Arterial cerebral blood volume (CBVa) is a vital indicator of tissue perfusion and vascular reactivity. We extended the recently developed inflow vascular-space-occupancy (iVASO) MRI technique, which uses spatially selective inversion to suppress the signal from blood flowing into a slice, with a control scan to measure absolute CBVa using cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for signal normalization. Images were acquired at multiple blood nulling times to account for the heterogeneity of arterial transit times across the brain, from which both CBVa and arterial transit times were quantified. Arteriolar CBVa was determined separately by incorporating velocity-dependent bipolar crusher gradients. Gray matter (GM) CBVa values (n = 11) were 2.04 ± 0.27 and 0.76 ± 0.17 ml blood/100 ml tissue without and with crusher gradients (b = 1.8 s/mm2), respectively. Arterial transit times were 671 ± 43 and 785 ± 69 ms, respectively. The arterial origin of the signal was validated by measuring its T2, which was within the arterial range. The proposed approach does not require exogenous contrast agent administration, and provides a non-invasive alternative to existing blood volume techniques for mapping absolute CBVa in studies of brain physiology and neurovascular diseases. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.