Travel Grants

ITS-Davis provides funds for associated students to attend domestic and international professional transportation-related conferences for the purpose of presenting a paper on transportation research. Benefits include exposure to cutting-edge research, broader perspectives, networking opportunities, and enhancing oral communication skills by making a research presentation.

ITS-Davis itself (sometimes with the partial support of the University of California Transportation Center) allocates $5,000 a year to student travel awards. Also, through the Friends of ITS-Davis, we are able to provide an ADDITIONAL $5,000 a year for these awards. These Friends funds have allowed us to (1) increase the size of domestic awards from $600 to $700, (2) support international travel (before, we could only fund domestic travel), and (3) increase the number of awards we can make.

Policies governing the use of travel funds

  1. A paper on transportation research must be presented. Travel award applications should include a letter of acceptance and a copy of the paper being presented. For the annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting, acceptance of a paper to a poster session will be considered equivalent to acceptance for formal oral presentation. For any other conference, if the paper is accepted to a poster session, a decision on the travel grant will be made on a case-by-case basis. In general, justification will be needed that the paper went through a substantive and competitive review process (e.g. that a sizable number of submitted papers were screened out, rather than any submitted paper being almost automatically accepted), and that there is reason to expect considerable professional interaction between the author and viewers of the poster.
  2. ITS-Davis funds are intended to supplement, not replace, travel funds in a research grant. The research grant should be the first call for a travel award, and ITS-Davis funds requested only if no other (sufficient) funds are available. Please include a statement from the major professor/principal investigator (it can be a separate e-mail) with respect to the (un)availability of other funds for the travel.
  3. Regardless of whether funding from other sources is available, the ITS-Davis-funded portion will reimburse allowable expenses up to
    — $700 per domestic trip
    — $900 per international trip.
    Thus, for example, a research grant may have $1,000 in travel funds; if the trip costs $1,500, ITS will fund the $500 remainder.
  4. For a given student, ITS-Davis will support no more than one trip per academic year (July 1 – June 30), and no more than one international trip every two years. (I.e., theoretically it could support an international trip in Year 1, a domestic trip in Year 2, and another international trip in Year 3).
  5. If funds become limited, preference will be given to students closer to completing their PhD degrees and those presenting papers at major transportation conferences, e.g. TRB, UCTC, certain ASCE conferences, TRF, and SAE. Consideration will also be given to how often a student has received the award in the past.
  6. If two or more students are co-authors on an accepted paper, and both (or all) of them wish to go to the conference, ITS-Davis will fund a maximum of $700 (domestic) or $900 (international) combined. The total award will be split evenly among the students going, unless ITS-Davis staff is otherwise notified.
  7. Travel proposals are accepted throughout the year, but must be approved BEFORE the trip occurs. The funds may be used for airfare, ground transportation, meals, lodging, and/or registration.
  8. It sometimes happens that a paper is submitted while still a student, but the conference is actually held after the student finishes.  Our first priority is to help prepare current students to “leave the nest”, and these funds are overspent every year.  However, we also would like to be able to help out new alums who are still trying to get established.  Thus, as a compromise, our policy with respect to supporting completed students with these funds is as follows:  (1) We expect students and faculty mentors to keep likely graduation dates in mind when preparing papers, and to think carefully about the consequences of submitting a paper for an event that will be held after a key student author finishes school.  (2) We expect a faculty member or current student co-author to present such a paper where possible (or, of course, the new alum to present it without having to call on Friends funds).  (3) As a last resort, IF no currently-at-UCD co-authors are planning to attend the event, ITS will reimburse up to $200 to recent alumni to present papers written and submitted while still a student.  This policy does not apply to papers submitted after completing the degree, even if the paper is on work conducted while a student.


You must provide the lodging receipt, containing itemized charges for room, room tax, telephone, etc.


Mileage and/or expenses of commercial transporter (including airfare) may be reimbursed for travel between your point of departure and the commercial transporter and/or destination. All approved travel must utilize the most economical mode of transportation and the most usually traveled route consistent with the authorized purpose of the trip.

Personal Car Mileage

Personal car mileage shall be reimbursed in accordance with the standard mileage rate of $.41 or 41 cents per mile provided under the University’s travel policy (this rate is subject to change). The automobile license number of the vehicle used for travel must be provided, as well as names of passengers who are University employees and/or students. Any substantial deviations from the distances shown in a standard highway mileage guide must be explained.

Rental Cars

Rental automobiles may be used when such rental is considered to be more advantageous to the University than the use of taxis or other means of transportation. The student is responsible for obtaining the best available rate commensurate with the requirements of the trip. The discount commonly extended to the University by automobile rental agencies must always be requested. (For information regarding University agreements with rental agencies, please see the ITS Financial Assistant.) Note to University students: Charges for optional insurance, including collision damage waiver, on rental cars driven in the U.S. are not reimbursable.


The maximum per-person meal expenditures for persons being entertained and for the University employee who is official host or participating at the request of the official host shall not exceed the following: Breakfast $18; Lunch $30; Dinner $45; and Light refreshments $12. Original receipts must be provided to ITS in order to be reimbursed.

Group Leader Letter

University students will normally not be reimbursed for expenses paid on behalf of other travelers. There are exceptions to this rule, such as supervised group trips. Claims for reimbursement of expenses paid for others must include the names of the travelers, an itemization of the expenses, and supporting documentation. Please see the ITS Financial Assistant seven business days PRIOR to the trip for an authorization to pay travel expenses for other travelers.

Students may apply throughout the academic year by completing the application found in the link below. Applications must be approved in advance of travel.

See Student Travel Application Form.


Updated: November 2016