Since its relocation to Taiwan, the Central Government of the Republic of China has been actively engaged in infrastructure development. This effort has brought prosperity to Taiwan and transformed Taiwan into an economically dynamic force. However, although the investments in transportation have experienced substantial growth over the years, they lag consistently behind the overall growth of the economy and the rise in living standards. Consequently, transportation infrastructure is inadequate and traffic congestion is worsening. Therefore, government authorities have the responsibilities to develop strategies to better utilize existing transportation facilities and to prepare medium-range and long-range plans to satisfy future transportation demand.
The development of transportation infrastructure requires huge capital outlays, while available manpower and monetary resources are always limited. Under the circumstances, there is a need to charge a single transportation planning agency with the responsibilities of setting priorities and programming for investment. Furthermore, transportation services are mainly regarded as public utilities and, as such, are subject to government regulations in connection with fare structure, capacity, formation and dissolution of firms, etc. To ensure that regulations are stipulated and implemented to the best interest of the nation, there is also a need for a single transportation planning agency to review existing and pending regulations for possible revisions. Finally, transportation services can complement each other but they can also be entangled in a counterproductive struggle to serve the same sector of market. In order to develop an efficient, integrated transportation system, it is imperative that a planning agency be dedicated to the development and coordination of transportation services. Because of these various concerns, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications established the Transportation Planning Board on August 1, 1970. Over a period of fourteen years since its inception, the Transportation Planning Board had completed a number of planning projects. Notable examples of such projects include: Taiwan Area Integrated Transportation Systems Planning Study; Plan for Integration of Freeway Interchanges and Connecting Highway Systems; Preliminary Plan of Taipei Area Public Transportation Systems; Taipei City Area Railway Improvement Plan; Plan of Taipei Metropolitan Area MRT System; and long-range Development Plan of Kaohsiung Metropolitan Area Public Transportation System. In addition, the Transportation Planning Board was also instrumental in conducting studies to assist the government in the formulation and implementation of policy decisions.
The Transportation Planning Board, however, was a provisional organization; it had very limited funding and manpower to tackle the increasingly complex transportation problems. Therefore, the Institute of Transportation was created on January 5, 1985 by merging the Transportation Planning Board with the former Institute of Traffic Research, which had the mandate to conduct traffic research and personnel training, manage battlefield equipment and supplies, and collect intelligence on Mainland China. Being a formal branch of the government, the Institute of Transportation is funded through a normal budgeting process.
Because of the increased demand for its services, the organizational structure of the Institute was expanded, on January 30, 1991, by adding a Deputy Director-General, an Interdisciplinary Research Division, and intermediate-level planners. And since July 1, 1999, due to the adjustment of government functions, the Institute of Harbor and Marine Technology has become affiliated to the Institute of Transportation and renamed as Center of Harbor and Marine Technology. It was originally affiliated to the Department of Transportation of the Taiwan Provincial Government. As part of the entire government agency reorganization, the Institute of Transportation’s organization adjustment has been approved by the Execute Yuan, and since August 1, 2001 the organization level of the Center of Harbor and Marine Technology has again been adjusted. According to the new arrangement, the Center is incorporated with the Institute of Transportation and becomes.