MIT boasts a long and impressive tradition of research in transportation. Some notable research developments and their contributions to practice include: 


The objective of this partnership is to conduct advanced transportation-related research into aspects of transportation technology, policy, and safety consistent with the graduate and undergraduate educational mission of the contractor. Tasks that are defined cover all modes of transportation operations and safety-related programs.

The MIT Efficient Healthcare Delivery Group

MIT CTL has launched a research consortium called The MEHD Group (The MIT Efficient Healthcare Delivery Group) to drive innovation in healthcare supply chain management.

CTL believes that MIT’s considerable expertise in tackling large-scale complex systems will lead to breakthrough developments in a domain that has traditionally been addressed in operationally-focused and fragmented ways.

The mission of The MEHD Group is to envision the future of the healthcare system and create new knowledge, new technologies, and new business practices that will help improve healthcare delivery everywhere. We assume that transformative innovation in the healthcare supply chain is essential, and that in order to survive and succeed industry participants must be attuned to new developments and in command of new ways of doing business.

Establishing the System View of Transportation Planning

MIT researchers were instrumental in changing the profession's view of transportation planning by introducing economic, political, social, demographic, and environmental concerns into the traditional technology-based transportation planning process of the 50's and 60's. As part of this effort, MIT researchers developed and made operational disaggregate travel demand models which have led to a better understanding of mode choice and other travel behavior. Contributions included both methodological developments in econometrics (logit, nested models, probit, etc.) and implementation of models.

Life Cycle Costing

Tunnel and highway cost models developed by MIT researchers, incorporating a facility's performance over its lifetime, changed the funding criteria of international agencies. Those concepts were later adopted by the profession and incorporated into general design criteria. Similar methods for railroad right-of-way and costing were developed at MIT and implemented throughout the industry.

Railroad Planning Methodology

MIT researchers developed many concepts and costing methods for the railroad industry including the Service Planning Model, which uses MIT's PMAKE analysis. MIT researchers have contributed to operations planning, railroad maintenance modeling, real-time control, and many other functions. Many MIT students have also gone to work in the industry.

Trucking Operations and Planning Software

Planning models for less-than-truckload trucking and dispatching models for the truckload industry were developed by MIT researchers, and were adopted by most large trucking companies in the United States to run their day-to-day operations and their tactical planning activities.

Flight Operations

MIT researchers have laid the foundation for current practice in airline scheduling and flight operations by bringing operations research and analysis into the heuristic process used previously. These practices have been adopted and developed further by major airlines around the world.

The International Motor Vehicle Program

MIT faculty conducted a comprehensive assessment of competitiveness in the global automotive industry, sponsored by the leading corporations in the industry. Begun at the Center for Transportation Studies, the program grew to seed of an altogether new center, the MIT Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development. Two major projects - The Future of the Automobile and The International Motor Vehicle Program - yielded valuable insights about how Japanese automotive plants use the principles of "lean production" and "total quality management" to create advantages in the production of automobiles. A current expansion of that research is developing further insights into the role of automotive suppliers, and is evaluating efficiencies of product development between US, Japanese, and European automotive manufacturers.

The New England Transportation Consortium

MIT initiated the New England Transportation Consortium (NETC) in 1983 to help the region meet its special highway research needs. Involving the participation of the state departments of transportation, the states' flagship universities, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the program focused on the planning, construction, maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and operation of the highway system. It was administered by MIT, the FHWA, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); MIT and AASHTO were co-managers of the program. In January 1994, the Regional Office of the FHWA began the transition to assume the management of the program.