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This subject explores the idea of ‘sustainability’ in application to the public policy domain of transportation. The subject takes a global view of the problem of transport with particular emphasis on transport impacts on climate change and global health, and dependence on fossil fuels, particularly oil. A dilemma is exposed between the dependence of the world economy on physical mobility and the ecological limits of fossil-fuelled transport. Sustainable urban transport, it is argued, must mean a shift from dependence on private vehicle motorized transport to transport systems with a much stronger element of active (e.g. cycling and walking) and public transport fuelled from renewable energy sources.
From the viewpoint of public policy, the subject examines barriers to sustainable transport, emphasizing the path dependency of transport policy, and explores ways of going beyond incrementalism to find paths to more fundamental or ‘third order’ change in the policy field.
The subject is delivered in seminar form with readings, lectures (and occasional guest lectures) and presentations of students’ class papers. Students are encouraged to bring their ideas and views into class discussions.
Intended learning outcomes
At the completion of the subject the student will be able to:
- Understand transport as a global problem, and the meaning of sustainability applied to transportation.
- Define the necessary components of sustainable transport and be able to apply these to specific cases.
- Understand the political processes and barriers involved in change of transport paradigm, and be equipped with theoretical concepts applicable to such change.
- Literature search and assessment
- Essay writing
- Policy analysis and interpretation
- Discussion and debating the values of transport policy in open forum
Last updated: 18 December 2020