Established in 1982 as the Malaysian Centre for Transport Studies (MaCTRANs) – the name by which it was known for 20 years – MITRANS traces its origins back to the Faculty of Business Management. The institute was founded upon the proposal put forth by the Deputy Minister of Transport, who foresaw the need for a research centre dedicated to the study of transportation issues. The core mission was to address long term and contemporary transportation challenges through research and innovation, the establishment of smart partnerships involving academic and industrial expertise besides the education and training of future experts in the field.

Realising the importance of transportation and logistics sectors in the development of the country, which cover a range of multi-disciplinary areas, the centre was expanded and re-housed under the Vice Chancellor’s office in 1995. Breaking ties with the faculty enabled the centre to function independently as a centre of excellence. MaCTRANS expanded its activities to include the involvement of experts from other faculties, such as the Faculties of Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the Faculty of Computer Sciences and Mathematics.
In 2003, spearheaded by the leadership of Yang Mulia Associate Prof. Tengku Dato’ Dr. Jamaluddin Tengku Mahmud Shah Al-haj and his management team, a proposal was submitted to UiTM for the upgrading of MaCTRANS from a centre to an institute. It was approved by the senate and the executive committee of the university in June 2003 and hence, MACTRANS was officially renamed the Malaysia Institute of Transport (MITRANS), with Yang Mulia Prof. Tengku Dato’ Dr. Jamaluddin becoming its first director.

The establishment of MITRANS augurs well with UiTM being the only public institution of higher learning in the country offering comprehensive transport-related studies and training programmes. The quality of MITRANS services is mirrored in its researchers, academia and postgraduate students who work in an environment that encourages interdisciplinarity, collaboration and innovation. Such initiatives have kept MITRANS at the forefront of transportation research whilst raising the research profile of the university and advancing its mission towards becoming a world leading entrepreneurial research university.

Today MITRANS is lead by Dr. Harlina Suzana Jaafar, its 13 director.

• 2016 – Present Dr. Harlina Suzana Jaafar
• 2013 - 2016 Prof. Dr. Saadiah Yahya
• 2011 - 2013 Dr. Intan Rohani Endut
• 2007 - 2011 Assoc. Prof. Sabariah Mohamad
• 2004 - 2007 Assoc. Prof. Hj. Mohamad Arshad Hj. Zainuddin
• 2002 - 2004 Assoc. Prof. Hj. Zakaria Ahmad
• 1996 - 2002 Y.D.M. Assoc. Prof. Tengku Dato' Dr. Jamaluddin Tengku Mahmud Shah Al-Haj
• 1993 - 1996 En. Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman
• 1991 - 1993 Assoc. Prof. Hj. Mohamad Arshad Hj. Zainuddin
• 1988 - 1991 Y.D.M. Assoc. Prof. Tengku Dato' Dr. Jamaluddin Tengku Mahmud Shah Al-Haj
• 1985 - 1988 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sabariah Jemali
• 1984 - 1985 En. Seli Bakar
• 1982 - 1984 Assoc. Prof. Hj. Mohamad Arshad Hj. Zainuddin