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How Transportation Works -- Or Doesn't

Do public bike-sharing systems lead to more bicycle crashes?

Would consolidating certain functions of the Bay Area’s 27 transit operators save money and improve service for passengers?

Do Bus Rapid Transit systems with dedicated lanes encourage or discourage biking and walking?

These are just a few of the questions that transportation engineering and planning students formulated, researched, answered, and defended in a class (CP217) devoted to transportation policy held this past spring.

The 23 students worked in teams of two, three or four, and took on what Professor Elizabeth Deakin of the Department of City and Regional Planning called “hot topics.” These included possible responses by airlines to high-speed rail, the impacts of private shuttle buses on commute mode and real estate markets for Silicon Valley employees, the motives behind improving airport terminals, and five more.

Their findings? Read all eight fact sheets here.

Deakin said the class, which she taught and which will be offered again next spring, is designed “not only to introduce students to the key policy problems of our time, but also to help them gain confidence in their ability to read the literature critically, carry out a policy analysis, summarize it in terms that everyone will understand, and defend their findings.”

The students work in teams, “because most graduates of both engineering and planning programs will find that in their first jobs they will be expected to do group work.”