Urban Transportation Planning and Implementation

This course examines the policy, politics, planning, and implementation of transportation systems in urban areas. We will explore a broad range of topics that touch on the urban planning framework (geography, demand, and supply); transportation/land use connections; tools and standards (basic traffic engineering and demand modeling concepts); policies (congestion pricing, sustainability, transportation finance, parking); process (project implementation and evaluation), including the evolving landscape of shared mobility, connected vehicles, and new transportation technologies.

Special focus will be given to the Boston context and “culture” of primary agencies and constituencies, examining land use and density, housing affordability, economic growth and connectivity, equity and environmental sustainability.  The course content will focus on detecting, analyzing and considering both persistence and change in primary factors over time and pattern breaks.  Our goal is to elicit class discussion, to spark your own thinking, and have you challenge the assumptions behind “conventional wisdom” in transportation planning.

The format of the course will include weekly readings, lectures, and two-three-hour walking tours (scheduled outside of the weekly meeting) — one featuring highlights of Boston’s transportation history and the other focused on the transportation issues that will be pertinent to assignments. Students are expected to come to class having read the required readings, submit to the class website a one-paragraph (no more than 150 word) response to the readings each week, and to participate actively in class discussions. Students will complete five assignments during the course, two of which will be assigned to groups of three or more.  A detailed assignment sheet will be posted for each assignment along with recommended resources.  Student evaluations will be based on participation (reading responses, discussions, and presentations) and written assignments.