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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

TRAN5013M Understanding Travel Behaviour

15 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Ann Jopson

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Acceptance on to any of the masters programmes at the Institute for Transport Studies or equivalent experience if taken as an individual module.

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Understanding Travel Behaviour offers the opportunity to analyse and explore traditional and emergent thinking on travel behaviour and understanding why people travel. This module aims to equip Masters degree students with the analytical skills necessary for the development and evaluation of policy and practice in the transport sector in both professional environments and higher academic studies.


This module aims to provide students with a critical appreciation of the different disciplinary perspectives currently dominant in the study of transport, including:
- social psychological models of attitude and behaviour
- the 'new mobilities paradigm' - corporeal travel, flows and communicative practices
- economic theories of behaviour - derived demand, utility and the value of time
- and finally, time and space geographies and activities.

The study of each of these strands will be used to understand why people travel and to inform the development of more effective transport policy and practice.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students should have knowledge and comprehension of the dominant theoretical perspectives on travel behaviour.

The module will develop skills and understanding to enable students to describe, analyse, synthesise and evaluate relationships and links between theories and concepts and demonstrate a critical and nuanced appreciation of the differences, similarities, links and complementarities between the various key theoretical standpoints to understanding travel and to be able to apply that knowledge to the study of transport policy.

Skills outcomes
Upon completion of the module students will have a comprehensive understanding of theories of why people travel which and will have been given the opportunity to apply that understanding to the context of the development of transport policy through the use of examples.

The module aims to develop skills associated with critical reasoning, problem solving, hypothesise building, creativity and evaluation.


- Introduction to studying transport and travel
- introduction to analytical skills and comparative analysis
- understanding travel from the mobilities perspective
- understanding travel from the economics perspective
- understanding travel from the social-psychologist perspective and understanding travel from the time/space perspective
- comparative analysis to explore complementarities and synergies from each perspective and to explore the impact on, and usefulness of these understandings in the development of policy.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours130.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students are expected to spend their study time on background reading for lectures, preparatory work for workshops and assessed coursework.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress will be monitored informally through seminar discussion and formally through the two shorter pieces of coursework to be submitted during the course of the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,000 words33.00
Essay3,000 words67.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit offered will follow school guidelines; normally offered on anniversary of first sit.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

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


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