U of M offers new sustainable transportation course

Sustainability is becoming the driving force for thousands of new jobs in many fields, including transportation. To secure these jobs, students need an education that can help them become leaders in developing and maintaining sustainable practices. This semester, the U of M’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs began offering a new course in sustainable transportation.

The purpose of the graduate-level course is to explore concepts of sustainability in the movement of people and goods in cities, and to learn techniques, best practices, and methods for planning and implementing interventions that improve the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of communities.

“We have many students interested in sustainability and bike/pedestrian issues, so this course is a way to respond to that interest,” says Carissa Schively Slotterback, associate professor and director of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program in the Humphrey School and a CTS Scholar.

“If we’re able to get sufficient enrollment, it’s possible that we could offer this course at least every other year,” Schively Slotterback says.

The instructor for the new course is Antonio Rosell, a MURP graduate and adjunct professor in the Humphrey School. He also is founder and principal of Community Design Group, LLC, a local planning, policy, and design consulting firm.

Rosell provides more information about the course:

What is sustainable transportation?

“Sustainable transportation refers to the range of measures, methods, and practices for facilitating mobility within our cities and landscapes while minimizing costs—including economic, social, and environmental impacts,” Rosell says. “These measures have the potential to bring about important benefits for our communities, including more connected and convivial cities and public spaces, more efficient land-use patterns, and improvements in the general health of our populations through greater use of active transportation. Walking and biking, for example, are two modes of sustainable active transportation that require virtually no additional energy inputs and that can be used to get us to our daily destinations.”

What does the course include?

“This course is about learning from examples and tools from other cities to make our cities better places to live—by making our modes of mobility within them more efficient and sustainable,” Rosell says. “Many cities in Europe, for example, rely on bicycling for transportation to an extent that we in the U.S. can’t even comprehend. Bus rapid transit systems in Latin America and Asia are being planned and implemented virtually overnight and are moving hundreds of thousands of people from day one.”

How can potential students learn more?

“If students want to start on their own, one of the texts we’ll be using—and a great manual—is the Model Design Manual for Living Streets,” Rosell says.