Transportation Systems Management GIS Specialization

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Transportation Systems Management is a multidisciplinary, dynamic field with many career opportunities. In the Master of Science in Transportation Systems Management offered by the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, students from any undergraduate background can prepare for advanced positions in the private, public, or non-profit sector as well as for advanced graduate study in transportation engineering, transportation planning and logistics/distribution.

Specialization in Geographic Information Systems

The specialization in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) brings the power of location intelligence to all aspects of transportation systems.

Students complete a 23-unit program core to understand the relationships between transportation, technology, information services and regulatory requirements; and to characterize, analyze, and address complex transportation problems at the system level by relying on both theory and applied analytical methods.


The unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology, and applications of Geographic Information Systems.

Students then takes SSCI 582 and SSCI 583, with a choice between SSCI 584 or SSCI 593 (4 units each) for a total of 12 units offered by the Spatial Sciences Institute:

Design, implementation, and interrogation of relational, object-oriented and other types of geospatial databases.
Examination of the process of geographic abstraction and modeling in relation to the different data models and spatial analysis operations available in current GIS.
Role of crowdsourcing, volunteered geographic information, spatial data infrastructures, and web portals in helping with the collection, storage, curation, and distribution of geospatial data assets.

SSCI 582 and SSCI 583 may be taken in any order after SSCI 581.

For a complete description of the M.S. in Transportation Systems Management degree program, please see the listing in the USC Catalogue.

Learning Objectives

Students learn:

  • the design, provision, operation, and effectiveness of transportation services in the larger context of economic and social systems;
  • how organizations can best adapt to changes affecting the transportation environment in which services are demanded and provided, including the relationships between transportation, technology, information services, and regulatory requirements; and
  • to characterize, analyze, and address complex transportation problems at the system level by relying on both theory and applied analytical methods.

Business and Career Opportunities

Private sector firms providing professional services relating to transportation frequently bundle functions involving engineering, design and planning. Larger firms are often contractors focusing on delivery of transportation projects. These projects are multi-faceted with complex regulatory and technical requirements, and firms employ professionals with a variety of backgrounds that span engineering and applied social sciences. Consulting firms in this area tend to be more specialized, though larger firms can have diverse personnel needs.

Business imperatives to minimize inventory carrying costs and compete for customers who enjoy a world-wide web full of options have driven substantial changes in how supply chains are managed and maintained. Distribution firms and supporting consulting functions have experienced considerable growth in the past decade and face escalating operational challenges and opportunities.

Public agencies also have substantial demand for transportation systems professionals. Agencies also hire engineers and applied social science graduates, but traditionally have more specific requirements for engineering talent that are driven by public safety concerns, and offer a relatively wider array of options to graduates in public administration, business, urban planning, and the emergent technical disciplines most relevant to these areas. Data science, geospatial science and telemetric options are transforming the way public and private entities are pursuing and even defining their operations and objectives, and the rate of this change seems destined to increase.

See what Hexagon's Geospatial Division is doing in "smart transportation."

Ready to apply? Interested in visiting a class?

Geraldine Perry
Director, Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Student Services
Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Tel: (213) 740-0589 |

Spatial Sciences Institute: