This class is an introduction to planning transportation in metropolitan areas. The approach, while rooted on the analytical tools which estimate outcomes and alternatives, is holistic. This means starting from a scan of the site, its history and its current trends, in order to frame properly the problem, including the relevant actors, institutions, roles and interests. The design and evaluation of alternatives considers this complexity, in addition to construction, operation and maintenance issues. The decision-making and implementation process, including the needed feedback mechanisms, focuses as well on the need to build constituencies and alliances.
The course topics include the history of urban transportation, highway finance, environmental and planning regulations, air quality, modal characteristics, land use and transportation interaction and emerging information technologies for transportation planning. Students either with a primary or peripheral interest in transportation are equally welcome.
The course uses examples from the Boston metropolitan area extensively, both because of its proximity and the strong influence Boston has had on US transport policy. In parallel, examples from other countries describe the challenges faced elsewhere, as well as lessons learned. There will be walking tours of several transportation sites in Boston.
*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.