The module comprises two components.
1) The taught part of the module offers (in Trimester 2 only) an introduction to research in transport. Students learn how identify research objectives and questions linked to the existing knowledge gaps in the transport field. They develop the skills to carry out a literature review, searching for literature by means of the resources available through the University. We exemplify research methods by focusing on surveys. We present the fundamentals of statistical inference and run some tutorials on statistical tests. Students attend research seminars, which give them the opportunity to interact with professional researchers. Students have to submit a research proposal and review the proposal of a fellow student.
2) The second component is the development of a dissertation on a topic chosen by the students. Students work under the supervision of a member of the staff. The deadline to submit the dissertation depends on when the student takes their last taught module and on the student status (full- or part-time) as per regulations.
The the module is broken down into three overarching themes:
Introduction to Public Transport:
This section outlines the major roles that public transport plays within society today, the different governance structure surrounding the delivery of public transport, the different approaches taken to the delivery of bus and rail public transport services, and some of the practical outcomes of these approaches.
Issues in Public Transport
This section of the course develops some of the ideas outlined above further, to examine the different roles that public transport plays in supporting the local society and the wider economic community. Specific topics will include urban based public transport (what American’s call ‘public transit’), the role of public transport in the more general social inclusion debate, attitudes and behaviours towards public transport usage, issues surrounding the provision of public transport in rural areas, and finally long distance public transport, which also includes examination of high speed rail and domestic air services.
The Planning of Public Transport
The final section of the course considers topics associated with the planning and operation of public transport services. This will normally be examined under four specific areas which are public transport network design, the costing of public transport operations, including issues that need to be considered when bidding for a local authority contract, the use of intelligent transport systems (ITS) in the planning and management of public transport services and finally public transport information, and pricing, which includes real time information and smart ticketing.
Road Network Operations – introduction to traffic flow, user characteristics, data collection, forecasting and capacity.
Highway Geometric Design Considerations – highway link design, including design speed, cross-sections, sight and overtaking distances.
Highway Geometric Alignment Design – design of horizontal and vertical road alignment.
Intersections – general junction design principles and analysis of priority junctions.
Roundabouts – types of roundabouts, layout design and capacity analysis.
Introduction to Traffic Signal Control – principles of traffic signal control including saturation flows, stages, phases, cycle times and green times.
Basic Isolated Traffic Signal Design – design of layouts and calculation of signal timings.
Advanced Isolated Traffic Signal Design.
Linked Traffic Signal Design - signal co-ordination, urban traffic control systems.
Intelligent transportation and urban traffic control systems for road network operations.
Development planning – development management, planning applications, Transport Assessment, Masterplanning.
Parking management and analysis.
Street layout and design.
Designing for walking, cycling and inclusive mobility.
Road safety - road collision prevention and reduction procedures, road safety audits
In the “economic” part of the module, we introduce the crucial economic problem of scarcity, and its relevance to transport issues. We describe the characteristics of free and planned markets, and how these resolve the basic questions of what, how and for whom goods and services should be produced. We then examine the underlying economics of the market in terms of demand and supply. The economic costs of mobility and how these are accumulated are then examined, before we study the economists’ model of perfect competition and then, from this hypothetical “ideal”, we move to consider government intervention in the form of transport subsidies and regulation that are needed in reality to provide society with the level of accessibility it requires in a sustainable and equitable way.
The “appraisal” part explains the need for appraisal procedures in the private and public sectors. We examine the business cases required to take decisions on public transport investments in the UK. We present WebTAG, the UK public appraisal system used to generate the evidence required in the transport business cases. We analyse the content of transport studies produced according to WebTAG guidelines, with particular focus on calculation of benefits for transport users and social cost benefit analysis. Finally, we examine the potential wider impacts of transport investments on the economy, the environment and society, and discuss the necessary conditions to foster positive welfare impacts
The module starts by considering the process of policy making and who is responsible for transport policy e.g. supranational, central and local government structures and the role of the private sector. Problems and trends in transport demand and an introduction to policy perspectives; economic instruments in transport; taxes and subsidies, funding mechanisms, road pricing; direct regulation of street space); Land use planning and the management of transport demand; evolution of road and rail networks; rural transport policy; parking policy; town-friendly traffic planning; green commuter plans; “Smarter Choices” behavioural change measures, the mobility impaired in transport policy. Implementation and evaluation of transport policy. Case studies of transport policy and planning approaches in various International cities.
The module is divided into three parts including a total of 14 units. The contents of these units are as follows:
Part 1: Introduction to transport planning and modelling
This section includes introduction to transport planning and modelling and types of data collection.
Part 2: Transport and Traffic Models
This section includes trip generation techniques; trip distribution modelling (growth factor and synthetic techniques); modal choice modelling, Traffic flow theory, Microscopic simulation models, Random models of traffic and queuing models.
Part 3: Assignment and Route Choice Models
This part includes route choice studies; traffic assignment models (including capacity restrained and stochastic methods); elastic demand methods; matrix estimation. Overview of currently used transport modelling software. Practical experience with software (generation, modal split and assignment)