Welcome to the Center for Transportation Operations, Planning, and Safety (CTOPS)

The Center for Transportation Operations, Planning, and Safety conducts transportation education, research, and technology-transfer activities throughout the state and region. All faculty and staff members from The University of Alabama (UA), are eligible to conduct projects in all of these service areas.

The CTOPS was created by a resolution of the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama System (UA System) and began operation on March 15, 1999. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century  (TEA-21), Public Law 105-178, provided initial funding and established the CTOPS as a “university transportation center” (UTC) under the US Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). The CTOPS is not currently directly funded as a UTC. However, as partners with the Alabama Transportation Institute (ATI), the Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies (CAVT), and the Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS), CTOPS is taking a lead role in an $8M, FHWA-funded Advanced Connected Transportation Infrastructure and Operations Network (ACTION) project. The project will develop and deploy technologies to improve traffic control systems in west-central Alabama freeways and feeder roads in a project lasting into 2021.

The CTOPS mission contributes to the overall mission of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). Specifically, the CTOPS seeks

to advance technology and expertise in the multiple disciplines that comprise transportation through the mechanisms of education, research, and technology transfer while serving as a university-based center of excellence (2006 UTCA Strategic Plan, p. 12).

The CTOPS theme – Management and Safety of Transportation Systems – reflects the transportation needs of Alabama and the expertise of The University of Alabama faculty.  Several management research projects now focus on maximizing traffic management and minimizing congestion. Similarly, safety research projects may now highlight infrastructure sustainability.