Spring 2021 - GEOG 324 D100

Geography of Transportation (4)

Class Number: 2783

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 19, 2021
    10:00 AM – 10:00 AM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Leanne Roderick
    Office Hours: www.calendly.com/leanne_roderick
  • Prerequisites:

    At least 45 units, including GEOG 100.



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


The Spring 2021 offering of this course focuses on the mobilities of people, goods, and services in cities. Its starting point is that the urban form – particularly the spatial imprint of a city’s transport system – confers a level of spatial arrangement and path dependency in cities that have socio- political and economic implications. This course critically explores cities and mobilities, especially insofar as transportation is understood via an examination of historical and contemporary cases (from Vancouver and around the world) related to people and how they navigate, mobilize, and experience the city. Planned weekly topics include: walking and cycling; automobility; urban ports; intersectional geographies of transportation; public transit (subways, rail, bus); transportation disruption (ride-sharing); demand-side transportation management; urban transportation finance; and, the future of urban mobility. Students will have the opportunity to hear from multiple guest speakers throughout the term, providing opportunities to analyze the intersections of urban transportation theory with practice.

Remote Learning Format:

  • Most instructional content will be delivered asynchronously in the form of recorded lectures. Occasionally, synchronous conversations and presentations will take place during the lecture time slot (in the case of guest speakers). Any course content occurring synchronously during the dedicated lecture time slot will be recorded and distributed for asynchronous viewing. Synchronous lectures will be conducted on Thursdays between 2:30pm-4:20pm.  Please consult syllabus for applicable dates.
  • Weekly synchronous tutorial discussions. You must be able to be able to attend and actively engaged during your tutorials on Zoom.


By the end of the course, successful students will be able to insightfully reflect upon, analyze, and communicate:

  • The relational, social, and spatial aspects of urban transportation
  • Foundational concepts needed to engage with urban transportation policy issues
  • The regional and international context within which trends towards transportation infrastructure and investments are occurring
  • The complex politics and economics of developing and planning transportation initiatives in cities
  • Locating the self within travel patterns, modes, and complex economic geographies


  • Participation 25%
  • Assignment 1 20%
  • Assignment 2 35%
  • Final exam (take home) - asynchronous 20%


Course Evaluation (tentative)

Participation (25%, individual grade): preparation, attendance, and participation in class tutorials. At the beginning of the term, each tutorial section will co-create a rubric and agree upon benchmarks for the types of participation and engagement upon which they will be assessed. Using the rubric, students will be asked to submit a 250 word reflection and self-assessment of their participation at the end of the course.

Assignment 1 (20%, individual grade), is a choice of:

  1. Travel field notes/Mapping the self (individual grade): Using a reflexive ethnographic methodology, students will prepare a ‘thick description’ and mapping of your travel experiences over the course of 3 You will observe and describe your experience of transportation in the city, including: what modes do you use? What trips do you make? What emotions come up, or do not appear? What can you observe about comfort level, social frictions, etc.? This assignment is tentative - it will be determined in January 2021 whether or not it is possible for students to complete this assignment while maintaining strict adherence to the most current COVID19 guidelines from BCCDC and SFU.

- OR -

  1. Transportation efficiency project (group grade): Working with a partner or small group of students from your tutorial section, this assignment asks you is to create and deliver a presentation that makes an argument for a set of 5 qualitative and/or quantitative criteria that ought to be used to examine the efficiency of urban transportation modes in i.e. monetary, environmental, equity, health, distance, etc. Students will present their criteria to their tutorial groups via a virtual presentation. Students will be asked to submit constructive feedback and reflections on all presentations given in their tutorial sections.

Assignment 2 (5% P/F proposal, 30% individual grade):

You will prepare a 1200-word (excluding references, appendices, images, etc.) policy review that highlights research, urban design, and/or public communication of an aspect of an urban transportation issue, or subject, of your own choosing. The form of the assignment is up to you: it could be a report, a research analysis, an essay with photos, a survey design, etc. Think of this assignment as an opportunity to take a deep-dive into an area of urban transportation that interests or matters most to you, in a format that makes the most sense to you. You will submit a Pass or Fail ‘pitch’ of your assignment (in the form of an outline and proposal) in advance to your TA, worth 5%.

Final exam (take home, individual grade - 20%): In their tutorial groups, students will create a short list of possible essay prompts that connect themes and ideas broadly across course material.



  • Sadik-Khan, and S. Solomonow. 2016. Streetfight: Handbook for the Urban Revolution. New York: Penguin. (ISBN-10: 0143128973 / ISBN-13: 978-0143128977)
  • All other readings will be on reserve via the library, and available for digital viewing/reading. 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.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).