Transportation policy and planning comprises the whole context of economic, social, and political actions that determine the distribution of development, goods, and services. Economic development planning, environmental planning, housing and community development, and urban design are all linked by travel and transportation systems. Transportation access significantly affects quality of life, and differences in opportunities between rich and poor, men and women, young and old, and people of different racial, ethnic and social origins. Thus, the analysis of transportation policy includes questions of production and distribution – how efficiently are services provided, who pays, and who benefits. Such transportation questions in turn lead to more fundamental ones about the functions of planning and public policy.


A leading center of transportation policy research in the U.S., our program is especially strong in the study of transportation/land use relationships, transportation as a tool of economic development, transportation politics and finance, and transportation and environmental issues. Our program emphasizes developing a broad, multi-faceted understanding of the historical, spatial, economic, social, and environmental factors affecting transportation issues. Graduates of this program tend to work for regional, state, and federal planning agencies, international and advocacy organizations, and for transportation consulting firms.

The Transportation Policy and Planning area of concentration gives students a broad overview of current transportation policy and planning issues. While the program emphasizes domestic urban transportation policy, all aspects of transportation policy and planning – inter-city, international, goods movement, and so on – are covered. 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, Union Station/Gateway Center, and the Los Angeles International Airport. Since 2000, student-initiated Comparative Transportation Policy courses have taken students to Berlin, London, and Mumbai (Bombay) for a week of field trips and meetings with local transportation and planning 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.

Course Requirements:

The Transportation Policy and Planning area of concentration consists of five courses  At least one must come from each course group, and the other two can from any of the course groups. UP 250 can count as both a Group 1 course and an urbanization course.  UP 255 can count as either a Group 2 or Group 3 course, but not both.

Course Group 1: Transportation and Land Use Courses
250 Transportation and Land Use: Urban Form (urbanization course)
251 Transportation and Land Use: Parking
252 Transportation and Land Use: Urban Design Studio

Course Group 2: Transportation Methods and Applications Courses
C&EE 180 Introduction to Transportation Engineering
C&EE 181 Traffic Engineering Systems: Operation & Control
M206B Advanced Geographic Information Systems (PP M224B)
M255 Transportation Policy and Planning (PP M244)
M253 Travel Behavior Analysis (PP M221)
254 Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

Course Group 3: Transportation Policy Courses
M255 Transportation Policy and Planning (PP M244)
M256 Transportation Economics, Finance, and Policy (PS M222)
M258 Transportation and Environmental Issues (PS M223)
M257 Transportation and Economic Outcomes
249   Special Topics in Transportation Policy and Planning: Aging and Travel
249   Special Topics in Transportation Policy and Planning:Electric-drive Vehicles: Technologies & Policies

Printable Requirements List

TPP Sample Curriculum