About STEP

Portland State University is a great place to study transportation planning and engineering. Portland, Oregon is famous for its multimodal transportation system. Portland is a hub for advanced transportation research conducted at Portland State University in close partnership with renowned transportation agencies and firms. We have vibrant undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. programs with full funding (tuition plus a stipend) available for top students, energetic and committed faculty, more than 25 specialized transportation courses, we are part of the new Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, have beautiful new classroom buildings, laboratories and a wonderful downtown Portland location!

Travel Reimbursement Criteria

STEP, through a grant from OTREC, offers a limited number of travel reimbursements for students traveling to and participating in conferences. The reimbursement amount depends on a number of criteria, including: 1) The total amount of funding available for a particular conference, 2) The number of students attending a particular conference, 3) The student’s participation in the conference (i.e., is the student presenting work?), and 4) The student’s participation in STEP activities. Reimbursements are available on a tiered basis. The final levels of support will depend on the number of students presenting/applying for each event. Students presenting work at the conference will always receive the highest reimbursement tier. Regarding STEP participation, a student who does not participate in any STEP events throughout the year will receive the lowest reimbursement tier (if any). STEP should not be treated as a simple source of funding; it is an academic student group and asks for participation from each of its members. Students wishing for reimbursement will need to fill out a Travel Authorization Form before the conference and a Travel Reimbursement Form after the conference (remember to keep all receipts/emails for your expenses!). STEP’s officers will send an email or post on the website to make the deadline for filing forms clear both before and after a particular conference. To ensure that the highest numbers of students are able to participate in conferences, it is expected that students with family/friends near the conference do not request reimbursement for lodging expenses (if free accommodation is close and convenient).

For the Transportation Research Board 90th Annual Meeting (2011) funding criteria, click here.


PSU students and graduates typically easily find excellent internship and permanent employment opportunities with transportation agencies and consulting firms in the Portland region, in Oregon or along the West Coast. Students are working or interning for: the Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Metro, TriMet, Washington Department of Transportation, City of Salem, DKS Associates, Kittelson and Associates, CH2MHill, URS, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Alta Planning + Design, City of Vancouver, IBI Group, David Evans and Associates, PTV America, Federal Highway Administration, Murray Smith & Associates, Group Mackenzie, WRG Design, Clackamas County, Parametrix, and more!! For more information about our fantastic alumni, please see:


There are currently eight graduate-level degree programs within which students can specialize in transportation:

Our students are both full- and part-time. Students who participate in STEP are also seeking undergraduate degrees such as:

Transportation education and research at PSU focuses on transportation systems, infrastructure, policy, and planning. We cover all modes of transport and the relationships and interactions of transportation systems with land use, the economy, the environment, institutions, and people. Our programs are multidisciplinary. Faculty conduct research on a wide range of topics, including: transit operations; relationships between urban form, travel behavior and health; intelligent transportation systems; safety; transportation finance; transportation and environmental planning; and land use planning and transportation infrastructure.

There are also several opportunities to attend seminars and classes. Students can join the Center for Transportation Studies "Transportation" email list and the Portland State University STEP (Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning) email list.

The Center for Transportation Studies, in cooperation with the Center for Urban Studies, School of Urban Studies and Planning and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, offers a Transportation Seminar Series. The seminars are presented each Friday during the academic year in the Distance Learning Center. Students, transportation professionals, and community members are welcome to participate in person and via live streaming video. Remote participants are invited to submit questions by email during the seminars, and all seminars are archived in streaming video format for future viewing.

Feel free to contact us for more information, and particularly if you would like to learn more about our programs from the student perspective. We would be glad to help you arrange a campus tour or discuss any aspect of life as a transportation student at Portland State University. Please let us hear from you!

Faculty Contacts:

History of STEP

STEP serves as Portland State University's ITE chapter. PSU has had a student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) since 1981. The chapter actively arranges for speakers to visit campus and combines visits to "the field" with class activities. The ITE student group has a tradition of attending pre-opening tours of Portland’s newest Light Rail facilities. Recent previews have included Portland's newest light rail extension, the Interstate MAX Yellow Line. The chapter has also toured the MAX Airport Red Line and the new Portland streetcar extension to Riverplace. STEP student members also participate in an annual, region-wide Transportation "Jeopardy-style" contest, which is organized to enhance awareness of the transportation field amongst Civil Engineering students. The PSU team earned a first place finish in 2003, and finished a close second in 2004. Students have attended and presented at the 2003 ITE International Annual Meeting in Seattle, the 2004 District 6 meeting in Sacramento, the 2004 Quad Conference in Portland, Oregon, the 2005 Quad Conference in Vancouver B.C. and the 2005 Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington D.C. Sutti Tantiyanugulchai, a graduate research assistant, received the ITE District 6 Annual Meeting Best Paper Award during the August 2003 meeting in Seattle, Washington, for his paper entitled, "Analysis of a Transit Bus as a Probe Vehicle for Arterial Performance Measurement." The transportation engineering community in Portland, represented by the Oregon Section of ITE, is also strongly behind the PSU chapter, recognizing that it is the most active chapter in the state. Professor Robert Bertini was named most outstanding individual by the Oregon Section of ITE for his influence and contribution to the transportation community in Oregon. Professor Kent Lall, a former chapter advisor, was given an award from the Oregon Section for his years of service to the student chapter. The Oregon Section has contributed approximately $400 in 2005, $150 in 2004, and $300 in 2003 to the chapter for its activities. The section has also enlisted the chapter’s help in promoting the 2007 District 6 meeting in Portland and will allow students to keep all proceeds from a silent auction at this year's annual meeting.