Transportation Planning and Development

This is an introductory course that examines the complex relationship between transportation, land use and urban form, and the varied instruments available to planners seeking to influence this relationship. The course is divided into three parts: First, we take a historical look at how technological innovations, socio-demographic shifts and political decision-making shaped the way people and goods move around cities today. We explore the contemporary “urban transportation problem,” that extends beyond satisfying mobility needs into addressing the impact of transportation choices on energy use, equity, congestion, air pollution, safety, urban sprawl, etc. Second, the course provides an overview of alternatives available to transportation planners, as they attempt to (a) avoid long and unnecessary motorized travel, (b) shift the movement of people to socially efficient modes such as walking, biking, and public transit, and (c) improve the technology and operational management of transportation services. In this section, we survey transportation innovations increasingly discussed in cities around the world, such as bus rapid transit, congestion charging, adaptive parking and bike-sharing. Third, the course looks at how transportation planners craft projects and policies that are both technically sound and politically feasible, introducing (and critiquing) some of the tools and skills used by professionals in this field. Through lectures, discussions, case studies and written assignments, this course aims to introduce students to the field of transportation planning, and to develop their ability to critically evaluate plans and policies. No prerequisites.