ITS has a new center - Meet ULTRANS



Better land use management and reduced vehicle travel can lower energy use and improve the
environment. To achieve climate goals, California recently enacted new laws that require such
action; other regions will likely follow suit. But how can vehicle use actually be reduced? And
how much reduction is possible and desirable? Those questions inspired the creation of the Urban
Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS).

ULTRANS aims to support the design and implementation of new land use and vehicle demand
policies through research, education, and public outreach. The Center’s results-oriented
research illuminates the relationship between land use, transportation, and the environment.
Models and methods developed at ULTRANS will support the development of policies that
encourage sustainable cities and regions.

Researchers at ULTRANS are as interdisciplinary as the issues they address. Researchers and
graduate students have advanced training in a range of disciplines including urban planning,
transportation engineering, integrated urban modeling, urban economics, political science, and

ULTRANS is administered by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) in
affiliation with the UC Davis Information Center for the Environment (ICE) and in partnership
with researchers at UC Berkeley.

ULTRANS researchers investigate the intricate relationships between land use, transport
infrastructure, government policy, and choices that people make. Our results shed light on
important policy questions such as the effect of local policies on transport energy demand,
relationships between economic development and environmental impacts, neighborhood designs
that encourage walking and biking, and factors that lead communities to adopt sustainable
policies and design elements. Our work falls into five research tracks:

  1. Urban Transportation-Land Use-Economic Modeling
  2. Determinants of Travel Behavior
  3. Analysis of Land Use and Transport Policy
  4. Determinants of Local Environmental Policy Adoption
  5. Effects of Urban Development on the Environment

ULTRANS will help train the next generation of leaders in urban research and policy
development. Affiliated students have opportunities to participate in research and outreach on
critical issues in addressing climate change.

Extending research findings beyond the university is a top priority for the Center. Information
will be disseminated through professional education and service to all levels of decision making
bodies and practitioners. ULTRANS currently offers modeling advice and support to the California
Department of Transportation, as well as four major Metropolitan Planning Organizations and
fourteen smaller Councils of Government in California.