CPT874 - Principles of Transport Economics

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCPT874
External Subject CodeK460
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Georgina Santos
SemesterAutumn Semester
Academic Year2015/6

Outline Description of Module

The module provides the basis for the understanding of demand and supply in the transport sector, transport externalities and corrective instruments, investment and economic appraisal and transport management. It makes students aware of relevant microeconomic theory and solutions to transport problems.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

(1) conceptualise transport problems in economic terms; (2) apply economic theory to current transport problems such as for example traffic congestion and CO2 emissions; (3) critically evaluate transport policies and programs; and (4) understand the main issues related to transport management. 

Students will also improve a number of skills they hopefully already have, and: (a)be able to orally present group work on a specific topic; (b) be able to debate issues related to transport externalities, transport policies and transport projects appraisal; (c) be able to write a critical essay with a clear structure; (d) be able to answer specific questions on different transport economics topics under the pressure of an exam environment.

How the module will be delivered

The module consists of lectures, group and class discussions and group presentations. The group and class discussions promote skills in communication, as do the group presentations. Most topics throughout the module are illustrated with at least one example or case-study, which helps put the concepts together.

Skills that will be practised and developed

During the course of the module there will be plenty of opportunities to practise and master a number of skills. Students will be expected to:

1.    be able to work in a group towards a presentation

2.    debate a topic in class, justifying arguments in a reasoned way

3.    read the latest research on a topic new to the student and be able to grasp the main points, regardless of the student’s background.

How the module will be assessed

Group Presentation - 25%
Essay - 25%
Exam - 50%

The potential for reassessment in this module

Students are permitted to be reassessed (usually once) in a module which they have failed, in line with course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 25
N/A 1 N/A
Presentation 25
Group Presentation
N/A 1 N/A
Examination - Autumn Semester 50
Principles Of Transport Economics
1.5 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Appraisal of transport projects. Important concepts in (transport) economics. Demand, supply and elasticities. Externalities and policies to correct them. Parking policies and road pricing. Discrete choice models. Transport management.

Essential Reading and Resource List

Button, K. J. (2010), Transport Economics, 3rd edition, Cheltenham, UK - Northampton, MA - USA: Edward Elgar.

Button, K. (2004), ‘The Rationale for Road Pricing: Standard Theory and Latest Advances’, in Santos, G. (Ed.), Road Pricing: Theory and Evidence, Research in Transportation Economics, Vol. 9,Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 3-25. [This is available as en e-journal].

Department for Transport (2011), Transport Analysis Guidance: Cost Benefit Analysis (TAG Unit 3.5.4), April



HM Treasury (2003), Green Book, Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government, London. http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/green_book_complete.pdf

Look at:

-Definition of CBA in the Glossary

-Discounting in Chapter 5

-Valuing non-market impacts in Annex 2

-Distributional impacts in Annex 5 (don’t go in detail but try to get the general idea)

-Discount rate in Annex 6

DTLR multi-criteria analysis manual[Chapters 2, 3 and 4]

This is an Internet publication from the former Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, available at


Goodwin, P., Dargay, J. and Hanly, M. (2004), ‘Elasticities of Road Traffic and Fuel Consumption with respect to Price and Income: A Review’, Transport Reviews, 24(3), pp. 275-292.

Handy, C (1993), Understanding Organisations, London: Penguin, 4th edition. [Chapter 7]

Santos, G., Behrendt, H., Maconi, L., Shirvani, T. and A. Teytelboym (2010), ‘Externalities and economic policies in road transport’, Research in Transportation Economics, 28(1), pp. 2-45.

Small, K. and E. Verhoef (2007), Economics of Urban Transportation, London: Routledge. [Chapters 2 and 3 and 5.2]

Train, K. (2009), Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://elsa.berkeley.edu/books/choice2.html [Chapters 2 and 3]

van der Gun, M. and R. Jeuring (2009), ‘Public Transport & Marketing in Small and Medium Sized Cities’, paper presented at the European Transport Conference.http://www.etcproceedings.org/paper/public-transport-and-marketing-in-small-and-medium-sized-cities

Varian, H. (1993), Intermediate Microeconomics, New York - London: W. W. Norton & Company.[Chapter 1]

Verhoef, E. T., Nijkamp, P. and P. Rietveld (1995), ‘The Economics of Regulatory Parking Policies: The (Im)possibilities of Parking Policies in Parking Regulation’, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 29(2), pp. 141-156.

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