastructure requirements, environmental impacts, and policy. Starting from the premise that the freight system is the economy in motion, our research is at the intersection of transportation, supply chain management, technology and policy.

University of California Pavement Research Center

The University of California Pavement Research Center is dedicated to providing knowledge and using innovative research and sound engineering principles to improve pavement structures, materials, and technologies.