Course Details

The Economics of Transportation Infrastructure and Markets
1.0 CR
Yes (may vary by section)
Transportation infrastructure, and the markets for transportation services it enables, form the bloodstream of an economy. They open up opportunities for mobility―the ability of people or goods to be moved from one location to another. Without this ability, economic activity would be severely restricted. Economic prosperity has historically depended on the mobility enabled by the development of transportation networks. As recent events in the wake of the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia illustrate, even in the richest economies around the world, economic well-being continues to depend on access to transportation. Transportation also has profound social consequences. The location of transportation infrastructure affects where people live and how they use land. Transportation infrastructure and transport services support global trade and migration, and they have relevance in geopolitical disputes. Transportation services are a significant source of pollution, and they raise important concerns about safety. Changes in how transportation services will be provided will be at the forefront of potential solutions to mitigate climate change, while at the same time transportation infrastructure will almost certainly have to be made more resilient in the face of climate change. This course will provide students with an opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of transportation economics and the public policy and strategic issues that arise around transportation infrastructure and markets for transportation services. Transportation economics is a field within microeconomics that draws upon price theory, welfare economics, and econometrics to study specific contexts and complexities that arise in transportation infrastructure, the markets for transportation services, and public policy toward transportation. The objective of this class is to illustrate how frameworks and tools from microeconomics can be adapted to the study of transportation and mobility. Students will learn how these frameworks and tools can be valuable in formulating good public policies governing transportation infrastructure and in developing effective business strategies for firms operating in transportation markets.