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Freight Systems (CVEN90061)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCVEN90061
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


There is a need for civil engineers to increase their knowledge and skills in freight systems since they are actively involved in the planning, design, construction, maintenance and management of a range of freight infrastructure such as roads, bridges and ports. Civil engineers require expertise in freight systems to reduce the social and environmental costs from freight including safety, noise and emissions. Training in freight systems also provides opportunities for freight networks to become more productive and efficient increasing economic benefits for society.

Freight infrastructure allows the freight system to operate, facilitating vital components of our economy, including production, distribution and trade.

The purpose of the freight system relates to its role in providing a service for the economy. Freight transport is a derived demand; it does not exist for its own sake. The primary demand is for the consumption of goods where there is spatial separation. Goods are generally stored, processed and consumed at different locations. There is a need for goods to move to increase their value for producers, manufacturers and consumers. Freight can be considered as the economy in motion. Goods are transported as part of the economic activities of production, manufacturing and consumption.


Freight networks provide a service for producers and manufacturers allowing access to markets for the consumption of goods. The benefit of goods being transported relates to their increased value at their trip destination. Reduced transport operation costs leads to lower production and distribution costs that creates opportunities for lower priced goods.

Intended learning outcomes


On successful completion of the subject, students should be able to:

  1. Analyse the major issues for key stakeholders in freight systems, including carriers, shippers, receivers, residents and administrators
  2. Investigate the impacts of freight using data analysis methods
  3. Evaluate options for increasing the sustainability of freight systems
  4. Generate multi-modal freight networks for improving the sustainability of freight systems
  5. Develop procedures for optimising distribution networks including fleet planning and management as well as warehouse and depot location
  6. Investigate the effects of increased vehicle operating costs, vehicle axle loads and road pricing on the performance of freight systems
  7. Synthesize the flow of commodities and freight vehicles in transport networks.

Generic skills

Having completed this subject, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Execute basic research and problem-solving skills - including problem identification, data sourcing, analysis formulation and execution, and the nomination or provision of viable solutions
  2. Organise themselves into effective working groups that replicate real-world (freight) project environments
  3. Manage personal time and workload efficiently, to deliver needed outputs in a timely manner (as per real-world transport project environment)
  4. Execute effective, professional-level verbal communication and discussion around current real-world freight issues and concepts, as well as professional-level written communication skills (for transport themes and projects)
  5. Understand social, cultural, global, and environmental responsibilities and the relevance of sustainable development principles
  6. Participate in projects which require team-work
  7. Understand the significance and value of knowledge to the wider community (including business and industry)
  8. Utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  9. Communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large, and
  10. Summarise and present design concepts and outcomes.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

This subject will use mathematical programming methods as well as statistical modelling and analysis techniques.

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

  • Tutorial problems (20%), derived from the lecture material, submitted weekly. Requires approximately 25 – 30 hours of work in total. Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1 - 7 are addressed in this assessment.
  • A group assignment (30%), requiring 2000 words per student, on developing a proposal for increasing the sustainability of freight in Melbourne. Requires approximately 35 – 40 hours of work per student. Due in Week 12. ILOs 1, 2 & 3 are addressed in this assignment.
  • A 2 hour end-of-semester examination (50%). Held within the examination period. ILOs 1 - 7 are addressed in this examination.

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorRussell Thompson
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours48 hours, comprising of 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of practical per week
    Total time commitment200 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

    Semester 1 contact information

    Assoc Prof Russell Thompson

    Email: rgthom@unimelb.edu.au

Time commitment details

200 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    There are no specifically prescribed or recommended texts for this subject.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 22 August 2019