Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

About ITS

An Introduction to ITS

The Institute for Transport Studies is a free-standing academic department of the University of Leeds and part of the Faculty of Environment.

The Institute's primary purpose is to advance the understanding of transport activity, operations and use, and to develop skills and best practice among transport professionals and decision-makers.

The origins of ITS go back more than fifty years to 1965 when the University of Leeds first offered a transport Masters programme. The Institute was formally established in 1972 and has since grown to be a world leader in transport research and teaching.

Courses and Training

The Institute is the UK's largest single academic group providing transport courses and training. In a typical year there are around 500 students taking undergraduate modules, 80 students on Masters programmes, 50 registered PhD students, and dozens of delegates participating in short courses.

Through this, the Institute makes a significant contribution to resolving the skills shortage faced by the transport sector, and to improving both the quantity and quality of transport professionals internationally.


ITS is a leading international centre for transport research. It is particularly notable for the breadth and depth of research, the international quality of which has been verified by Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) stretching back over a period of 20 years. The research is sponsored by a variety of organisations, including the UK Department for Transport, the European Commission, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. ITS was also the first academic unit in Britain to achieve ISO 9001 accreditation for research management.


ITS has over 60 academic/research staff, supported by a team of support staff. The Institute prides itself on its inter- and multi-disciplinary nature; the staff come from a wide variety of background disciplines, including economics, engineering, geography, mathematics, computing, psychology and social science.

ITS staff have provided expert advice to international organisations such as the World Bank, the European Commission and the International Transport Forum, to national governments around the world and to UK entities such as the House of Commons Transport Select Committee. Staff also serve as editors and/or members of the editorial boards of many leading transport journals and play a prominent role in the organisation of international transport conferences.

In recognition of a strong organisational commitment to nurturing and developing staff, ITS was first awarded Investor in People status in 2004. Please read more about the ITS vision, mission and values in the Esteem section.