Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


Fred Salvucci, Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Associate, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Mikel Murga, Research Associate and Lecturer, Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Justin Antos, Teaching Assistant.

Course Overview

This class is an introduction to planning transportation in metropolitan areas. The approach, while rooted on the analytical tools, which estimate outcomes and benefit/cost ratios of a given alternative, follows a holistic approach. 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 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 a 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 U.S. transport policy. In parallel, examples from other countries describe the challenges faced elsewhere, as well as lessons learnt. There will be a walking tour of several transportation sites in Boston.


No prior experience in transportation issues is required. At least one course in introductory economics is preferred, such as the required classes for the Masters of City Planning and Master of Science in Transportation programs.


There will be four papers involving real-world case studies and a final project.


Grading will be as follows:

Papers 60%
Final project 20%
Class participation 20%


The textbook for this class is:

Buy at Amazon Meyer, Michael, and Eric Miller. Urban Transportation Planning. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2001. ISBN: 9780072423327.
Note: The ISBN for the paperback version of the textbook is 9780071200004.

More readings for the class are available in the readings section.

Key Resources

Much reading material related to this class can be found online by searching several sites such as: National Transportation Library, Transportation Research Board, Institute of Transportation Engineers, U.S. Census Bureau; etc.

A more detailed list of related resources is available in the related resources section.