CPT876: Researching Transport

School Cardiff School of Geography and Planning
Department Code GEOPL
Module Code CPT876
External Subject Code K460
Number of Credits 20
Level L7
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader DR Brian Webb
Semester Spring Semester
Academic Year 2017/8

How the module will be assessed

Central to the course will be a major project which will require application of transport planning software for the study of urban transport issues.  

Group report

50% contribution

2,000 words


GIS report

50% contribution

2,000 words


How the module will be delivered

The module will be delivered by lectures and computer lab practical sessions.

Outline Description of Module

The module is organised in two parts.  Part A provides a generic introduction to and an overview of social science research methods..


Part B of this module is further divided into two parts. These include an introduction to the primary analytical tools used in transport planning practice (Part B1) and geographic information systems (GIS) (Part B2). Part B1 provides the principles and practice of building models for analysing and forecasting passenger transport, strategy development and appraisal. Lectures include practical examples which are used to demonstrate the basic principles and objectives of each stage within the urban transport modelling system. Part B2 introduces students to the use of GIS in planning through hands-on exercises, aiming to develop skills in the use of spatial data handling in a range of planning tasks. Each lecture of Part B2 is followed by a practical session which is concerned with the use of GIS in a particular planning task.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  1. Critically assess alternative approaches to social research and to recognise their strengths and weaknesses;
  2. Examine the empirical content and relations of ideas introduced in other modules;
  3. Identify suitable methodological approaches for a given research question;
  4. Understand the epistemological principles (theories of knowledge) that govern the activities of social research;
  5. Critically examine different strategies of data presentation and analysis;
  6. Develop a dissertation project and conceptualise and plan the research process and its component steps:
  7. Apply skills in selected methods relevant to a postgraduate dissertation.
  8. Explain and critically discuss the role of models in urban planning.
  9. Identify the strengths and limitations of the systems approach to planning.
  10. Appreciate the contribution of models (as abstractions of reality) to the support of transport-related decisions.
  11. Correctly identify the components of the urban transportation modelling system.
  12. Describe and discuss the main technical components of the above model, including regression analysis, spatial interactions and the discrete choice modelling framework.
  13. Understand the current use of GIS in the planning domain and the use of such systems in applied planning situations;
  14. deal with the main data sets used by planners in GIS projects;
  15. appreciate the major tasks faced by researchers charged with implementing GIS in UK Local Government through practical, hands-on studies of the use of GIS, and explore the limitations of GIS.

Skills that will be practised and developed

  1. Skills of transport policy design and analysis which are now widely expected of transport planners working in the private and public sectors.
  2. Problem-solving skills and experience of building practical solutions to abstract geographical problems.
  3. Ability to produce their coursework in the form of a ‘consultancy-style’ report
  4. Skills and expertise in a major commercial GIS package that is widely used by planners (ArcGIS);
  5. Skills in data entry, analysis and presentation within ArcGIS, and experience in moving the data /results from ArcGIS to other software packages (e.g. Microsoft Word, Excel etc);
  6. Experience in managing GIS projects;
  7. Enhanced skills in computer, IT and data management skills;
  8. Problem-solving skills and experience of building practical solutions to abstract geographical problems.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50 Group Report N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 50 Report - Gis Project N/A 1 N/A

Essential Reading and Resource List

  • Longley, P., Goodchild,M.F, Maguire,D.J., and Rhind,D.W. (2005) Geographical Information Systems and Science. Wiley & Sons. 2nd Edition.
  • Martin,D. (1995) Geographic Information Systems and their socio¬economic applications, London: Routledge. 2nd edition.
  • Ortuzar, J.D. & Willumsen, L.G. (2001) Modelling Transport, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester. 3rd Edition
  • Bates, J. (2000) History of demand modelling In: Handbook of Transport Modelling Vol.1 (Eds. D.A. Hensher and K.J. Button), Elsevier, London
  • Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods (4e) Oxford OUP.
  • Hennick, M (2011) Qualitative Research Methods.  London.  Sage.
  • May, T. (2011) Social Research: Issues, methods and process (4e).  Maidenhead.  OUP.
  • Silverman, D. (2010) Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook (3e).  London.  Sage.
  • Singh, K. (2007) Quantitative Social Research Methods,  Thousand Oaks, Sage

Background Reading and Resource List

Syllabus content

  • Introduction to Planning, Geography, Models in Planning
  • Mapping data in GIS
  • Working with vector and raster data
  • Site selection and planning
  • Network Analysis and GIS

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