NECTAR celebrated its 25th anniversary during the 14th biennial conference in 2017 in Madrid. This anniversary was a good moment to reflect on what changed and what should be the research priorities for the next 25 years. Over 60 NECTAR members from a variety of disciplines have contributed to the drafting of a research agenda for the future of transportation research published as a paper in REGION. The paper is structured along the eight NECTAR cluster topics: ‘Transport Infrastructure Impacts and Evaluation’ (Cluster 1), ‘Policy and Environment’ (Cluster 2), ‘Logistics and Freight’ (Cluster 3), ‘Commuting, Migration, Housing and Labour Markets’ (Cluster 4), ‘Leisure, Recreation and Tourism’ (Cluster 5), ‘Accessibility’ (Cluster 6), ‘Social issues and Health’ (Cluster 7) and ‘ICT’ (Cluster 8). The research agenda firstly highlights the growing complexity and need for multi- and interdisciplinary transportation research. Secondly, sustainability needs to be addressed in transportation research in its full meaning, including relationships between policy-making investigations and environmental and equity effects. Thirdly, ICTs and digitalisation, the development of (shared) autonomous vehicles and shared mobility will have profound impacts on economies and spatial interactions all-around the world, and availability of high resolution spatial and transportation data. Digitalisation generates many new research opportunities but also give rise to new concerns about privacy, safety, equity and public health.