NCST Research Program & Themes

The National Center for Sustainable Transportation is committed to delivering research that addresses the most pressing policy questions and ensuring our research results are incorporated into the policy-making process. We define “policy” here to include not only legislation, but regulations, programs, guidelines, and practices that agencies adopt in pursuit of their goals.

Many of the transportation sector’s most significant and damaging environmental impacts have been substantially alleviated, including impacts on air, water, natural ecosystems, and human health. One major impact that has so far received limited attention, however, is climate change. Climate change is a game changer for transportation, calling for sharp reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger and freight travel, as well as infrastructure resilience in preparing for extreme weather. Fortunately, almost all strategies to reduce GHG emissions from transportation also improve economic efficiency, energy security, social equity, livability and health, and other aspects of environmental sustainability.

The National Center’s research program targets high-priority transportation issues for government, industry, and community leaders. Our researchers cover a broad range of topics relating to transportation – from pavement to gene barriers – in order to improve the quality of the environment, the transportation sector, and human life.

Research, Engagement, and Education Info Graphic

The research initiatives of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation are organized in the following four areas, though many projects will overlap these boundaries.

Informational Diagram