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Innovative Transportation Research Institute (ITRI)


The Innovative Transportation Research Institute (ITRI) at Texas Southern University was developed in the fall of 2006 by expanding the former Urban Traffic and Air Quality Lab (UTAQL), which was first established in 2000 and has already achieved extensive accomplishments. By utilizing advanced technologies, large scale computer simulation methods, complex modeling systems, and state-of-the-art lab equipments, ITRI will attempt to develop, evaluate, optimize, and recommend comprehensive strategies for traffic congestion mitigation, urban transportation planning, ITS development, mobile source emission reduction, and fuel consumption saving.


• Conduct innovative research and development to seek optimal solutions to various transportation problems
• Develop and deliver high-quality education and training programs to traffic engineers, transportation planners, transportation managers, air quality specialists, etc.

Research Focuses

• Traffic planning and simulation for real-time and large-scale traffic network applications
• ITS data management strategies for ITS and planning applications
• Automatic traffic condition monitoring and prediction
• Transportation system performance evaluation based on traffic video
• Mobile source emission modeling
• Safety and human factors

Five Affiliated Research Centers

• Center for Modeling and Simulation (CPS)
• Center for Air Quality Analysis (CAQA)
• Center for ITS (CITS)
• Center for Driver Behavior (CDB)
• Center for Training and Technology Transfer (CT3)

Center for Modeling and Simulation (CPS)

The Center for Modeling and Simulation aims to develop suitable transportation planning models for middle and large-scale networks, and to develop and identify microscopic and macroscopic simulation tools for various transportation applications such as evaluating evacuation plans, recommending comprehensive congestion and incident mitigation strategies, improving roadway traffic operation performances, etc.

Center for Air Quality Analysis (CAQA)

The Center for Air Quality Analysis aims to conduct extensive research on the microscopic and macroscopic modeling of mobile emission estimation and fuel consumption, and the measurement and evaluation of on-road vehicle emission and fuel consumption using advanced Portable Emission Measurement System (PEMS). CAQA will also identify the impact of transportation behaviors to air quality, and propose comprehensive strategies to reduce emissions and fuel consumption from on-road vehicles and non-road equipments so as to enhance the regional air quality.

Center for ITS (CITS)

The Center for Intelligent Transportation System aims to investigate approaches to significantly improve the performance of multi-modal transportation systems by smartly utilizing various up-to-date innovative technologies in interdisciplinary fields such as transportation engineering, computer engineering, electric and electronic engineering, communication, automatic control, cybernetics. CITS has the ability to obtain the transmitted real time traffic data from Houston TranStar, and is equipped with the advanced Autoscope Van for on-road data collection. CITS will monitor and store the real time data, and develop innovative models and procedures to archive, aggregate and compress the huge amount of traffic data for the use of various applications such as rural and urban transportation planning, environmental protection, operational management, and incident prevention.

Center for Driver Behavior (CDB)

The Center for Driver Behavior aims to investigate the application of emerging technologies to transportation safety improvement and to identify the impact of human factors in roadway accidents by using the advanced driving simulator. CDB is also capable of conducting cooperative human behavior related studies such as drug and psychology tests.

Center for Training and Technology Transfer (CT3)

The Center for Training and Technology Transfer aims to perform any transportation studies and conduct professional trainings to field traffic engineers, air quality specialists, transportation planners, etc. CT3 may invite new software and technology developers for trainings from various industries, governments, and organizations. All developed technologies in ITRI will be introduced and transferred via CT3.

Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR)

The Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR) is a transportation research component of Texas Southern University. Located minutes from downtown Houston, Texas Southern University is a state supported institution established in 1947 with the limited mission of serving the African-American population in Texas. Due to the urban location of its campus, Texas Southern University recognized the opportunity and responsibility to address the problems of urbanization in the community. The mission, faculty, and student population has since broadened and diversified representing over 65 different countries, nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

Texas Southern University has several academic programs and areas of research throughout the campus. Housed within the Leonard H. O. Spearman Technology Building is Transportation Studies, which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the discipline of Airway Science and Transportation Planning and Management. Moreover, as a companion to the Department of Transportation Studies, the CTTR is dedicated to conducting research on current Transportation issues. CTTR conducts research and training in conjunction with the Southwestern Region University Transportation Center. The consortium consists of Texas A&M University, Texas Southern University, and University of Texas at Austin. CTTR is guided by an Advisory Board representing public and private sectors, university scholars, and transportation officials. Grants are also received from the US Department of Transportation, the state of Texas, and other public and private sources.

As a companion to Transportation Studies, CTTR supports the academic curriculum by offering employment and training opportunities in research and demonstration projects. The cornerstone of CTTR’s future agenda is the theme Preparing Professionals to Move This Millenium. This theme focuses on conducting applied research to solve and identify options for the improvement of mobility and the quality of life. By applying state-of-the-art techniques and research methodologies, CTTR research associates identify problems and solutions to a variety of issues facing our society. These issues include the following: Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), operation of intermodal systems, alternative fuel comparison studies, suburban employment growth/transit accessibility issues, policy and planning, and human resource management. A cadre of private/public sector networks and partnerships will ensure that CTTR remains an integral part of the regional, national, and global alliance of transportation professionals. The dissemination of information throughout these networks and partnerships will continue to be accomplished by workshops, conferences, and seminars.

For details information about Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR), please contact:

Carol A. Lewis, Ph.D. Director of CTTR