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Urban Transport Politics (ABPL90056)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeABPL90056
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject explores the politics of transport planning in cities and regions. It examines recent examples of transport planning in Australian cities and globally with a particular emphasis on how patterns of mobility and automobility have come to influence transport planning decisions. A dilemma is exposed between the political-economy and social desires to maintain automobile-dependency and the challenges this presents for ecological sustainability and social equity in the contemporary city and region. Urban transport politics brings to the foreground the changing roles of the public and private sector in the funding, construction, maintenance and operation of urban transport networks and the implications this has for the city and its people.

The subject examines a series of case studies that showcase the politics of transportation planning. Case examples will enable students to explore in-depth recent examples that showcase the changing political, economic and governance landscape shaping transportation planning. This includes such case studies as: contested tollway and light rail projects in Australian cities and internationally, the rise of car-sharing platforms and the anticipated roll-out of autonomous vehicles.

The subject is delivered in seminar form with readings, lectures (occasional guest lectures) and presentations from students. 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 planning as a political process, and the meaning of politics applied to transportation. 
  • Define the necessary components of sustainable transport and be able to apply these to specific cases. 
  • Understand the political-economy and social processes involved in the change of transport planning and the prospects for alternative transport futures.
  • Be equipped with theoretical concepts applicable to such change.

Generic skills

  • Literature search and assessment
  • Essay writing
  • Critical evaluation of policies and practices
  • Discussion and debating the values of transport policy in open forum

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • Essay 1 (1,000 words) on a prescribed topic (transport politics, due week 6 (20%);
  • Small group project (2-4 students producing 1,500 words per student), develop and negotiate a transport contract, due week 10(30%);
  • Essay 2 (2,500 words), due week 12 (50%).

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorCrystal Legacy
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours1X2 hour lecture and 1X1 hour tutorial per week
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

Last updated: 13 August 2019