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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

TRAN5115M Sustainable Spatial Planning and Analysis

15 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Malcolm Morgan

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

TRAN5112M Sustainable Land-Use and Transport Planning

This module is approved as an Elective

This module is approved as a Skills Elective

Module summary

This module will make students aware of the key aspects of integrated transport and land-use planning which contribute to more sustainable outcomes. Transport is an inherently spatial phenomenon, which cannot be divorced from considerations of urban form, spatial planning, social processes and people. The module delivers this understanding by developing beyond basic generic GIS skills and applies leading edge techniques in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and spatial analysis which can be deployed to explore contemporary planning problems, alongside theoretical considerations. Students will develop their skills to access, analyse and display spatial data to facilitate advanced policy analysis informed by the theoretical underpinnings of sustainable land use and transport planning taught in the module.


The objectives of the module are to explore, through research-led teaching, the key relationships between land-use and transport planning which can lead to more sustainable planning outcomes. In taking the module, students will apply this knowledge to a range of real-world contexts in the developed and developing world through the development and application of skills in GIS and spatial analysis so that they can independently approach spatial planning problems and understand how best to inform the advancement of sustainability goals.

Learning outcomes

- To understand and be able to analyse the relationship between urban form, social structures and travel patterns in the context of sustainability
- Demonstrate and apply GIS and spatial analysis concepts and techniques to real-world transport problems
- Implement GIS tools and spatial analysis techniques to be able to evaluate real-world policy relevant questions in the field of sustainable planning

Skills outcomes
Students will develop their GIS skills using an appropriate GIS package (most likely free and open source software) which can be installed on student computers and which is also available in central teaching space.

Appropriate visualization of analyses in maps and graphics.


Sustainable Land-Use and Transport; GIS concepts for spatial planning; Data set processing; Accessibility concepts and Accessibility Mapping (Case Study 1); Layering data sets and using geoprocessing tools to perform analysis and derive indicators; social sustainability and equity analysis (Case Study 2 – (developed vs. developing); constructing environmental indicators exploring open data (case study 3 examples from different locations 3); Further analysis techniques which aid developing indices of sustainability.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours108.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students will begin the course with some directed readings which will form the basis of discussion in seminar groups of around 15 students in Week 2. An additional academic reading list will accompany each of the substantive topics which the students will be working through as they develop their practical skills set. Whilst students will be guided through the core elements of the technical skills development, there will also be activities made available for the students to test and stretch their capabilities independently.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

An early workshop will provide an opportunity to provide feedback on analysis of literature and will be followed by a short assessed essay. This will ensure that the macro sustainability goals of the module are understood by the students and they receive feedback on this before they begin engaging with the more advanced spatial analysis applications and the associated coursework. Progress against the technical skills aspect of the module will be assessed during the practical sessions with all students required to complete a basic set of skills before advancing to the next set. Additional activities will be posted for more capable students to self assess their ability to stretch themselves. The computer exercises will be designed such that students operating at the minimum technical level can gain good marks through advanced considerations of the role of spatial analysis in sustainable land-use and transport planning, and evaluation of the usefulness of methods, their limitations and further analysis techniques that could be undertaken in a longer project. Similarly, the more technically advanced students can gain good marks by running more advanced analysis, but must be able to reach a minimum standard in critical analysis of how such work adds value to a spatial planning exercise.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1000 word essay25.00
Report2000 word report75.00
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: 02/11/2023 11:05:46


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