This Course at MIT

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Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 1.252J Urban Transportation Planning as it was taught Frederick Salvucci in Fall 2016.

This course examined the policy, politics, planning, and engineering of transportation systems in urban areas, with a particular focus on the Boston area. Transportation sustainability was a central theme throughout the course. The main goal was to elicit discussion, stimulate independent thinking, and encourage students to understand and challenge the conventional wisdom of transportation planning. The course was taught in standard lecture format with optional recitations.

Course Outcomes

Below, Frederick Salvucci shares his goals for student learning in the course.

I wanted students to learn to think about how to structure a problem related to urban transportation. How do you identify what the problem is? How do you identify the constituencies interested in the problem, and what their different points of view might be? I wanted them to think about how to generate potential solutions to problems and how to evaluate those solutions. I also wanted students to learn how to use simple numbers to quantify solutions, thus avoiding the trap of being directionally correct, but dimensionally insignificant, which is a common problem with policy and planning issues.

 

Instructor Insights

There are typically four assignments in (this course), and they almost always take students into Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville.

— Frederick Salvucci

Below, Frederick Salvucci describes various aspects of how he taught 1.252J Urban Transportation Planning.

 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

No prerequisites, but permission of the instructor required.

Requirements Satisfied

Can be applied toward multiple graduate degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Urban Studies and Planning.

Offered

1.252J was offered every fall semester. Note: The course will not be offered at MIT in Fall 2017, but will be offered in Spring 2018 at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. MIT students can cross-register to take it there.  

The Classroom

  • A photo of a classroom. There are individual desks facing two chalkboards at the front of the room.

    Lecture

    Lectures were held in a classroom with a seating capacity of 42. It had sliding chalkboards and an LCD video projector.

 

Assessment

Grade Breakdown

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by Participation (Reading responses, class discussion, project presentations). 20% Participation

Student Information

22 students took the class in Fall 2016.

Breakdown by Year

Mostly graduate students, with a few undergraduates

Breakdown by Major

Typical Student Background

The students are usually in their first year of a master’s program, having graduated from a bachelor’s program, typically from an institution other than MIT. Sometimes we have a few international students.

Typically, some of the students possess significant work experience, but the majority do not. Most of the students have had only summer job-type work experience. There are usually a few who have worked for a few years before coming back for their master’s degree.

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12-14 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

Lecture

3 hours per week

Met 1 time per week for 3 hours per session; 11 sessions total.

 

Recitation

2 hours per week

Met during selected weeks for 2 hours per session; 5 sessions total; attendance optional.

 

Out of Class

9 hours per week

Students completed assignments, went on a walking tour, and attended public meetings, hearings, lectures, and other events throughout the semester.

 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled
2 No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled and assignment due.
3 No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
4 No session scheduled. Everett/Sullivan/Charlestown walking tour scheduled No session scheduled. No session scheduled, but assignment due. Lecture scheduled
5 No session scheduled. Recitation scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled
6 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled
7 No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled
8 No session scheduled. Recitation scheduled and assignment due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled
9 No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled
10 No session scheduled. Recitation scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
11 No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled
12 No session scheduled. No session scheduled, but assignment due. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
13 No session scheduled. Recitation scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled
14 No session scheduled. Recitation scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture scheduled and assignment due.
15 No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lectures are held. Lecture
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when Everett/Sullivan/Charlestown walking tour is held. Everett/Sullivan/Charlestown walking tour
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when recitations are held. Recitation
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when assignments are due. Assignment due