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Building An Agile, Secure Transportation Sector

By The Numbers

150000 Metric tons of carbon dioxide per year—estimated output reduced by the joint FAA-MITRE-industry Metroplex airspace redesign program


Building An Agile, Secure Transportation Sector

Transportation is about more than getting from point A to point B. It’s an ecosystem that enables global commerce, military operations, travel, education, and space exploration.

Through our Center for Integrated Transportation and Integrated Systems Innovation Center, we take a system-of-systems approach to strengthening and modernizing this vital national and global infrastructure. We unite stakeholders—users, regulators, industry—to harness innovation and ensure the safe movement of people and goods across all forms of transportation.

Our applied research and modeling and simulation capabilities help close safety gaps, advance common and compatible technologies, and evolve best practices in this multimodal sector. From aviation and rail, human-operated and autonomous vehicles, maritime operations to space, we focus on the most effective outcomes for the flying, driving, and riding public.

A Resilient National and Global Airspace

With the Federal Aviation Administration, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and partners around the world, we’re propelling the next level of safety, efficiency, and security across our national and global airspace.

In a multi-year effort, our FAA-sponsored Center for Advanced Aviation System Development worked with government and industry to redesign the airspace around 11 geographic areas served by multiple airports—from Las Vegas to South/Central Florida. The joint Metroplex program’s novel flight procedures save time, workload, and an estimated 18 million gallons of fuel annually. Before implementation, we tested the new designs and procedures in our Integration, Demonstration, and Experimentation for Aeronautics Lab.

Aviation traffic in one part of the world reverberates across oceans. That’s why our researchers developed software to help air traffic controllers in Singapore better mitigate the impact of the area’s frequent thunderstorms. The technology could significantly decrease airline delays throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Aerospace and transportation are critical to our global economy, and we’re working to keep passengers and goods safe—from surface to space.

KERRY BUCKLEY, Ph.D., Vice President, Center for Integrated Transportation; Director, Center for Advanced Aviation System Development

Secure and Sustainable Space Operations

In the critical domain above Earth, burgeoning traffic means commercial, civil, and military stakeholders need a whole-of-nation approach to ensure U.S. leadership and security in space. Vital systems rely on a massive network of satellites and ground stations, making cooperation to secure space assets from cyber attack a national and international priority.

We collaborate across the space ecosystem to address shared challenges and opportunities offered in low-Earth orbit and beyond. With government, industry, and allies, we’re advocating for norms of responsible behavior and regulatory overhaul. These much-needed “rules of the road” and new regulatory structure will facilitate a sustainable, secure, and competitive space domain. 

Road Testing for Real-World Safety

On our nation’s roads, we work with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the auto industry to protect vehicles and passengers. To test emerging technologies, we manage the Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety (PARTS) and the DOT’s Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety, or VOICES, platform.

Additionally, underserved communities often lack access to convenient, affordable transportation. We apply our systems thinking and social justice frameworks to help shrink this gap. For example, consider the banks of electric bikes and scooters available for short-term rental in cities across the globe. We’re modeling traffic innovations, collaborating with policymakers, and assessing the benefits and risks of shared micromobility.

MITRE’s early work helped shape our nation’s aerospace and space capabilities from the 1960s onward. Today, our expertise, R&D, and strategic collaboration inform the vision of the transportation system of 2050, where safety, sustainability, and equity take a front seat.


MITRE accelerates progress when we connect the strengths of government, academia, and industry. We discover innovative solutions and approaches that didn’t—and couldn’t—exist independently.

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Learn more and watch videos of our impactful work on MITRE Connects.