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Transportation Policy and Planning students in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs study the connective tissue that link communities and regions, allowing them function and grow.  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. Transportation policy and planning includes questions of production and distribution – how efficiently are services provided, who pays for them, and who benefits from them. Such transportation questions in turn lead to more fundamental ones about urban planning and public policy, and about the economy, politics, and society.

A leading center of transportation policy and planning research in the U.S., the UCLA transportation program is especially strong in the study of transportation/land use relationships, transportation as a tool of economic development, transportation politics and finance, social and behavioral aspects of travel, and transportation/environment connections.  Our program emphasizes developing a broad, multi-faceted understanding of the historical, spatial, economic, social, and environmental factors affecting transportation issues, as well as the cutting-edge analytical skills to needed for professional practice. The many graduates of our program today hold high-level positions with local, regional, state, and federal agencies, international and advocacy organizations, and with private consulting firms; this network of alumni help our most recent graduate find the best internships and jobs .

Students who complete the Transportation Policy and Planning area of concentration learn about current transportation policy and planning issues, the tools and techniques to analyze them, and concepts and theories to make sense of them. While the focus of many of the courses is on U.S. metropolitan areas, all aspects of transportation policy and planning are covered – inter-city, international, goods movement, and so on. 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 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, Cairo, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Tokyo for a week of field trips and meetings with local transportation and planning officials. In addition, the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies offers transportation 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 students each year.

Area of Concentration Requirements

In addition to the core Urban Planning courses, students in TPP are required to take five courses. The urbanization requirement for TPP can count as both a Group 1 course and an urbanization course:

Urbanization RequirementUP M250 Transportation and Land Use: Urban Form

Listed below are the grouped electives. Students must take at least one elective from each course group, and the other two can from any of the course groups. UP 255 can count as either a Group 2 or Group 3 course, but not both.

Course Group 1: Transportation and Land UseUP 250 Transportation and Land Use: Urban Form (urbanization course)

UP 251 Transportation and Land Use: Parking

UP 252 Transportation and Land Use: Urban Design Studio

Course Group 2:  Transportation Methods and ApplicationsC&EE 180 Introduction to Transportation Engineering

C&EE 181 Traffic Engineering Systems: Operation & Control

UP M206B Advanced Geographic Information Systems (PP M224B)

UP M255 Transportation Policy and Planning (PP M244)

UP M253 Travel Behavior Analysis (PP M221)

UP 254 Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

Course Group 3:   Transportation PolicyUP M255 Transportation Policy and Planning (PP M244)

UP M256 Transportation Economics, Finance, and Policy (PS M222)

UP M258 Transportation and Environmental Issues (PS M223)

UP M257 Transportation and Economic Outcomes

UP 249 Special Topics in Transportation Policy and Planning: Applied Transportation Equity