Centre for Transportation Studies

Advancing Theory and Practice in Transportation and Logistics

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UBC has a long history of teaching and research in transportation studies. A course on economic aspects of transportation was taught as early as 1929. It appears that this course and related courses on public utilities and regulation have been a regular feature in the economics curriculum ever since. When the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration was formed in 1956, "Transportation and Public Utilities" was one of the original major fields of study in the Faculty. This program has continued to this day. Along the way "Logistics" replaced "Public Utilities" as the major adjunct to transportation studies. Hundreds of UBC BCom and Masters students have graduated with a major in transportation.

Along with the teaching program, there was substantial expansion in the quantity and quality of transportation and logistics research. In the late 1960s, Commerce faculty joined with other faculties on campus who had transportation interests to propose a Centre for Transportation Studies (CTS). This was a university-wide Centre and was officially formed in 1971.

Karl M. Ruppenthal was the first Director of CTS and a professor in the Faculty of Commerce. For several years, the CTS received basic financial support from Transport Canada as part of their University Program. Building on the substantial research base already in place, the CTS and transportation studies at UBC achieved worldwide recognition. The Federal Government support for transport university programs disappeared in the mid-1980s, but the CTS as well as the teaching programs have continued and the reputation and quality of work remains among the best in the world.

The transportation and logistics (TLOG) teaching and research programs in Commerce were also assisted by a UPS Foundation grant which finances both a Chair in Transportation as well as support for transportation research which is administered by the CTS.

Trevor Heaver was Director from 1984 to 1998.

Because the transportation and logistics research programs were dominated by Commerce faculty, the CTS was officially made a part of the Faculty of Commerce in 1996 (now the Sauder School of Business).

Bill Waters was Director of CTS from January 1998 to December 2000 and from July 2002 to June 2003 (In Memoriam) It is my very sad duty to report that our great friend and former colleague, Professor Emeritus Bill Waters, passed away, November 25th, 2010. Bill died peacefully in his study. Bill joined the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration (now the Sauder School of Business) in 1969. He was an extremely accomplished transportation economist who was widely published and frequently consulted by governments on matters related to transportation policy.

Tae Oum, was Director of CTS from January 2001 to June 2002.

Anming Zhang, was Director of CTS from July 2003 to December 2004.

 Robin Lindsey was Director of CTS from June 2013 to July 2014

David Gillen  is currently Director for Transportation Studies (and was Director of CTS from January 2005 to June 2013.)
David Gillen's Bio

For further faculty information, and links to current CTS faculty webpages, please see our Faculty page.

For further information please contact us via email at or by phone at 604 822-8505