Centre for Transportation Studies



The Centre for Transportation Studies is a Research Centre at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. The centre fosters research and publication on transportation, logistics and closely allied fields with a particular emphasis on green logistics. The primary emphasis is on economics, management and policy issues, but many academic disciplines may be involved including economics, operations research, statistical analysis, management and organizational structure, as well as teaming up with expertise from civil engineering, geography, environmental studies, planning or other academic programs. Research usually involves student research assistants under the direction of faculty, thereby contributing to the teaching role of the university as well as the research function. There is an emphasis on publication to foster wider knowledge and contribute to improved management and public policy in transportation and logistics.


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.)

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

Moving Forward

Advancing theory and practice in transportation and logistics

CTS has embarked on a major international research initiative in green shipping governance having received Canadian federal SSHRC Partnership Grant funds. In partnership with 20 universities, as well as 19 governmental, non-governmental and industry collaborators, this project is developing methodological papers, data bases and case studies that examine the evolution of governance initiatives aimed at reducing the environmental impact of maritime activity.

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    Centre for Transportation Studies
    +1 604.822.8505

    Sauder School of Business
    University of British Columbia
    2053 Main Mall
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z2