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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

TRAN2010 Transport Economics

10 creditsClass Size: 96

Module manager: Dr Tony Whiteing

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Transport Economics is a module which allows you to use your knowledge of economics to investigate current transport issues. What might be the best ways to slow down the growth of car traffic on our roads and to encourage use of public transport instead? What are the true costs of transport, not only to operators but to society at large? Should car drivers pay directly for the use of roads and the damage they cause, rather than the current methods of payments through taxation? What are the best ways to do this? Why have some rail fares risen so steeply, and why are there so many different rail or air fares for essentially the same journey? Were transport industries such as railways privatised in the most appropriate way in the UK and what forms of regulation might be advised? This module is taught through a series of lectures supported by seminars based around the study and discussion of academic literature on topical transport economics issues. Whilst it is beneficial to have some prior experience of microeconomic principles, gained for example through appropriate A-Level study or through the study of an appropriate first-year microeconmoics module, optional support sessions will be provided to underpin key economic concepts. For more information please contact Tony Whiteing (


After completing this module, students should understand the fundamentals of transport economics including the characteristics and determination of demand; transport cost structures; pricing and resource allocation; and the implication of these for industry structure and market performance. They should also be familiar with case studies which demonstrate the use of these techniques in practice. This module complements TRAN2030 which deals with the analysis of investment.

Learning outcomes
Students will develop their ability to apply microeconomic principles to the investigation of topical transport economics issues relating to transport demand, transport costs (including external social and environmental costs), transport pricing and transport regulation.
Students will enhance their essay writing skills and literature review skills.

Skills outcomes
- Essay writing skills
- Literature review skills


Characteristics and determination of demand (examples for car ownership and use, and for public transport)
Transport cost structures (costs of infrastructure and operation, user costs, resource costs)
Pricing (social pricing, externalities, commercial pricing, the theory of congestion pricing)
Ownership and regulation in transport markets.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours82.00
Total Contact hours18.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Students will need to read widely to ensure they maintain a good understanding of textbook microeconomic principles and how they can be applied to transport issues. They will also need to read relevant literature to prepare for seminar discussions. They will also need to spend time for reading in preparation for writing the coursework essay, writing the coursework and revising for the module examination.
12 hours - Essay
40 hours - Background reading
8 hours - Seminar preparation
21 hours - Revision

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution in seminars, feedback from coursework essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report2,500 word report100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:56:45


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