Skip to main content


VECTOR, established in 1988, has a solid record of achievement and is committed to continued excellence in all three of its mission components—research, education, and outreach. Recognizing the complexity of transportation issues in the private sector and at every level of government, VECTOR emphasizes the integration of transportation engineering, planning, and management. Other distinguishing characteristics of VECTOR’s work include ground-breaking applications of information technology and risk management, systems thinking, and adherence to our statement of shared values.
Current research is focused on these topics:
  • Policy, management, and operations
  • Advanced information systems
  • Intermodal freight
  • Safety, security, and risk management
  • Incident management and emergency operations
  • Climate Change
  • Smart Cities
  • Risk and Resilience
  • Transportation System Management
VECTOR represents Vanderbilt as one of the member institutions of the Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center (MarTREC), a USDOT Tier 1 University Transportation Center (UTC) led by the University of Arkansas.  Historically, VECTOR has been active in other successful UTCs including the Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE), the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute, and the Southeastern Transportation Center (STC). VECTOR also has ongoing partnerships and working arrangements with other research institutions, professional organizations, and transportation industry leaders. VECTOR draws on resources from the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering and other schools and departments of Vanderbilt University.


The mission of VECTOR is to improve the quality of life in our community, region, and nation through leadership and excellence in transportation research, education, and outreach using all of the resources of the university and strong partnerships with government and industry.


In all our work, we emphasize:
  • Objectivity
  • Interdisciplinary approaches
  • Innovation
  • Timely delivery of cost effective results
  • Quality
  • Responsiveness to our stakeholders
We seek transportation solutions that:
  • are both effective and efficient
  • use state-of-the art technology and information systems
  • enhance safety and security
  • incorporate environmental protection and improvement