Next-Generation Tools of the Trade

Next-generation transportation expand s the range of modes and their objectives and effects, as well as options to consider in the planning process. For example, accessibility—or people’s ability to reach desired goals and activities—requires consideration of factors such as the quality of different modes and transport network connectivity. It also entails deliberation about trade-offs between different types of access. While roadway expansion, for instance, may improve motor vehicle access, it can also reduce access for non-motorized modes.

We will review the strengths and limitations of conventional economic, financial and technical tools and contrast them with an emerging range of next-generation tools. These tools are being developed to help support win-win solutions that achieve multiple objectives such as congestion reduction strategies that also reduce parking problems; increase affordability; and improve access for walking, biking and transit.

You will learn to see inside the black box of transportation analysis, gain an appreciation of how analytical methods influence decision-making, and learn how best to interpret and present results for a range of different actors. We’ll use a range of policy questions common in transportation planning and design as the basis for the critical evaluation of the limitations and unintended consequences of conventional analytical methods. We’ll also explore how next-generation tools could support an improved policy response. A review of existing best practices for next-generation tools will contribute to our discussion about how to improve upon and expand their application.

Prerequisites: We strongly recommend Next-Generation Cities and Transportation.

Currently not available for registration.

Schedule clarification: Online courses begin on the first date listed and end six days after the last date listed. The interim dates/times are not your actual online class times.

What will I learn

By the end of this course, you should be able to do the following:

Analytical tools

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of a range of conventional analytical tools used in transportation planning. 
  • Demonstrate your understanding of key next-generation analytical tools such as multi-modal levels of service, ridership estimation and travel demand for different modes, parking demand/analysis, costs of congestion, evaluating accessibility, multi-modal network connectivity, generated and induced traffic, and benefit/cost analysis for site-level transportation strategies. 
  • Analyze how conventional and next-generation tools contribute to answering policy questions common in transportation planning. 
  • Evaluate current best practice for next-generation tools and their transferability to different contexts. 
  • Demonstrate your understanding of how to present analytical results to different actors—land developers, elected officials, local residents, etc.—in a manner that supports next-generation transportation. 
  • Evaluate data sources, both conventional and newer, and their reliability for various analyses.

Pricing and funding next-generation transportation

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the costs of roads, transit systems and moving people and goods to different users and agencies, as well as how land use impacts these transportation costs. 
  • Demonstrate comprehension of the financial and economic benefits and spin-offs of next-generation transportation. 
  • Demonstrate your understanding of key aspects of funding next-generation transportation, including typical revenue sources and financing strategies, comparison of expanding the road system and transit versus making more efficient use of existing transportation infrastructure, the politics of financing and funding, and how to play the game well to advance next-generation solutions. 
  • Demonstrate comprehension of transport pricing for all modes—transit, cycling, walking, etc.—and evaluate the role that equity and subsidy should play in pricing and user-pay systems given funding needs and political realities. 
  • Evaluate best-practice case studies of pricing and funding next-generation approaches at different geographic scales from the region to the site, including who pays and how implementation happens. 
  • Identify key lessons and describe how to apply them in the context of your work and community.

See a sample course agenda (PDF)

How will I learn?

This is a 12-week online course. You will work within scheduled start and end dates, as well as assignment timelines. In some cases, your study schedule will be entirely up to you. In other instances, you may need to meet online with your class at a specific time.

Expect to spend approximately six to eight hours per week on coursework, which will consist of the following:

  • Reading online material
  • Watching pre-recorded lecture videos
  • Real-time lectures and discussions
  • Asynchronous discussions
  • Small-group projects
  • Independent assignments

How will I be evaluated?

Your grade will be based on exercises, active participation in discussions, individual and group assignments and a final assignment. All assignments will build upon the real-world experience mid-career professionals like you bring to continuing education. 

Textbooks and learning materials

Most course materials will be available online. We will send you information about course access on the first day of the course.

Hardware and software requirements

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See Online Programs and Courses for helpful videos and additional information.

Professional development credits

AIBC CES participants, PIBC members and BCSLA members may self-report for continuing education learning unit consideration.

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