During his visit, Mr Grayling met with leading researchers and was told about how, among other successes, Leeds research has informed efficiency targets for Network Rail and the safety ratings of cars used by Euro NCAP.
Professor Richard Batley, Director of ITS said: "The latest generation of ITS professors cover topics reflective of the highly complex nature of our modern transport system, and we consistently strive to create new knowledge which benefits the public and private sectors.
"It was important to be able to explain our work to the Secretary of State, and to show how it can have a real impact on society."
Mr Grayling was able to see first-hand how ITS research is addressing societys transport needs in the face of rapid changes in environment, economics and demographics.
ITS researchers had the opportunity to showcase ongoing research projects such as DISRUPTION; a project aiming to reduce the energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector by looking at peoples mobility, including their travel and use of computers and mobile phones.
Other projects included research into safer cycling, climate change, energy security, technology and human factors in transport.
Mr Grayling also watched a demonstration of a pedestrian simulator, which allows researchers to gather real time data on people interacting with their environment while walking.
Mr Grayling said: "We want to encourage young people to take up the many exciting and cutting-edge careers in transport, and Im very grateful to have the chance to open the Institute for Transport Studies.
"What Ive seen today of the research being done - there is something for everyone in this department. There is work that will influence local authority and national government, and can get businesses thinking about how to improve efficiency and safety.
"Im confident that Leeds University students will play a huge part in shaping a modern transport system for the future, and I wish them the best of luck with their important work."
The event was also attended by key industry representatives from HS2, Department for Transport, Transport Systems Catapult, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, all of whom work closely with ITS staff and students.