Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Why study at the Institute for Transport Studies

ITS has been delivering courses in transport for more than 40 years. In the mid 1960s, staff at the University of Leeds were amongst the first to recognise that transport was an area of critical importance, and a growing source of complex challenges for the future. From this, ITS was established as the UK’s first multi-disciplinary transport department - a characteristic that is as important today as it was then. ITS courses have evolved throughout this 40 year period, to reflect the rapidly changing nature of the transport sector, and to equip our students for professional careers.

Having led the field, it was inevitable that others would follow in the step of ITS; there are now numerous Universities offering courses in transport. Trying to choose between them is not always easy for prospective students, but as a huge personal and financial commitment, it is vital to get this decision right. To help you make an informed choice, we have identified a number of issues you should explore when considering where to study:

The ITS course portfolio spans across the disciplines of planning, economics, geography, business, management, environment and sustainability. This benefits our students directly as ITS offers expertise across a wide variety of modules, and in the range of research topics that can be supervised. UK professional bodies concerned with transport all recognise the quality of ITS courses. Accreditation includes the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways Transportation and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. Read more about ITS accreditation.

Students come to ITS from across the globe. The postgraduate cohort is a vibrant mix of nationalities, ages and academic disciplines, all making a valuable contribution thanks to their different experiences and cultures.  Events are held throughout the year and for many students the most memorable part of their study is the week-long field trip, during which different European transport systems are experienced first-hand. To help capture what it is that makes the ITS culture different from elsewhere, the annual Open Day allows students to see for themselves.

Employability - at the core of the ITS mission, is equipping students with the vocational skills they need to secure a job and develop a fulfilling career. Organisations recruiting for transport jobs regard ITS graduates as some of the best available and many of them come to Leeds each year to directly recruit new staff. Even in a difficult economic climate, ITS graduates are more sought after than those from elsewhere.

Further study/research – whether an UndergraduateMasters or PhDstudent, there are opportunities to continue your studies at ITS and thus deepen your expertise. ITS prides itself on developing people and this applies just as much to students as to staff. Over 25 current staff members were ITS students themselves, including the Director, Professor Mark Wardman, whose transport career started with a Masters at ITS.

Alumni network – collectively, ITS graduates are a global transport network. The network of alumni stretches across the globe and includes those at various stages of their careers, including those in influential positions at the very top of the sector. You do not have to look hard to find ITS alumni in the world of transport and, based on their positive experiences of the Institute, these connections can help to develop further opportunities.

ITS students are taught and supervised by staff who are not only at the forefront of academic research, but also have practical experience in consultancy and as advisers to high profile organisations. ITS staff have advised bodies including the World Bank, the European Conference of Transport Ministers, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, U.S. Transport Research Board, Asian Development Bank, UK Department for Transport, Office of the Rail Regulator, Competition Commission, Highways Agency, plus numerous local government authorities and commercial transport companies. As a result, ITS staff regularly contribute to high level transport issues and can pass on the benefits of this experience to students. You can read more about ITS staff in the People section.

The reputation of the Institute not only means we can recruit top students and attract high calibre staff, but also invest in world-class facilities. ITS is host to the University of Leeds Driving Simulator (UoLDS) - one of the most sophisticated simulators world-wide, which allows driver behaviour to be researched in controlled laboratory conditions. Students also have access to a range of specialist software tools, such as those developed in-house by ITS (SATURN, PLUTO, DRACULA, MARS and KonSULT) and all the other campus facilities that come with being part of one of the UK's largest Universities.

ITS is recognised as one of the world's largest and most successful University departments for transport teaching and research. With over 50 staff and more than 100 postgraduate students, this critical mass underpins why people describe ITS as a 'first-class' destination for those interested in studying transport.  ITS’ reputation for excellence was reflected in the award of a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2009.

Search site