Centre for Transport Development

Transportation is a cross-sectoral enterprise that requires skills across a broad range of disciplines, including planning, engineering, economics, IT, and social sciences. The Centre for Transport Development (CTD) provides a platform for nurturing and coordinating linkages across these various disciplines at UP, to the benefit of both our students and industry partners. As a collaborative research entity, the CTD draws mainly on researchers and academics from the Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. We work together with specialists from other UP departments including the Department of Information Science and the Department of Computer Science.


The Centre for Transport Development pursues research and continuing education opportunities across four main focus areas:

  • Railway engineering (see Transnet FreightRail Chair in Railway Engineering);
  • Pavement engineering;
  • Transport Planning and Operations; and
  • Optimisation.

Recent projects have included the tracking and analysis of the movement of commuters and freight vehicles using GPS data and crowdsourcing; development of a forecasting model for traffic on rural roads; and measurement of the impacts of road deterioration on logistics costs and freight damage using micro-sensors. The CTD undertakes collaborative research with numerous local and international partners. Recent clients have included the cities of Cape Town and Tshwane, the South African Roads Agency Ltd. (SANRAL), National Treasury, the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations, and the California Department of Transportation.


In the last few years there has been a growing number of students doing Masters and Ph.D studies in this area – students wishing to make an impact in the face of the worldwide problems of environmental sustainability, efficient mobility, and the challenges of poverty and access to opportunities in cities.

Honours coursework and Masters research projects expose students to a range of methods for analysing transport systems, including:

  • collecting traffic data using digital applications or surveys;
  • analysing big data sets;
  • building optimisation models and interpreting them; and
  • spatial modeling or simulation of vehicles in a network.

These methods help to build useful skills for the workplace.

Postgraduate students typically work on one of the research projects conducted by the CTD, in partnership with and funding from industry and government agencies. The CTD offers scholarships to full-time and part-time Honours, Masters and PhD students that are awarded on a competitive basis.

Short courses

The Centre for Transport Development presentsshort courses (links to latest courses below):



Limited scholarship opportunities are available for full-time postgraduate students in 2024. Click here for more information. The application form can be downloaded here. Deadline for submissions: 10 November 2023.

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