The U.S. Department of Transportation Program of University Research aims to focus interdisciplinary research on all phases of transportation problems. This involves the work of economists, geographers, demographers, city planners, behavioral scientists, as well as technologists. The very best minds in our universities will be needed to help us understand the complex, critical relationships between transportation and the society it serves. This paper outlines the objectives of the Program and DOT's philosophy in granting contracts to the universities. In contrast to many other programs, in this one the federal government is the sponsor of the research-the “customer” is the transportation communities. Thus, proposals involve a high degree of commitment between the universities and their local transportation communities.