The Centre for Automated and Transformative Transportation Systems (CATTS) is a research centre for analyzing and quantifying transformation within transportation systems in the era of advanced technologies and automation.

The CATTS is the first research centre of its kind to address the large-scale impacts of disruptive transportation technologies and services on our cities. It is a multi-disciplinary multi-sector collaboration that gathers academia, industry, technology experts, and the government.

The centre was created to guide societal transformation in a positive direction, avoid the emergence of counterproductive travel trends, and emboldens Ontario cities as leaders in North America and the world. The CATTS builds on the strength of UTTRI, one of Canada’s largest transportation research institutes, which particularly excels in large-scale transportation systems analysis.

We aim to build the foundational analytical tools necessary to measure and assess the performance of a full-scale regional transportation system from three perspectives:

  1. Quantifying the large-scale effects and implications of emerging transformative transportation technologies via a set of analytical investigations, surveys, and modelling pertinent to passenger and freight demand and dynamic infrastructure systems (supply).
  2. Developing a set of tools to assist and enable positive transformation, encourage Mobility as a Service (MaaS), multi-modal integration, smart infrastructure control and management, and curb space management in busy urban cores.
  3. Guiding the transformation process toward economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable smart cities.


CATTS has been awarded a major grant by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alliance program.

Successful projects awarded NSERC Alliance grants receive funds that match the contributions made by industrial and municipal partners.

Currently, CATTS has two major municipal partners: The City of Toronto and York Region.

Upcoming Events

6th annual CATTS Symposium: July 6, 2023 "Transformative Transportation ’23".

Past Events

Since 2018, CATTS has been holding annual symposia to gather stakeholders from academia, industry, and the public sector to share research insights.


CATTS graphic of roadway in front of Toronto skyline
Graphic of three interconnected CATTS research themes

Theme 1: Quantifying Transportation

Quantify the impacts of transformative technologies on transportation system demands, infrastructure capacities and system performance.

  • Passenger demand changes
  • Freight demand changes
  • Supply, system and infrastructure performance changes

Theme 2: Enabling Positive Transformation

Guide the inevitable transformation in socially positive directions.

  • Goals: triple bottom line sustainability (Theme 3)
  • Maximize the automation of both vehicle and infrastructure
  • Control and management of systems to harness automation
  • Mobility and travel as a service leading to an integrated mobility system
  • E-sharing
  • Greener: zero carbon policy

Theme 3: Sustaining Transformation

Respect, protect and improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of our future cities.

  • Evaluate trade-offs, quantify the effects of theme 1 and 2 policies
    • on transportation
    • on greenhouse gas emissions
    • on health
    • on the environment
    • on the economy
  • Triple bottom line of sustainability
    • Economic
    • Environmental
    • Social

Projects by Research Area

head shot of Baher Abdulhai

Baher Abdulhai

Professor / Co-Director
head shot of professor in front of bookshelves

Amer Shalaby

Professor / Co-Director
Head shot of Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou

Marianne Hatzopoulou

Professor / CATTS Researcher
professor standing in front of colourful bookshelves

Eric J. Miller

Professor / CATTS Researcher
head shot of Khandker Nurul Habib

Khandker Nurul Habib

Professor / CATTS Researcher

Matthew J. Roorda

Professor / CATTS Researcher
Toka Mostafa standing on King's College Circle with CN Tower in backgroun

Toka Mostafa, PhD

CATTS Research Associate


The CATTS Virtual Reality (VR) Mini-Lab facility is currently closed,* abiding by the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The CATTS team established a mini-VR lab for conducting new research related to studying interactions of people and automated vehicles. This initiative creates opportunities for new research projects within our team related to studying human interactions with automated vehicles.

The VR-lab consists of basic equipment of VR headset, a portable VR computer, and a VR treadmill/slide-mill.

Our team, in collaboration with S2E technologies created a demo VR environment of their project of EVE Park in London (Ontario), addressing sustainable and smart residential neighbourhood. Vehicles within this neighbourhood are designed to run completely under automation, which creates several questions regarding people’s perception of safety as well as interactions with self-driving vehicles. The CATTS team presented the VR demo of the EVE park in its 2019 annual symposium.

*Upon resuming the normal operations of the university and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, the CATTS team welcomes collaborations with other researchers to use the mini-VR lab.

The CATTS initiative received seed funding from the Dean's Strategic Fund of the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering in 2017 to support the initiative and sustain itself beyond the end of the fund. CATTS has managed to utilize this funding and form partnerships with York Region and the City of Toronto. In addition, CATTS has successfully been granted NSERC Alliance funding that matches the cash contributions received from its partners.

Partnership Opportunities

CATTS is currently seeking cash and in-kind contributions from government and industry partners to sustain the Centre. If you are interested in becoming a partner to CATTS, please contact catts@utoronto.ca.

Contact us

Interested in learning more about CATTS? Contact us with any questions at catts@utoronto.ca. We would like to hear from you.