Spring 2024 - GEOG 324 D100

Geography of Transportation (4)

Class Number: 2105

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Mon, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Leanne Roderick
    Office: RCB 7138
    Office Hours: Office hours will be conducted online through Zoom. Book via 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 fundamentals of economics geography, the study of the forces that shape the arrangement of economic activity in the real world. Breadth-Social Sciences.

Course Details

The Spring 2024 human geography 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 political, social, and cultural 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.

Transportation is an important aspect of our daily lives, and plays a key role in shaping economic and environmental outcomes. Topics may include: walking and cycling; automobility and parking; transportation demand management, ports, public transit (subways, rail, bus); intra-regional rail transportation; tactical urbanism; transportation justice; and, social equity and transportation. Experiential field exercises and expert guest lectures will form an integral part of the course in support of our understanding of the geography of transportation. Assignments include an ethnographic observation of a transportation experience; a travel patterns memo; and, the group-creation of a semester-long project in collaboration with transportation planning managers with the City of Surrey.

This course will be comprised of active and experiential learning. Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course, as are students with diverse accessibility needs. Both SFU and the instructor are committed to accessibility. Please contact the instructor as soon as possible should you have any accessibility concerns about the course, field exercises, or assignments.

Course Guidelines and Policies

Field Activities: there are no mandatory supplementary course fees since it assumed that every student has a U-Pass BC. There will be multiple activities in this course; including group and individual walking and observation exercises in downtown Vancouver. Be aware that during these field activities there may be periods of crossing roads with busy traffic, and the need to stop and observe transportation systems in both busy and isolated locations. Appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn. Further details regarding safety will be discussed prior to each field activity.

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. If you find yourself in any sort of emergency situation, please call 911.


  • The relational, social, and spatial aspects of urban transportation;
  • The critical role of cities and their transportation networks in human history and civilization, especially since the modernization of cities in the 20th century;
  • 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;


  • Participation 15%
  • Transportation Policy report 35%
  • City of Surrey Group Project 30%
  • Human Transit Blog Post 20%



Jarrett Walker.  Human Transit, Revised Edition.  How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Communities and Our Lives.  Island Press, 2024. [NB this edition will be published in February - you will not need a copy until March]

All other readings and required materials will be available via SFU Library, and posted or linked onto the course Canvas page.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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