1.253J | Spring 2004 | Graduate

Transportation Policy and Environmental Limits


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Purpose

This course examines transportation policymaking and its relationship to environmental politics. Students will develop an understanding of the transportation policy process, principal issues, institutions and stakeholders as they are related to balancing transport and environmental policy. The course theme focuses on the tension between traditional transportation policy values of individual mobility, system efficiency and economic growth with those of environmentalism and how policy decisions are made in this uncertain and politicized context.

Readings, lectures, role simulation and active discussion around specific case studies addressing environmental justice, sustainability, auto regulation, travel demand management, airport noise and mega-project construction will be used to explore transport and environmental problems. Each case will examine the efficacy and political feasibility of available strategies including: infrastructure development and land use regulation, market pricing, behavioral and technological alternatives, e.g., congestion pricing and taxation, car pooling and transit, ITS and new generation vehicles. Class work will include three brief policy papers.

Course Requirements

Each class meeting will be divided into two parts - beginning with a lecture and concluding with a group discussion. Class discussion during the second half of the session will integrate lectures, readings and cases.

Students are expected to attend all classes and meaningfully contribute to group discussions. Students are required to complete three policy papers.

The Final Project will count as 25% of the class grade. Each paper will be 8-10 pages and count as 20 percent of the class grade. The papers will provide analysis and policy guidance to a senior transportation or environment official regarding a specific policy problem. The case will be provided in class. Papers must reflect an understanding and an integration of the readings, lectures and class discussions. Grades will be based on technical command of the material and concepts, their integration, analysis of the case, and the quality of written presentation and argument.

Attendance and the quality of class participation will be another 15 percent and will be taken into account in borderline cases. Students are expected to read the New York Times and the Boston Globe daily to keep informed on current transportation and environmental issues.