Geographic information systems (GIS) are indispensable for transportation-related analyses. Whether forecasting future conditions under alternative transportation investment scenarios, taking an inventory of a city’s pedestrian and cycling assets, or assessing pavement conditions throughout a state, transportation systems are inherently spatial and their management requires the collection of spatial data and the use of spatial analytical techniques. In addition to these applied and practice-oriented considerations, the academic literature on GIS and transportation (GIS-T) is exploding. Transport geography is a well-established sub-discipline and new data and methods are opening up exciting new research questions and analytical possibilities.
In this course, we will learn both traditional and contemporary GIS-T methods by working with real methods and data that speak both the mundane (e.g., the preparation of regional transportation plans) and innovative (e.g., API queries) aspects of transportation planning. Owing to the focus on transportation planning, we will often be assessing data and measures that reflect actual or modeled travel behavior including observed origins and destinations, travel times and costs, and mode and route choices, among others. Because of the wealth of existing data in this realm, we will generally not be covering the data collection methods that would be required to, for example, assess infrastructure conditions (e.g. sidewalk quality, bridge age and remaining life).
The course will operate as an applied research seminar, blending traditional lectures, hands-on labs, and in-class discussion components. Its overarching goal is for students to become fluent in a number of different GIS-T and related software tools and data sources and to apply them to answer questions of practical relevance. Two major focus areas—accessibility and equity—will shape the questions we will address. You will find that, in the field, there is often a best practice or typical approach that is employed to address a particular problem. In Transportation Accessibility and Equity Analysis you will learn about many different ways (some better and some worse) that they can be approached. It is my hope that, when working as a transportation planner or GIS professional, you will question traditional approaches and seek to bring the advanced data and methods that you will learn about in this class to bear on your work.
Note: you should have completed introductory training in GIS before enrolling in this class. I will take your familiarity with basic GIS concepts and approaches for granted. Please see me before enrolling if you are uncertain about your qualifications.