Policies for Sustainable Transport (PST)

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Remote students
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Code: 
ENVS 5086
Course Description: 

General Aims:  Transport is a necessary part of our life, while ‘other people’s transport is a troubling effect in the same time. The total air polluting emission of the transport is still increasing, even if the technical development always improve the specific emitting volumes. The transport is also a space polluter: more and more area of the surface is occupied by the networks and tools of the transportation. The change of the trends needs both technical and social development and understanding.

The course aims to give students an understanding of the difference between the transport policies of the mid twentieth century and that of the last half century. In the early modernization period the main target was the construction of the hardware of the transportation and to reconstruct the city tissue to be capable for serving the automobile traffic. The lectures present that kind of historical transport elements in public (‘mass’) transport, in road and rail constructions or in other technical modes, including urban transport; and also present their separation and impacts of that transportation on the environment and on the urban life. The sustainable transport solutions try to integrate transport into the other activities of life; also integrate local (urban) and suburban (regional) transport services; or enforce the cooperation between the different technical modes of the transport (intermodality).

The lectures present the different international solutions of the sustainable transport, the different recommendations for promoting sustainability; and also the development of the transport policies of the European Union or single countries.

Tutorial time will give students the opportunity to discuss aspects of the course and to make presentations on the transport problems/solutions of their home countries.

Specific objectives: Course schedule. The course will deal with different major aspects of the transport issue. 

A. Historical background: Transport in the pre-industrial, in the industrial and in the post industrial world. Main targets, change of the targets

B. Transport policies: History of government influence, country-wide policies: regional, country-wide, urban level (Environmental, social, economic) objectives of transport policies – and real impacts of different solutions. Measuring, monitoring, evaluating of outcomes, indicators. EU transport policies, its change. (Policy documents, main objectives, transport networks, TEN-T). Tutorial: Transport policy of different countries – in students’ home countries.

C. Urban transport problems and solutions: The ‘tragedy-of-commons’ nature of urban space problem. From mass-transit to public transport; Blurring limits between private and public solutions. SUMP = Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans and its use/adaptation problems in specific cities.

Learning Outcomes: 

Students attending the course will gain an understanding of the big change between the traditional automobile-based transport development and the sustainable transport solutions. The course also introduce important thinking patterns and key examples that points over the transportation issues. These are such as path dependency, public goods, tragedy-of-commons, modernity-postmodernity dilemmas, space-pollution, intergenerational and intra-generational solidarity, sectorial and territorial integration etc. 

  • Class participation (20%): active student participation in class discussions is expected and encouraged; evidence of reading the assigned texts; minor home tasks.
  • Final individual written assignment and project presentation (80%): course project in a form of a case study, assessing the country’s (or region’s, or city’s) current transportation issues.