Transportation Engineering



The Transportation Engineering Division of the Department of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras was instituted in 1973. Today, the transportation engineering program at IIT Madras is one of the biggest and best in the country. The Division has seven faculty members and offers degree programs towards M. Tech., M.S., and Ph. D. with specialization in Transportation Engineering. Besides teaching, the faculty members are actively involved in state-of-the-art research, consultancy and continuing education programs.  Students and scholars work very closely with the faculty members and are primary contributors to the research and consultancy activities in the Division.
The Division, with its varied faculty expertise, offers courses and conducts research in three broad areas, namely, Traffic Engineering, Transportation Planning, and Pavement Engineering, which include the following topics:
Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning:
  • Traffic operations and control
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
  • Congestion mitigation
  • Traffic safety under mixed traffic flow
  • Heterogeneous traffic-flow modeling and simulation
  • Activity-based travel demand modeling
  • Dynamic and stochastic modeling of transportation networks
Pavement Engineering
  • Micro-mechanical characterization of asphalt concrete
  • Investigation on modified binders
  • Healing of asphalt mixtures
  • Performance based design of bituminous mixes
  • Pavement recycling
  • Concrete pavements for highways and airports
  • Road-infrastructure asset management


Graduate Programs

The Division offers the following graduate programs in the area of transportation engineering:

  • Master of Technology (M. Tech.)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

More information regarding the requirements can be found here:

Continuing Education Programs

Continuing education is an important element of the Transportation Engineering program. Continuing education activities include organizing and hosting conferences, short courses, and workshops.

International Conferences/Workshops

  • International expo-cum-seminar on surface transportation – Opportunities and technological developments, 17-19 August 2006.
  • Indo-Swedish Workshop on Sustainable City Planning and Municipal Services (Co-sponsors: City of Gotenborg, Sida, Embassy of Sweden, Hand-in-Hand), Taj Connemara Hotel, Chennai, January 2007.
  • Indo-US Workshop on Recent Advances in Transportation Engineering 2007.
  • Indo-U.S. Workshop on Recent Advances in Transportation Engineering, January 10 – 12, 2007.
  • International Conference on Best Practices to Relieve Congestion on Mixed-Traffic Urban Streets in Developing Countries, IIT Madras, Sep. 2008.
  • Indo-US Workshop on recent advances in highway and airport pavement engineering, 2009
  • Indo-US Workshop on ‘Emerging Trends in Intelligent Transportation Systems’, February 11-13, 2010.

National Conferences/Workshops

  • “Charactarisation of Urban Road Traffic”, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, March, 9 -10, 2007.
  • National Workshop on Strategies for Sustainable Environment, IIT Madras, Sep. 2007.
  • Constructability workshop on rapid construction of roads in steep mountainous terrain including half tunneling & use of cold mix/warm mix for asphalt surfacing’, for Border Roads Organisation, May 31, 2007
  • Workshop on Improving Traffic Flow in Chennai, IIT Madras, Feb. 2008.

Short Courses

  • Training Programme on Highway Construction and Management, 6-10 February 2006 and 27 Feb – 03 March 2006.
  • Training Programme on Good Practices in Highway Construction, 10-12 July 2007.
  • Recent Advances in Flexible Pavement Engineering, 16-21 July 2007.
  • Training Programme on Enhancing Road safety Through Engineering Measures, 10-12 December 2007, 12-15 December 2007, and 2-5 January 2008.
  • Recent Trends in Bituminous Binder Tests and Bituminous Mix Design, 23-28 June 2008.
  • Best Practices in Highway Construction, 15-17 July 2008.
  • “Road Transportation Planning”, November, 3-11, 2008 & February, 23-27, 2009.

The Division has well-equipped laboratories with modern equipment for pavement materials testing and traffic engineering studies. The Division has an exclusive 24 hour computing facility for graduate students and research scholars. A number of application-software packages are available in the lab.

The laboratories are equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment.

Pavement Engineering Laboratory

  • Vacuum capillary viscometer
  • Brookfield viscometer with thermosel
  • Rolling thin film oven
  • Pressure aging vessel
  • Marshall and modified Marshall testing equipment
  • Gyratory compactor
  • Simple performance test equipment
  • Wheel tracker
  • Repeated load testing machine
  • Handheld roughometer
  • Rotary evaporator
  • Automatic penetrometer

Traffic Engineering Laboratory

  • Infra-red and Radar Traffic Sensors
  • Wide angle high-precision video cameras
  • GPRS based GPS units – hand held and onboard
  • Signal Controller
  • Auto-scope, Traficam – Video Image Processor
  • Radar speedometer
  • Sound Level Meter
  • Vehicle-Emission-Measurement equipment (Gas analyzer)

Computing Facility – Application Softwaree

  • Planning – Cube Base, Trans-cad, Saturn
  • Geometric design – INROADS, SPUI
  • Signals – PASSER III , Transyt-7F, SIDRA
  • Capacity – HCS 2000
  • Traffic Simulation – TSIS, VISSIM, AIMSUN, Dynameq, Dynasmart, and SimTraffic
  • Video image processing – Trazer
  • Pavement analysis and design – HDM 4, CIRCLY, APSDS, HIPAVE
  • Statistical/Optimization – SPSS, LIMDEP, GAMS, GAUSS

Centre of Excellence in Urban Transport

A Centre of Excellence in Urban Transport, sponsored by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Govt. of India, is currently being set-up in the Division. The research and development activities of the centre will focus on the following areas:

  • Advanced Urban Transportation Systems Planning
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in Urban areas
  • Urban Transportation Infrastructure Management
  • Congestion Management and Road Safety

To know more about the center and ITS lab, visit the Centre’s website.

As a major initiative of the Centre, a state-of-the-art Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) lab is being set up. The lab will include a traffic monitoring center with real-time data collection and dissemination capabilities. Traffic sensors will be deployed in the field to collect real-time traffic parameters; algorithms for data analysis, applications to public transit and traveler information systems, and advanced traffic management systems will be studied in this lab. The lab will facilitate first-hand experience of in-field ITS equipment in real-time operation.

Research Areas

The Division faculty and students work on both fundamental research and applied projects advancing, respectively, the state-of-the-art and state-of-the-practice in transportation engineering. These projects also enable students to pursue research to fulfill their academic goals and publish their research outcomes in international and national journals and conference proceedings. The details of the publications are available in the website of the individual faculty members.

Academic Research – Recent PhD Topics

  • Reliability based optimal routing and traffic assignment on stochastic transportation networks
  • Performance of bituminous mixes with modified binders
  • Study of Asphalt transition
  • Travel time and congestion analysis under heterogeneous traffic conditions
  • Experimental investigations and analytical modeling of rutting of asphalt concrete mixes
  • Traffic flow modelling under heterogeneous traffic conditions
  • Analysis of interrelated activity and travel pattern
  • Study on the effect of geometric design consistency on level of safety on intercity roads
  • Dynamic traffic assignment under multiple vehicle classes
  • Study of merging at urban uncontrolled major-minor road junctions under heterogeneous traffic conditions
  • Evaluation of turn lane at signalized intersection in heterogeneous traffic using microscopic simulation model
  • Studies on safety performance of two-lane rural highways under mixed traffic
  • Route choice modeling and network assignment in heterogeneous traffic conditions
  • Impact assessment of bus priority measures on heterogeneous traffic flow using computer simulation
  • Network level pavement management system for rural roads
  • Study of traffic flow characteristics on intercity highways using computer simulation
  • Study of variability in asphalt properties between production and construction
  • Study of vehicular interactions in heterogeneous urban road traffic using computer simulation
  • Development of appropriate level-of-service criteria for roads carrying heterogeneous traffic
  • Pavement material characterization and its influence on the stress strain analysis of pavement layers

Sponsored Research Projects


  • Traffic Control Strategies to Mitigate Environmental Pollution, IIT-Madras, 2003 – 2007.
  • Congestion Mitigation in Indian Urban Areas, IIT-Madras, 2004 – 2007.
  • Development of Multimodal framework for Transportation Analysis, IC & SR, IIT Madras, 2004-2007.
  • ITS applications under mixed traffic conditions using video data, IIT Madras, 2006 -2009.
  • Estimation and Prediction of traffic parameters under mixed traffic conditions for ITS applications, Department of Science and Technology, 2008 – 2011.
  • Modeling Mixed Traffic Flow on Urban Roads and Development of Capacity Standards. Sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Govt. of India,
  • Center of Excellence in Urban Transport, sponsored by Ministry of Urban Development, (MoUD), Govt. of India, 2009-2012.
  • ATIS Applications for Indian Cities, Sponsored by Ministry of Information Technology (MIT), Govt. of India, 2009-2012.
  • Field Performance Evaluation of Bituminous Mixes with Modified Binders, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 2006 – 2012.
  • Investigation on the Performance Grade Properties of Bitumen Processed at CPCL, Chennai and Development of Warrants for Modification, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, April 2007 – May 2009.
  • Center for Asphalt Science and Technology, Consortium of Oil Companies and Modified Binder Manufacturers, Nov. 2009 – Oct. 2014.


  • “Development of a Methodology for Enhancing Level of Safety at Traffic Signals” in collaboration with Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.
  • MoU established between Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana and IIT Madras under the collaboration initiated by the World Bank.
  • Indo-Hungarian Collaborative Research Project on Decision Support Models for Highway Maintenance Management, Sponsored by Department of Science and Technology, 2007 – 2009.
  • Indo-US Network Centre for Highway and Airport Engineering, Indo-US S&T Forum, 2008-2011.


Recent Consultancy Projects

  • Traffic Impact study for Star-Hotel and Software Park complex at Bangalore. Client: M/s. ITC Limited.
  • Development of Traffic Management Plan for Chennai Port Area in view of the proposed Second Container Terminal. Client: Chennai Port Trust.
  • Planning for Bus-&-Pilgrim Priority Elevated Roadway in Tirupati City: Tirupati Municipal Corporation.
  • Development Of Policy Framework For Managing Induced Development Of Coastal Road Corridors In Tamil Nadu, Tamilnadu Road Sector Project.
  • Technical Services To Customize And Implement A Computerized Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS), IBS Software Services Private Limited.
  • Road Safety Audit for East Coast Road, Tamilnadu Road Sector Project.
  • Evaluating alternative financing approaches for ORR project. HUDA, 2007.
  • Socio-economic evaluation of outer ring road project. HUDA, 2007.
  • Mode choice estimation for proposed Hyderabad Metro Rail, 2008.