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MSc-Postgraduate Diploma-Postgraduate Certificate Transport Planning

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  • Objectives
    -To analyse the complex relationships between transport and land use -To apply the concept of sustainability to spatial development and transport planning -To understand the application of techniques of traffic analysis at an advanced level -To identify and evaluate solutions to complex transport problems -To evaluate policy and funding mechanisms in the context of current and emerging transport issues -To develop additional transferable skills in communication, presentation, and the management of learning -To consider the growing importance of the European level of governance in transport policy The guiding principles of the course, in line with elements of the University's mission statement, are: -To maintain a particular commitment to the South-West region -To command a high reputation amongst employers -To be well known for the quality of its teaching -To emphasise the importance of values, the pursuit and utility of knowledge, and the advancement of culture
  • Academic Title
    MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Transport Planning
  • Course description
    Introduction

    Transport issues are a major challenge within our society. We take almost unrestricted mobility for granted and rely on industry to be able to move goods rapidly and cheaply to meet our needs. These freedoms have led to problems of congestion and environmental impact that have become intolerable, particularly within urban areas. There is a need for knowledge practitioners to tackle these issues, not just in the techniques of managing traffic, but in the broader understanding of travel behaviour and in the aspirations of people and communities.

    The national shortage of qualified transport planners identified at the beginning of the decade (Transport Skills for the New Millennium by B. Billington and H. Wenban-Smith, Landor Publishing, September 2000) remains very evident, affects both the public and private sectors, and is particularly noticeable in the South-West of England.

    The MSc in Transport Planning at Bristol UWE was originally conceived to respond to the skills deficit, but has also evolved to reflect the expertise and interests of the UWE Centre for Transport and Society, from which most of the course tutors are drawn. Hence, it combines the teaching of ‘traditional’ transport planning topics such as transport economics and traffic management with new priorities, such as understanding the motivations behind travel behaviour and the role of transport planning in strategic master planning and in urban street design.

    Together with these underpinnings in strong academic research and employers’ needs, the course offers postgraduates the opportunity to acquire and develop the skills for a career in transport planning, at a centre of recognised teaching and research excellence in the field of the built environment. The Master's degree is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) and is designed to meet all the academic requirements for Corporate Membership of the Institute, with whom student membership can be negotiated as part of a special package.

    The benefits of study at Bristol UWE include:

    -A well-established record in the Faculty for high quality teaching
    -The opportunity to study either full-time or part-time
    -Good opportunities for specialisation, particularly through the MSc dissertation
    -Excellent library, postgraduate, and IT facilities
    -Supportive staff
    -Active transport research centre at the forefront of the field

    In short, a stimulating and supportive learning environment.

    Content
    The distinctive nature of the course reflects the core interests of the Faculty in the relationships between transport and society, town and country planning and sustainability.

    Stage 1

    This stage usually includes the three core modules of Transport Economics and Appraisal, Travel Demand Analysis, and Transport and Society. The first of these two are key skills modules, whilst the last mentioned module is designed to introduce the many strands of learning and skills that will be deepened throughout the programme. Also scheduled in Stage 1 is the main teaching input covering research methods. Successful completion of Stage 1 provides sufficient credit (in the necessary combination) for the award of the Postgraduate Certificate.

    Stage 2

    In this stage there are also three core transport modules: Transport Policy and Finance, Changing Travel Behaviour and Traffic and Management of the Environment, which deepen knowledge and skills in areas ranging from 'the sustainable transport system' via geometric road design, traffic management techniques and the measurement of the impact of traffic on the environment, to how the science of human behaviour intersects with transport planning objectives. Stage 2 also includes the course option module, with students choosing one from Strategic Planning and Policy Making and Movement in the Urban Environment. The first of these examines master planning and is studied jointly with the postgraduate town and country planning students and includes a week-long field trip. The second is shared with students studying Transport and Urban Design, and examines the key issues around streets as both movement corridors and ‘urban rooms’.

    Successful completion of Stages 1 and 2 provides sufficient credit for award of the Postgraduate Diploma.

    Students seeking award of the MSc will need to complete Stages 1 and 2 and, in addition, are required to prepare a dissertation on a transport-related issue. During Stages 1 and 2 students will be encouraged to develop their dissertation topics, with support from the research methods module and from the transport academic staff, particularly the MSc Transport Planning course leader.

    The full and part-time routes for students beginning the course in September 2007 or 2008 are shown below.

    Full-time course

    Teaching period (semester) 1

    -Transport Economics and Appraisal
    -Travel Demand Analysis
    -Transport and Society
    -Research for Policy and Practice

    Teaching period 2

    -Changing Travel Behaviour
    -Option: Strategic Planning and Policy Making or Movement in the Urban Environment
    -Transport Policy and Finance
    -Traffic and Environmental Management

    Teaching period 3

    Dissertation
    Part-time course

    Year 1

    Teaching period 1

    -Transport Economics and Appraisal
    -Transport and Society

    Teaching period 2

    Option: as above

    -Transport Policy and Finance

    Year 2

    Teaching period 3

    -Travel Demand Analysis
    -Research for Policy and Practice

    Teaching period 4

    -Changing Travel Behaviour
    -Traffic Management and the Environment

    Year 3

    Teaching period 5

    Dissertation
    Part-time students attend classes for two days a fortnight during each of four teaching periods over two years. The dissertation is prepared and submitted during the third year.

    Module details
    Currently available modules are detailed below. There is a choice between two modules within the CILT-accredited programme. Modules are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant, so some of them may change before the course starts or whilst you are on it, but the overall aims and broad content of the course will remain the same.

    Changing Travel Behaviour


    Travel behaviour arising from the choices of individuals is perhaps the most significant determinant of the effectiveness of national governments' transport policies. Issues of travel behaviour are highly relevant to transport planning, policy and practice. The concepts of travel behaviour are developed using a wide range of theories, understandings and issues relating to behavioural sciences and their applications in transport planning.

    Strategic Planning and Policy Making

    This module develops students' understanding of the process of producing and reviewing spatial plans and policies to address the current demands on the planning and transport planning fields. Hence it explores key planning issues including the notion of 'sustainable development'; develops the ability to solve problems and create effective spatial policies; and provides experience in collaborative working. There is a field course where students are required to work on a major project.

    Movement in the Urban Environment

    There is a growing recognition amongst the built environment professions that decades of planning which treated streets as corridors for high-speed movement rather than spaces for living has caused considerable damage to both the urban fabric and quality of life, and the status quo is a limiting factor on achieving an urban renaissance and more sustainable communities. The module considers the variety of functions that streets serve and how a balance can be achieved between movement, safety, sustainability and quality of life objectives.

    Transport Economics and Appraisal

    In part this module is designed to introduce students to the economic theory that underpins the understanding of transport policy and finance, including principles of demand and supply which are relevant to an understanding of transport modelling. These economic skills are though presented in a broader sustainability context, together with social and environmental considerations, in introducing the state-of-the-art transport appraisal procedures now important in the UK and beyond.

    Transport and Society

    Personal travel is derived from individuals participating in society as they go about their daily lives accessing people, goods, services and opportunities. The way we live shapes the way we travel and vice versa. Accordingly our understanding of travel and our approach to policy and practice must be derived in part from an understanding of social context. The purpose of this module is to develop students' appreciation and understanding of the inherent links between lifestyles and personal travel in the context of continuing social and technological change.

    Traffic Management and the Environment


    The devil is in the detail! It is important for the transport planner to give due attention to traffic management and the design of streets in delivering policy goals. In the past this has not always happened. The purpose of this module is to enable students to understand the conflicts that can occur in the use of roads and streets and to gain experience with the methods that can be used to analyse and resolve these conflicts. This will be explored in the context of a range of environments ranging from historical town centres to motorway corridors.

    Travel Demand Analysis

    Travel demand analysis is used to measure, understand and forecast how people use the transport system. It often employs models whose purpose is to estimate the likely impacts of an intervention more quickly and at a lower cost and risk than is possible through implementation and monitoring. The module will introduce students to theories, assumptions and methods involved in travel demand analysis and will provide the opportunity to apply the methods and assess their validity.

    Transport Policy and Finance


    The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of policy and finance at the various levels of governance (local, regional, national, European, and international) and the political, economic and environmental factors that have shaped its historical development and will influence it in the future. The module will examine policy and regulation of the specific transport markets and modes, including transport provision in regulated and de-regulated markets, and evaluate the role of public sector intervention. Students will be invited to critically evaluate the relevance and successes of European Transport Policy. Emphasis will be given to the key challenges at the European level, and on to variation in the transport problems and practices between individual states within the EU.

    Research for Policy and Practice

    The modules explore debates surrounding the approaches to research, and develop skills in analysis and the formulation of research proposals and methodologies. The module is taken by students on all the postgraduate programmes in the Faculty, although transport students tend to study in a group with the spatial planning students. The module provides a framework for enquiry to be used both in academic study and in practice, and is essential preparation for the dissertation.

    Dissertation

    The dissertation is the culmination of the programme of study; it involves a high level of critical analysis, self-directed enquiry and working near to the boundaries of existing knowledge. Students seeking award of the MSc will also prepare a dissertation on a transport-related issue. During the course you will be encouraged to develop your dissertation topic, with support from the research module and from the transport academic staff, particularly the course leader. The Southwest Branch of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport offers an annual prize of £300 to the student submitting the best transport planning dissertation.

    Assessment
    You will be assessed by coursework, oral presentation, and traditional written examinations. Assessment is by credit for each module, so flexible patterns for taking the course can be arranged.

    A distinctive and proven approach to learning

    The course provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, intellectual, professional, and practical skills in the field of transport planning. The course also aids the development of transferable skills, including those relating to communication, presentation, IT, and the planning and management of learning.

    A range of learning methods are used including formal lectures, workshops, seminars, projects, student presentations, field work and guided independent study. Teaching is offered mainly by the University's academic staff, supported where appropriate by leading external practitioners.

    The particular value of this course is that it will put transport - the movement of people and goods - into the broader environmental and planning context. The Faculty covers most of the built environment disciplines and transport planning students will meet students from these other disciplines taking transport modules as options.

    The course draws substantially on UK practice and policy but emphasises theories, knowledge and skills that are highly relevant in the international context of transport planning. There is wide expertise of international contexts amongst the faculty academics, including through work on research projects funded by the EU, and the transport planning tutor team is itself multi-national.

    Patterns and duration of study
    Part-time: usually starting in late September you will attend for 24 two-day blocks, scheduled once per fortnight during term-time over two academic years. Wherever possible, the two days in the block will be consecutive. The dissertation is prepared for submission, usually in either November or April of the third academic year.

    Full-time: starting in late September you will attend lectures on a weekly basis during term time, usually for two days per week. From June you will begin intensive work on the dissertation, with a view to submitting the following August, November, or April.

    On occasion it may be possible for students to begin study in January, but this depends on individual learning needs, and each case will be examined on its own merits.

    The Graduate School

    The Faculty's Graduate School was established in 2005. Its main purpose is to foster an active graduate community, encompassing students on postgraduate taught courses and students undertaking research degrees. There are currently around 700 postgraduate students (400 attending and 300 distance learning) on taught courses, and about 40 postgraduate research students. The Graduate School has dedicated space in the Faculty's building on the main campus, with teaching accommodation, a kitchen and informal areas. The work of the Graduate School is based on the Faculty's extensive research programmes, and on the innovativeness and high quality of its teaching. Student advisers for all postgraduate courses are located in the Graduate School Office, and they are your first point of contact if you have any problems or need information. The Student Handbook is also an essential source of information.

    You may also use the well equipped laboratories for spatial analysis (including mapping and Geographical Information Systems) and surveying technology, each with specialist technicians supporting both teaching and research. An audio-visual group provides support for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording.

    The Faculty has invested in online and offline computer-based resources to support modules, and especially those offered by distance learning. You also have access to a vast number of journals and databases online through the Bristol UWE library. The library and some computer labs on campus are open 24 hours, and the Faculty's suite of computer rooms supports software for word processing, data analysis, spatial analysis, computer aided design and other specialist software required by our students.

    Applications
    Students from a variety of disciplines are encouraged to apply, for example, civil engineering, economics, geography, planning, architecture, psychology and environmental studies. We normally require a first degree of 2:2 or above.

    We will also consider applicants with an appropriate professional qualification, such as the Bristol UWE Certificate in Professional Development in Transport, or with substantial relevant experience.

    This course mainly focuses on UK policy and practice, however some activities do focus on overseas contexts and the issues which it considers are of increasing importance and relevance to many situations around the world, so the course may be suitable for international students intending to return to work in their home countries.

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