Transportation Planning Courses and Classes Overview

Essential Information

Several universities offer graduate-level degree and certificate programs that feature courses in transportation planning. These programs are often related to public policy and urban planning programs. Continuing education courses in transportation planning and similar disciplines are also available for those who need to enhance their knowledge for a career change or to stay on top of transportation planning industry trends.

During transportation planning courses, students may go over the following topics:

  • Capacity considerations of streets and highways
  • Smart designs for transportation facilities
  • Monitoring of traffic behavior
  • Forecasting of transportation needs
  • Analysis and modification of transportation systems

List of Common Courses

Basic Concepts of Transportation Engineering Course

An introductory course informs students about various systems of transport, including streets, roads, railways and highways, as well as traveling via water or air. Its lectures also address principles of transportation construction, such as drainage and earthworks. Some programs include a separate class in transportation engineering software that allows students to create virtual transportation system models.

Introduction to Traffic Management Course

This course addresses the basic concepts of traffic flow theory, which includes data collection and analysis of various traffic patterns and roadway capacity limits. It also examines intersection capacities based on traffic control devices, timing and intersection design. In some advanced courses, students learn about various simulation models to better understand how transportation systems affect different traffic scenarios, such as rush hour commuting.

Principles of Transportation Planning Course

Students are introduced to transportation planning responsibilities, such as the design, development, analysis and implementation of various transportation systems. They are instructed in different forms of system assessment and management as well. Topics also prompt students to consider pedestrian and bicycle traffic, parking capacities and transportation options for specialized populations, such as the disabled and the elderly.

Urban Transportation Planning Course

Urban transportation planning is a specialized area of transportation engineering that is included in continuing education training programs as well as graduate degree programs. Instruction in urban transportation planning requires students to consider various transportation options available in urban areas, such as bus, taxi and subway transit. Students also use simulation models that examine traffic flow, pedestrian traffic and transportation system capacities during various times of the day or year.

Transportation Planning and Environmental Concerns Course

This specialized course is included in some graduate programs, but it may also be available as a continuing education course. It introduces students to the impact of transportation on the environment as well as issues to consider when planning, such as land use, air pollution, energy use, high occupancy transportation options and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Some courses focus specifically on issues of sustainability by introducing planners to the incorporation of sustainable materials and practices into their designs.

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