CPT876 - Researching Transport

SchoolCardiff School of Geography and Planning
Department CodeGEOPL0
Module CodeCPT876
External Subject CodeK460
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Dimitris Potoglou
SemesterSpring Semester
Academic Year2016/7

Outline Description of Module

The module is organised in two parts.  Part A provides a generic introduction to and an overview of social science research methods. Part A of the module will provide the opportunity for students across all courses to attend ”Master-classes” from experts across the School of Geography and Planning in particular methods, techniques and perspectives.


Part B of this module is further divided into two parts. These include an introduction to the primary analytical tool used in transport planning practice, the four-stage model (Part B1) and geographic information systems (GIS) (Part B2). Part B1 provides the principles and practice of building models for analysing and forecasting passenger transport, strategy development and appraisal. Lectures include practical examples which are used to demonstrate the basic principles and objectives of each stage within the urban transport modelling system. Part B2 introduces students to the use of GIS in planning through hands-on exercises, aiming to develop skills in the use of spatial data handling in a range of planning tasks. Each lecture of Part B2 is followed by a practical session which is concerned with the use of GIS in a particular planning task.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

By the end of the module students should be able to:


  1. Critically assess alternative approaches to social research and to recognise their strengths and weaknesses;

  2. Examine the empirical content and relations of ideas introduced in other modules;

  3. Identify suitable methodological approaches for a given research question;

  4. Understand the epistemological principles (theories of knowledge) that govern the activities of social research;

  5. Critically examine different strategies of data presentation and analysis;

  6. Develop a dissertation project and conceptualise and plan the research process and its component steps:

  7. Apply skills in selected methods relevant to a postgraduate dissertation.

  8. Explain and critically discuss the role of models in urban planning.

  9. Identify the strengths and limitations of the systems approach to planning.

  10. Appreciate the contribution of models (as abstractions of reality) to the support of transport-related decisions.

  11. Correctly identify the components of the urban transportation modelling system approach known as the four-stage model.

  12. Describe and discuss the main technical components of the above model, including regression analysis, spatial interactions, and the discrete choice modelling framework.

  13. Use practical examples and exercises to understand the theoretical underpinnings of each of the stages involved in the urban transport modelling system.

  14. understand the current use of GIS in the planning domain and the use of such systems in applied planning situations;

  15. deal with the main data sets used by planners in GIS projects;

  16. appreciate the major tasks faced by researchers charged with implementing GIS in UK Local Government through practical, hands-on studies of the use of GIS, and explore the limitations of GIS.

How the module will be delivered

The module will be delivered by lectures and computer lab practical sessions.

Skills that will be practised and developed

  1. Skills of transport policy design and analysis which are now widely expected of transport planners working in the private and public sectors.

  2. Problem-solving skills and experience of building practical solutions to abstract geographical problems.

  3. Ability to produce their coursework in the form of a ‘consultancy-style’ report

  4. Skills and expertise in a major commercial GIS package that is widely used by planners

  5. Skills in data entry, analysis and presentation within GIS,;

  6. Experience in managing GIS projects;

  7. Enhanced skills in computer, IT and data management skills;

  8. Problem-solving skills and experience of building practical solutions to abstract geographical problems.


How the module will be assessed

Central to the course will be a major project which will require application of transport planning software for the study of urban transport issues.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50
Group Report
N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 50
Report - Gis Project
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Essential Reading and Resource List

Background Reading and Resource List

Not applicable

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