Transportation Engineering

Understand relationships within & between transportation and other systems, including environment, energy, and advanced technologies


Research Groups

Air Quality Research
Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis)

The transportation program in Civil and Environmental Engineering is closely tied to the Institute of Transportation Studies on the Davis campus. The Institute includes faculty members from across the campus who are interested in advanced vehicle and highway systems, travel behavior and analysis, energy and environmental aspects, and pavements


Fan, Yueyue

Network optimization and control • Stochastic system modeling and analysis • Risk management of transportation networks subject to seismic or other natural hazards

Susan Handy

Travel behavior research • Transportation-land use interactions • Bicycling behavior and planning • Transportation policy and planning.

Harvey, John

Asphalt and concrete pavements, including design, materials, rehabilitation, life cycle, maintenance, reconstruction and performance modeling

Kendall, Alissa

Life cycle assessment applied to energy, infrastructure, and production systems

Mokhtarian, Patricia L. 

Travel behavior modeling and demand forecasting • Impacts of telecommunication technology on transportation demand

Niemeier, Debbie A. 

Transportation-air quality modeling • Transportation planning and policy analysis

Joan Ogden

Technical and economic assessment of new energy technologies, especially in the areas of alternative fuels; fuel cells; renewable energy and energy conservation; hydrogen as an energy carrier; hydrogen infrastructure strategies; and applications of fuel cell technology in transportation and stationary power production • Scenarios for sustainable transportation futures and transitions

Sperling, Daniel 

Transportation planning and policy analysis • Environmental impact of motor vehicles

Zhang, Michael

Transportation systems operations • Traffic flow theory • Traffic control • Dynamic traffic assignment • Intelligent transportation systems


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Beyond the departmental courses listed below, the recommended program of study incorporates a broad range of disciplines including agriculture economics, economics, statistics, computer science, and environmental studies.

  • TTP 200 Transportation Survey Methods

  • ECI 251 Transportation Demand Analysis

  • ECI 252 Sustainable Transportation Technology and Policy

  • ECI 254 Discrete Choice Analysis of Travel Demand

  • ECI 256 Urban Traffic Management Control

  • ECI 257 Flows in Transportation Networks

  • ECI 258 Transportation Planning in Developing Countries

  • ECI 259 Advanced Highway Technology and Automation

  • ECI 268 Infrastructure Economics

  • ECI 269 Transportation-Air Quality: Theory and Practice

  • ECI 282 Pavement Design and Rehabilitation

  • ECI 290 Seminar


No more than two of the 3 courses ECI 162, 163, and 165 will count toward a graduate degree. Students seeking graduate degree credit for any of these courses need to furnish an undergraduate transcript to confirm that they have not been taken for the undergraduate degree.

Required for all MS and PhD students:

  • ECI 251

  • TTP 200

  • ECI 256

  • an economics course such as ECN 100, ECN 145, ECI 268, ARE 275, ARE/ESP 175, ARE 176, or a course similar in spirit (econometrics courses are normally not considered similar in spirit — they are statistics-oriented, and can have relatively little economics content per se).

  • TTP 281 – ITS weekly seminar series: must be taken each quarter for at least the first two years. Can be waived due to a conflict with another course, after confirmation with Pat Mokhtarian.

  • In addition, we strongly recommend that all students take TTP 282 in their first year.  This is a one-unit “Transportation Orientation Seminar”, featuring different faculty each week, providing an introduction to their research specialties.

Additionally required of all PhD students:

- for quantitative depth, at least two of:

  • ECI 254

  • ECI 257

  • ECI 269

  • ECI 179

  • ECI 253

- and for policy breadth, at least one of

  • ECI 252

  • TTP 220


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Graduate Program in Transportation Engineering

Transportation plays a vital role in the growth of the economy and the quality of life of individuals. If transportation is to meet calls for greatly reduced oil use and greenhouse gas emissions, transportation systems will need to be transformed. Because transportation systems are interrelated with many other activities, these challenges must be addressed in an interdisciplinary manner. The Transportation Program at UC Davis emphasizes basic analytical skills in systems analysis, planning, and policy analysis and an understanding of fundamental relationships within and between transportation and other systems, including advanced technologies. Beyond a set of core courses providing key fundamentals, students can draw from courses taught in a variety of departments to customize their program of study. Transportation research facilities at UC Davis include computer labs for analyzing traffic, travel behavior, and air quality; a pavements laboratory; a laboratory to conduct experiments on fuel cell and other electric vehicle propulsion systems; and a fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles used for field testing. Proximity to Sacramento, the state capital, provides opportunity for employment, research, and policy engagement with state agencies such as the Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), Energy Commission, and Air Resources Board. Faculty are integrally involved in major national initiatives such as climate change legislation, characterizing energy in the built environment, life cycle analysis, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), zero and low emission vehicle programs and sustainable transportation infrastructure and policy.


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