11.953 | Spring 2006 | Graduate

Comparative Land Use and Transportation Planning


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

This course focuses on the land use-transportation “interaction space” in metropolitan settings. The course aims to develop an understanding of relevant theories and analytical techniques, through the exploration of various cases drawn from different parts of the world.

During the first part of the course, students will develop a basic understanding of: the major forces, patterns and trends of metropolitan growth today; conceptual and analytical models of urban development and the role of transportation; and the relevant planning institutions. The second part of the course will introduce the concept of accessibility and related issues of individual and firm travel demand.

Building on these foundations, in the third part of the course students will explore the influence of the metropolitan built environment on travel behavior, including historical interest and evidence, relevant theories and analytical approaches, techniques for measuring relevant aspects of the “built environment,” and implications for planning tools and policies.

The fourth part of the course turns to the other side of the land use-transportation “interaction space;” that is, the role of transportation on metropolitan land development. Students will learn about historical influences and then study in more detail the effects as they relate to provision of both public transportation infrastructure and roadways. We will also examine the implications for various financial instruments and institutional structures. Finally, the fifth part of the course will take a prospective perspective, looking at the implications of the land use-transportation interaction space for metropolitan futures, and our abilities to forecast them.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, students should have developed:

  • An understanding of transportation-land use interaction theories, including issues related to accessibility, travel demand, urban structure, and location theory.
  • An ability to interpret analyses of the influence of land use on travel behavior, accounting for potential variation in estimated effects due to the spatial scale of analysis, analytical approach, and data used.
  • Skills for measuring urban form and design from the perspective of travel behavior research.
  • An understanding of the impacts of transportation infrastructure on land development.
  • An ability to critically evaluate policies aimed to influence the transportation-land use interaction space.
  • A knowledge of the various relevant policy instruments, institutional settings, and analytical tools.

Course Requirements and Grading

The course meets twice a week for lectures and class discussions. There are no formal prerequisites for the course; however students should have an understanding of basic micro-economics and some understanding of, and facility with, statistics. For those students with the need/interest, a special session(s) will be organized to give students a basic aptitude in understanding regression modeling. Students will not be required to carry out regression analysis; however, the purpose of the special session(s) will be to help students understand the analyses as reported in the literature.

Students are expected to come to class having read the assigned readings for the week. Not every reading needs to be read thoroughly; the Instructor will give guidance when appropriate.

Students will be graded based on their performance on seven assignments, plus class participation, accordingly (as % of final grade):

Acitvities Percentages
Assignment Introduction (Graded Pass/Fail) 5%
Assignment I 10%
Assignment II 15%
Assignment III 15%
Assignment IV 20%
Assignment V 15%
Assignment VI 15%
Class Participation 5%

The assignments will be a combination of individual, partner, and group projects. In particular, Assignment IV will be a group project carried out in conjunction with the Passaic Studio in Architectural Urbanism. The configuration of groups and pairs for the relevant assignments will be determined based upon class composition and student skill sets.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2006
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples