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Urban Transportation Planning

Urban Transportation Planning

As taught in: Fall 2006




Mikel Murga

Frederick Salvucci

Justin Antos (Teaching Assistant)

Tram in Amsterdam.
Urban transportation in the European city of Amsterdam. (Image by Mikel Murga.)

Course Features

  • Lecture notes
  • Assignments (no solutions)

Course Highlights

This course features a complete set of lecture notes, together with a list ofreadings and assignments required for the class.

Course Description

The history, policy, and politics of urban transportation are discussed in this class. Also covered are the role of the federal government, the "highway revolt" and public transit in the auto era, using analytic tools for transportation planning and policy analysis. The class then explores the contribution of transportation to air pollution and climate change, land use and transportation interactions, together with issues with bicycles, pedestrians, and traffic calming. Examples used in the class are taken mainly from the Boston metropolitan area.

Lecture Notes

The lecture notes from the class are presented below. Each is courtesy of the lecturer named and used with permission.



Course overview, different perspectives from the instructors

Transport modes and characteristics (speed, capacity, LOS, external impacts…)

Traffic counts

Energy use at MIT, "Walking the Talk"

Fred Salvucci (PDF)

Mikel Murga (PDF 1 - 8.9 MB) (PDF 2 - 2.2 MB)


Transportation planning as a tool for urban design

Traffic calming: Design and implementation

Mikel Murga (PDF 1) (PDF 2 - 5.9 MB) (PDF 3 - 2.7 MB)


Thumbnail history of Boston transportation and analysis of historical developments: Interstate system, aviation, rail and transit

The planning method

Fred Salvucci (PDF - 2.0 MB)


Transportation and land use — chicken and egg

The transit challenge

Fred Salvucci (PDF)


Highway revolt. Resurgence of transit. Was the revolt a rebellion or a revolution? Discussion of emerging transportation issues and strategic planning model to "map" different approaches.

Fred Salvucci (PDF)


Quantitative methods: GIS, 4-step model, traffic models, NEPA

Fred Salvucci and Mikel Murga (PDF 1 - 7.9 MB) (PDF 2 - 9.9 MB)


Transit and parking policy

Employment policies, housing finance, tax code

Transportation and industrial policy

Fred Salvucci and Mikel Murga (PDF 1) (PDF 2 - 3.4 MB)


Environmental concerns: Air quality, energy consumption, global warming

NEPA, Environmental review

Infrastructure sufficiency analysis

Fred Salvucci (PDF 1) (PDF 2)

Mikel Murga (PDF)


Spending other people's money — what are the rules? Economic evaluation, financial evaluation, programming, fiscal constraint, job generation, industrial policy, constituencies, Jack Sprat, and organization choices.

Fred Salvucci (PDF)


Project selection

Cost-effectiveness, prioritization, institutional roles

MPOs and modal agencies

FTA cost-effectiveness

FHWA system completion method

Mikel Murga (PDF)

Guest Lecturers:

Laurie Hussey and Tom Rossi, Cambridge Systematics Inc. (PDF)

Astrid Glynn, Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development


Intelligent transportation systems

Congestion pricing

Infrastructure reconstruction

Operations and maintenance

Airport access and international access

Fred Salvucci (PDF)

Mikel Murga (PDF)


"Megacities" Perspective

Holistic approach to transportation and land Use

Course evaluations and wrap-up

Information on Mikel's IAP modeling workshop

Mikel Murga (PDF)

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