The original Center at was established in 1995 by the New York City Department of Transportation for the purpose of creating an effective mechanism through which the transportation agencies in the region can work with each other and the private sector on matters concerning the deployment and coordination of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). In September 2000, the New York State Department of Transportation (Region 11) became a joint sponsor with the New York City Department of Transportation.

In 2015, the Center was re-established under the NYU Tandon School of Engineering as a new Center for Urban Intelligent Transportation Systems. The mission of the Center is to support and lead in research and training in global state of the art engineering of transportation systems—technologies and policies—with an urban emphasis.