Using Transportation in Knoxville

Getting Around Campus

The University of Tennessee has a transit system called “The T,” offering students, faculty, and staff a free option for moving around campus. Information is available on the website. Students can also download the UT Mobile app for routes and schedules.

You may also choose to purchase a bicycle to use around campus. Cyclists must register their bikes with the Parking and Transit Office and follow all local and state laws regarding cycling. More information is available at .

Getting Around Knoxville

Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) operates a free trolley service around the downtown Knoxville area. Information and maps are available on the KAT website.

While public transportation in the Knoxville area is less than robust, KAT also offers buses around the entire Knoxville area. Fares are reasonable, and a discounted student pass is available. If you choose this option, you will need to plan carefully for the time involved. Information about routes is available from KAT.


Driving in Tennessee

License Requirements

All drivers in the state of Tennessee must be licensed appropriately. Drivers must have a valid license from their home country, from another US state, or a Tennessee driver license.

It is strongly recommended that you obtain a Tennessee driver license if you plan to purchase a vehicle in Tennessee. Obtaining a Tennessee driver license will allow you to complete required state vehicle registration and will help with insuring your vehicle, which is also required by the state.

All drivers in the state of Tennessee must comply with Tennessee’s road laws. These are available in the Tennessee Comprehensive Driver License Manual: Especially notable are Tennessee’s laws regarding safety belts, child passenger protection, Driving Under the Influence (DUI), moving over for emergency vehicles, and texting while driving.

You can read more about obtaining a driver’s license in Tennessee here: Applying for a U.S. Driver's License.

Insurance Requirements

All drivers in Tennessee are required to have appropriate levels of auto insurance under Tennessee’s Financial Responsibility Law. This law requires a minimum level of liability car insurance, including:

  • $25,000 for each injury or death per accident.

  • $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident.

  • $15,000 for property damage per accident.


You must carry proof of your vehicle insurance at all times while driving. Your insurance company will normally provide proof of your policy to you.

Buying a Car

Many students may find that a car is necessary

Vehicle Title & Registration

When you purchase a car, you must title and register it with the State of Tennessee. To title and register your car, you must have:

  • Proof of identification and residency

  • A valid certificate of title (signed over to the buyer from the seller on the back of the title)

  • Odometer disclosure statement (if necessary)

  • Copy of current registration if transferring your license plate from your previous car.


You will need to visit the County Clerk’s Office in your county of residence to title and register your vehicle. You must pay fees for both the title and registration of your vehicle as well as sales tax on the sale of the vehicle. Registration fees renew annually. Knox County also charges an annual wheel tax.

A few tips for buying a car:

  • Research carefully. Determine what kind of car you want or need to fit your lifestyle and budget. Read consumer reports, comparison guides, safety ratings, and forums to learn about the car you are researching.

  • Check the classified ads in local newspapers or shop at various used and new car dealerships.  Many vehicles are posted for sale on fliers around campus, Facebook Marketplace, KBBAutoTrader, and on Craigslist.

  • Test drive each car. You’ll want to know if you are comfortable behind the wheel. Climb in the backseat to check for leg room and head space for passengers.

  • Check on insurance rates for the vehicle you are exploring. Rates vary greatly depending on make, model, year, and body style.

  • Once you decide on a car, get a car report on it (such as Carfax). This car report will provide a title search, accident report, lemon report, odometer check, and registration details.

  • Have a mechanic examine the car to warn you of any damage or problems with the vehicle.

  • Negotiate a price. Don’t pay more than you should. Most sellers do not expect the buyer to pay their original asking price. Offer a dollar amount lower than you are willing to pay, then work upwards as the seller makes a counter-offer. To compare prices of new and used vehicles, check Kelley Blue Book – .

  • Obtaining a car loan can be challenging when newly arrived in the United States with no credit history. Please consider budgeting for this cost before your arrival.

  • You must begin the title and registration process quickly after purchasing your car. You must have a valid Tennessee driver license to title and register your car in Tennessee.

Parking Your Car

All vehicles parked on the University of Tennessee property must be properly permitted. Lots are restricted, and cars parked outside of permitted lots will be ticketed. More information about parking costs and lots is available from Parking & Transit Services.