The Transportation Technology and Policy (TTP) Graduate Group, hosted by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, offers M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs that prepare students to play decisive roles in creating a sustainable and equitable transportation future. Our interdisciplinary approach transcends the boundaries of traditional engineering-based studies and draws on a multitude of academic disciplines including economics, psychology, political science, ecology, and management. Students in the TTP Graduate Group complete three core courses in Transportation Technology, Transportation Policy, and Data Science and choose one of three tracks in which to specialize: Vehicles & Fuels, Demand & Behavior, or Infrastructure & Operations. The program gives students the flexibility to develop high-level skills in disciplines of their choosing to best support their interests and career goals. In addition to coursework, most students engage in research projects, and they have the opportunity to interact with leaders from industry, government, public interest groups, and academia through visiting lectures, seminars, and internships.
The transportation system is essential to modern society, enabling the movement of people and goods required in our daily lives. Yet it also harms public health, the environment, and our global climate in countless ways, directly and indirectly. Over 130 million Americans live in areas that fail to meet health-based standards for one or more criteria pollutants, of which transportation is a major source. In 2016, transportation accounted for 29% of total energy consumption, nearly three-fourths of petroleum consumption, and 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Storm-water run-off from impervious pavements pollutes our waterways, and highways serve as physical barriers that fragment wildlife habitat. The negative effects of the transportation system fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable members of our communities, those with the lowest incomes, the poorest health, and the most limitations on their mobility. The central challenge for the transportation field is to find ways to reduce these impacts while meeting the mobility needs of society, fostering healthy and equitable communities, supporting economic growth, and righting racial injustices of the past.
Graduate groups are an institution unique to the UC Davis campus. From a student’s point of view, the virtue of graduate groups is that they are much more flexible than departmental graduate programs. Graduate groups allow students to cross departmental and disciplinary boundaries. In the Transportation Technology and Policy Graduate Group, over 40 faculty from 12 departments give students direct access to a very broad and deep faculty resource. We also have no difficulty with students taking courses from faculty outside the group or from putting such faculty on advisory, qualifying, and thesis committees.