Summer 2022 - GEOG 324 D100

Geography of Transportation (4)

Class Number: 1824

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 4:30 PM – 6:20 PM
    SRYC 3310, Surrey

  • Instructor:

    Stephan Nieweler
    Office: SFU Surrey (tbd)
    Office Hours: Mondays 18h30-19h20 (or by appointment)
  • Prerequisites:

    At least 45 units, including GEOG 100.



An empirical and theoretical examination of the geographical aspects of transportation systems.


Course Description
This course introduces students to transportation from a geographical and planning perspective. Whether near or far, slow or fast, people need or want to go places to earn money, obtain goods, services and new experiences, and to interact with others, either for their livelihood or pleasure. Transport systems exist to meet the desire for personal mobility, and the shipment of goods that people want, and societies need. Some work well and some not, with many performing better for certain people, groups and places than for others. Mostly, we take transportation for granted until something goes wrong. While transportation geography is about going places or moving things, it also plays a central role in creating places and spaces, and shaping the interactions between them. This course explores the relationship between movement and place through topics such as transport modes (air, rail, road, transit), technologies (bus, LRT, SkyTrain), systems (terminals & networks), operations planning, infrastructure funding & politics, and the symbiotic relationship between transport and development. Guest speakers will bring professional perspectives to key regional issues, including transit-oriented development, rapid transit planning and active modes. Students will learn practical skills in sustainable transport planning based on global experience.

Class Meetings (1st Lecture: May 16) (1st Week: No Seminar); No Class: May 23/Aug 1 holiday

Lecture        –  Mondays: 16h30-18h20:  Room SRYC 3310 

Seminar (3) –  Mondays: 14h30-16h20 (Sec D101) in SRYC 3120 OR (Sec D102) in SRYC 3150

Mondays: 12h30-14h20 (Sec D103): in Room SRYC 3120

Field Trip: A walking tour of 2 rapid transit station areas will be undertaken with a guest speaker

Geography 221, 241 or 261.
This course may not be applied towards the Certificate of Liberal Arts.  Please contact the instructor if interested, and in the absence of a prerequisite.

Field Trip and Off-Site Group Work
Be aware that the planned field trip and some off-site group work may involve crossing roads with busy traffic. Appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn. Further details regarding safety, meals, accommodation and field supplies will be discussed prior to the field trip and group work. Students must at all times remain compliant with all student responsibilities, regulations, and policies as outlined in the current Academic Calendar, as well as relevant regulations and policies as outlined in the SFU Policy Gazette. This includes, but is not limited to, expected student conduct and the maintenance of appropriate medical insurance coverage."


  • 1. Participation: ½ based on group presentation of weekly readings during one week of semester; ½ based on individual participation throughout semester; 15%
  • 2. Issue response: using course readings, up to 2 media stories and other sources write a 1000-1250 word (4-5 page) technical memo on a current transport issue. Suggestions to be provided by instructor in Week 1. Due: Mon June 20; 20%
  • 3. Observation exercise: compare and contrast two Skytrain Stations and their immediate surroundings. Write a report of up to 1000 words with supporting tables and figures. Details to be provided in Week 1. Due: Mon July 11; 20%
  • 4. Quiz: Mon July 25. A few short answer questions based on readings to Jul 18; 10%
  • 5. Group project: your group of 4 or 5 will examine a transport mode/system in Metro Vancouver, and compare it to two other city-regions. Details to be provided in Week 1. The project consists of 3 separate deliverables: a) Report outline and comparison selection, due by email to instructor on Mon Jun 27 b) Presentation (15%), on Mon Aug 8 (with Q&A feedback from class/instructor) c) System description and Comparative Analysis Report (20%), due Wed Aug 10 (2 days following presentation to allow for revisions based on feedback); Individual grading for Presentation (each person presents a section). Group grading for Report (ensure each person’s work is well-integrated into a professional report). 35%


Course Evaluation
The instructor will provide details on the grading system, late assignments, citations, academic conduct during the first week of classes.

No Final Exam



Required Texts
Readings will be on reserve via the library in May 2022 (search at: Most readings are online journal articles or book chapters. Some selected readings may be available in print at Fraser Library (Surrey). In accordance with Canadian copyright law and best practices regarding fair dealing in educational settings, please use copies of copyrighted material distributed in class only for the purposes of this class and do not reproduce them in any way.

Students are required to complete course readings before tutorial and class meetings, as shown in the final syllabus (issued Week 1). Participation grading will be linked to knowledge of readings.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote, online, or blended courses study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.