Legendary freeways and traffic, a diverse and expanding populous, serious air quality problems, the nation’s most crowded public transit system, and among the busiest air & sea ports in the world make Los Angeles the ideal transportation policy laboratory. MPP students in Transportation Policy benefit from the Institute of Transportation Studies – one of the leading transportation policy centers in the U.S. – for fellowship support, opportunities to work on research with faculty, and lectures and special courses on transportation topics.
Transportation systems connect communities, regions, and nations, and the faster and cheaper movement of people, goods, and information around the globe is widely viewed as key to economic prosperity. All of this mobility, however, occasions significant environmental costs, and building and operating transportation infrastructure is expensive. Transportation is at the heart of debates over international trade policy, national economic development policy, regional environmental policy, and community involvement in local land use policy. Given the Los Angeles role as an international transportation hub, and its legendary reputation for congestion problems, the region is an ideal laboratory for the study of transportation policy and planning.
The Transportation Policy and Planning concentration gives students a solid grounding in current transportation policy issues. While the program emphasizes domestic surface transportation policy, transportation students work on all aspects of transportation policy. Students learn about the relationships between transportation systems and metropolitan development patterns; they debate policies to address traffic congestion and urban sprawl; they explore proposals for high-tech traveler information systems within cities and high-speed rail systems between cities; they use travel forecasting models to predict travel behavior; they study the relationships between transportation access, poverty, and economic development; they learn about transportation finance at the federal, state, and local levels; and they examine policies and programs that aim to reduce the environmental costs of mobility.
Many of the transportation courses include field visits to meet with transportation policy experts at places like the Port of Long Beach, the Union Station, and the Los Angeles International Airport. In 2001, a student-initiated Comparative Transportation Policy course took 17 students for London for a week of field trips and meetings with British transportation policy officials. In addition, the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies offers transportation policy research opportunities for dozens of students each year, sponsors an ongoing lecture series that brings important transportation speakers from government, research, and private industry to the UCLA campus, and provides fellowship support to over a dozen graduate transportation policy and planning student each year.
Transportation Policy Cross-Listed Courses offered by Faculty in Urban Planning:
PUB PLC M244. Transportation Policy and Planning
PUB PLC M220. Transportation, Land Use and Urban Form
PUB PLC M222. Transportation Economics, Finance and Policy
PUB PLC M223. Transportation and Environmental Issues
PUB PLC M221. Travel Behavior Analysis
PUB PLC M224A. Urban Data Analysis: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
PUB PLC M224B. Advanced Geographic Information Systems
*MPP students are able to take this undergraduate course if they have not done so previously. Typically undergraduate courses do not count toward the 72 units for the MPP degree. Graduate students can petition to take up to 8 units of upper division undergraduate courses to count toward their graduate degree. This petition will require the permission of the graduate faculty advisor and the Public Policy Department Chair.