University of Southern California The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering

Transportation Planning (METRANS)

Transport problems often take place when transport systems fail to satisfy the requirements for large metropolitan areas. A cities economic productivity is highly dependent on the efficiency and capability of its transport systems to move labor, consumers, and freight between various destinations. Properly managing traffic congestion, public transport systems, freight distribution, and their impacts on energy and environment are among the most important factors for establishing a sustainable and effective transportation system.

USC has formed a partnership with the METRANS Transportation Center, a US DOT University Transportation Center (UTC), to improve upon and develop new technologies, policies, operations, and management practices that address major metropolitan transportation issues. The center focuses on goods movement and international trade, mobility of urban populations, highway infrastructure, and security and vulnerability. 
Research activities in goods movement include port simulation and truck routing for more efficient port operations and reduced vehicle traffic in metropolitan areas; freight rail system routing and utilization efficiency and freight cargo routing efficiency; impacts of regulatory policies on urban freight flows and congestion. Research activities in passenger transport include increasing use of transit and non-motorized modes through urban design, more efficient transit service and examining transit use among target population subgroups. Guidelines for integrating inland ports into the intermodal goods movement system based on the containers originating and terminating at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are also being developed. 

METRANS is dedicated to solving metropolitan transportation problems by integrating engineering, policy, planning, business administration, and public administration through research, education and outreach.



  • Efficiency of transportation systems.
  • Finding relationships between land use and transportation, transportation policy evaluation, and impacts of information technology on transportation and travel behavior.
  • Goods movement and international trade.
  • Mobility of urban populations.
  • Infrastructure.
  • Safety, security and vulnerability.


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