Transportation defines Portland. Portland State University (PSU), our 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 at PSU - from both the (CUPA) Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning as well as the department of (MCECS) Civil & Environmental Engineering.
Students work on real projects with partners in our community—the organizations helping to make our transportation system work for all users. These partnerships lead to internships and rewarding careers after graduation. Wherever you see transportation innovations in urban centers, you’ll find PSU students and alumni.
Research Faculty at PSU
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.
Student Alumni from Transportation Programs
Out in the world, PSU transportation alumni are changing the way we think about transportation as leading academics and practitioners. A sample of some of the organizations our alumni are currently working at:
- 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 + NONPROFIT
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.
RESEARCH + EDUCATION
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.
Degree Programs at PSU
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.
Graduate Degree Programs (Professional)
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.
Graduate Degree Programs (Research)
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.
Graduate Dual Degree Program in Transportation
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.
Graduate Certificate in Transportation
The two disciplines also collaborate to offer a Graduate Certificate in Transportation for established professionals looking for a deeper understanding of transportation disciplines.
Doctoral Degree Programs
Our 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.
Data Science Course (2017)
Offered for the first time in August 2017, the goal of this course is to empower students and practitioners to spend less time wrestling with software and more time doing useful research/work. Read more.
PSU Student Involvement
Students at PSU are involved with TREC and our NITC program in a number of ways:
Graduate Research Assistants
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.
Transportation & Communities Summit (TCS)
Students attend the annual TCS, learning from experts who work in transportation and livable communities all over the country. Students from any U.S. accredited university, as well as practitioners and researchers currently working in transportation, are eligible to enter the Open Call for Poster Sessions at TCS.
Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB)
With the help of NITC, over 50 PSU students attend the annual meeting of TRB each January. Many of our graduate students present research at the conference.
Professional Development & Networking
Through the on-campus Students in Transportation Engineering & Planning (STEP) and professional development organization WTS Portland, students can develop their academic and professional lives through forging relationships between transportation students and professionals.
Friday Transportation Seminar
Weekly, throughout the school year, students hear from PSU Transportation faculty as well as speakers from around the region and country at the Friday Transportation Seminar
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."
K-12 Outreach and Education
In recent years, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education efforts at the K-12 level have increased significantly and many organizations are seeking to expand the capacity and diversity of the STEM workforce. NITC supports curriculum development projects and initiatives that introduce middle- and high-school students to transportation concepts and careers. Our goal is to increase the number of women and students of color in transportation-focused degree programs, and expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce.
We pursue this goal by offering:
- Presentations for students interested in learning about careers in transportation
- Events and workshops that are designed for specific age groups and deep-dive into aspects of the transportation industry
- Innovative Curriculum found in our extensive library of Education Projects focused on transportation and livable communities
Transportation Career Presentations
Have a group of students curious about careers in transportation? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our staff can introduce your students to the industry, the variety of careers, and its importance as a fundamental aspect of human society.
Events and Workshops in 2018
National Summer Transportation Institute
Upcoming: Two-week course in Summer 2018 (July or August, to be determined)
NSTI is a 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 was offered again in 2017. (LEARN MORE)
Transportation Workshop at Chicas Summer Camp
Upcoming: One-day workshop in Summer 2018 (date to be determined)
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.
GIS "Crash Course" with ChickTech
Upcoming: Saturday, March 10, 2018 (Registration not yet open)
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.” (LEARN MORE)