Transportation defines Portland. Portland State University, Portland’s urban university, shapes the transportation professionals who, in turn, shape their city and cities across the world.
Our students conduct cutting-edge research under the guidance of the world’s foremost transportation research faculty. Students work on real projects with partners in our community—the organizations helping to make our transportation system work for all users.
This partnership leads to internships and rewarding careers after graduation. Wherever you see transportation innovations serving the city, you’ll find Portland State students and alumni. Welcome to our lab.
Transportation problems don’t stay between the lines. As a transportation student at Portland State University, you’ll work with experts in every field that contributes to our knowledge of transportation, including engineering and planning but also fields such as environmental science, psychology, geography and computer science. Our core transportation faculty, including Jennifer Dill, Christopher Monsere, Kelly Clifton, Miguel Figliozzi, Jenny Liu, Aaron Golub, Avi Unnikrishnan and Liming Wang, are regarded as national and international experts in their fields.
Portland State boasts the U.S. Department of Transportation’s national center for livable communities. NITC, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, funds millions of dollars of transportation research and education, with vital contributions from student researchers working alongside faculty members. This research finds its way into the hands of transportation professionals at all levels, establishing the authority of our students before they even complete a degree. NITC also supports the student group, Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning, which bridges gaps between disciplines with educational and entertaining events, speakers and trips.
Out in the world, Portland State University transportation alumni are changing the way we think about transportation as leading academics and practitioners. Our graduate degree alums work for a wide range of employers, including:
- Cities and counties: Portland, Seattle, New York, Multnomah County
- Transit agencies: TriMet, Salem-Keizer Transit, Chicago Transit Authority
- Regional agencies: Metro (Oregon), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (California), the Southern California Association of Governments
- State agencies: Oregon Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, CalTrans, Oregon Health Authority
Private and nonprofit organizations
Alta Planning + Design, SERA Architects, CH2M, Kittelson & Associates, Inc., Lancaster Engineering, Nelson\Nygaard, Oregon Public Health Institute, DKS Associates, Resource Systems Group, Inc., Fregonese Associates and ICLEI.
Our doctoral alums are working as researchers, consultants and faculty members in places such as:
University of Arizona, University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of Sydney.
Where do you fit in? Portland State offers several graduate degrees in transportation fields and one graduate certificate program. We also offer undergraduate programs in civil engineering, supply and logistics management, and community development, which lay the foundation for our transportation graduate programs.
Which program is right for you?
Our professional graduate degree programs, the Master of Urban and Regional Planning and Master of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering, put you on track for careers shaping the future of transportation with local governments, consulting firms and other organizations.
Our research-based programs, the Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Master of Urban Studies, are suited for those seeking careers in a broad range of transportation professions or in academia.
Our doctoral degree programs, the Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Ph.D. in Urban Studies, help shape researchers into the top experts in their fields.
Portland State students publish as lead authors at a greater rate than most universities and are disproportionately represented at forums including the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.
For those seeking a degree rooted in both transportation planning and engineering, we offer a Dual Master’s Degree Program in Transportation, allowing students to obtain a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and Master of Science in Civil Engineering at the same time.
The two disciplines also collaborate to offer a Graduate Certificate in Transportation for established professionals looking for a deeper understanding of transportation disciplines.
Undergraduate and graduate students are involved with TREC and the NITC program in a number of ways.
Each year, 15–30 graduate students from engineering, urban studies & planning, and other fields work as graduate research assistants for faculty. These students are often co-authors on project final reports and journal articles.
TREC hires undergraduate student workers as well, who may work at processing data or similar tasks.
Students attend the Transportation and Communities Summit, learning from experts who work in transportation and livable communities all over the country.
Open Call for 2017 Summit
We are seeking participants to present in the Poster Session and the PechaKucha session at the 2017 Transportation and Communities Summit. Students from any U.S. accredited university, as well as practitioners and researchers currently working in transportation, are eligible. Submissions are due May 31.
With the help of NITC, over 50 PSU students attend the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board each January. Many of our graduate students present research at the conference.
Through STEP and WTS student groups, students develop their academic and professional lives, forging relationships between transportation students and professionals in different disciplines at PSU and other universities.
Students hear from speakers from around the region and country at the Friday Transportation Seminar.
Our students join a network of alumni throughout the world, dedicated to creating healthy, vibrant and livable communities.
Joe Totten wins ITE scholarship
Joseph Totten of Portland State University was one of two students awarded the ITE Oregon Bill Kloos scholarship for the 2016-2017 school year. Totten works as a graduate research assistant for Kelly Clifton and will serve as the vice president of STEP for the 2017-2018 school year. This scholarship is offered by the Oregon Section of ITE and the Bill Kloos Scholarship Fund to provide financial assistance to students pursuing degrees in transportation engineering or other related fields. It is named after William C. Kloos, who was the Signals and Street Light Manager at the City of Portland for 25 years. Bill was a talented leader, innovative problem solver and mentor to many throughout his career. One of Bill’s unique talents was public speaking and presenting technical information to a wide range of audiences. This scholarship was developed in order to promote the innovative thinking and communication skills of the future transportation professionals. Creative applications were encouraged, and Totten delivered that with his entry, "The Roundabout Song."
Summer Transportation Institute at Portland State University
The National Summer Transportation Institute is coming back to Portland State in 2017.
This free two-week day camp offers high school girls a foundation in the transportation industry and a chance to strengthen their STEM skills. Students will be introduced to a strong network of women working in transportation in the Portland metropolitan region, helping them to build their leadership skills, strengthen their college applications and envision a possible future for themselves working in transportation. The first Summer Transportation Institute at Portland State took place in the summer of 2016, and the program is being offered again this year. Read more...
Workshop at Chicas Summer Camp
When: July 27, 2017
Chicas Youth Development Program (Chicas) is a year round program; every summer, Chicas provides three scholastic camps. These camps engage Latina youth in workshops and group discussions. Chicas is hosting a transportation-focused summer camp for elementary, middle school and high school students in summer 2017. These camps provide a space for youth to explore and discover different forms of education to further their goals and motivation of higher education in the summer. The Scholastic Camps highlight three main topics and their importance and relevance to a youth’s development. Each week is dedicated to a topic; the topics are the following: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Healthy Lifestyles and Express Yourself: Art, Culture and Dance. For three weeks, students have the opportunity to experience and participate in physical and intellectual challenging activities. These camps introduce them to new and rewarding experiences while providing them with supportive and caring relationships. TREC will provide a one-day workshop for the 2017 summer camp on Thursday, July 27. Workshops are delivered three times to different age groups.
Outline of TREC workshop
Elementary: In small groups, students will brainstorm all the modes of transportation. We will include photos on the tables for prompting/reference. After brainstorming, students will draw pictures of one mode that they find interesting. Then, time allowing, students will be invited to draw a magic version of a mode that solves a problem, and explain it to the class. Example of a problem: How can a car go in the water? How can a person fly?
Middle School: Students will make maps of their route to school addressing: What's important to include on a map? Who is the map for? How do you make the map beautiful?
High School: Classroom discussion on the various jobs that exist in the field of transportation. Students will discuss transportation career options and the steps they can take to have a career in transportation.
Transportation Career Presentations
Do you have a group of students who need to be inspired? Contact us for a TREC transportation career presentation. Our staff can introduce students to the transportation industry, the wide variety of careers available in the field and the importance of transportation as a fundamental aspect of human society.
Transportation workforce development doesn't always take place at the university level. Students' interest in transportation can start much earlier than that, which is why TREC is always looking for ways to engage elementary and high school students in transportation. TREC hosted a ChickTech workshop on Saturday, May 20 at Portland State University, offering a GIS “crash” course for high school girls. The workshop, held in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) lab of PSU’s Engineering Building, consisted of a morning instruction session and an afternoon applied activity. The day also incorporated a lunchtime walking tour of active transportation infrastructure around the Portland State campus. The goal of the one-day workshop was to familiarize the students with spatial mapping and analysis by working with the vehicle crash data for the city of Portland. Read more...
Investigations in Transportation
In 2015, 5th grade classes at Beaverton’s Chehalem Elementary and 5th and 6th graders at Tobias Elementary in Aloha took part in a NITC education project, Investigations in Transportation, co-sponsored by Portland State University, the Portland Metro STEM Partnership and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The students' work yielded functional changes which will likely be made to the parking lots at both schools, resulting in better traffic flow and increased capacity. The unit was designed to teach students real-world applications of core concepts in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). After exploring several potential engineering challenges at their schools, both groups of students chose to work on the “Parking Lot Dilemma.” Read more...