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Transport Demand Analysis & Project Assessment (CIV5132Z)

Course convenor: A/Prof Marianne Vanderschuren (Department of Civil Engineering)

Motivation for the course
Transport systems, and the array of planned interventions into these systems, have become too complex for many conventional urban passenger transport demand analysis practices. In particular a shift in passenger transport policy away from the supply of additional road capacity as the principle means of addressing transport problems, to an appropriate balance between infrastructure supply and the management of transport systems and the way passengers use them, has introduced significant additional complexities for data collection, processing and analysis, as well as transport project evaluation and assessment practices. Quality travel data is needed to analyse and frame urban passenger transport problems, and to monitor changing patterns of travel demand and travel behaviour in response to system interventions. Transport programme and project evaluation and assessment methods are needed to ensure that operationally effective, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable benefits are derived from interventions into transport systems. Many current methods of data collection, processing and evaluation were developed during a period of relative economic prosperity in the developed world, in order to facilitate the large-scale construction of inter- and intra-city freeways and arterials. These methods often omit important aspects of travel demand from data collection and modelling, tend to be cross-sectional or static in their analysis of transport patterns, and fail to incorporate social justice and environmental issues adequately. A new policy discourse requires the utilisation of a broader set of methods for data collection, processing and evaluation. This course is intended to address that need.

Course objectives
The objective of this course is to familiarise students with survey, data processing and assessment tools used during different stages of the transport planning process. Different approaches and the advantages and disadvantages of the various tools and analytical techniques identified are discussed. The course exposes students to current developments in the field both locally and internationally.

Course structure and content
The course comprises four phases:

  • a pre-contact period of five weeks, involving some 30-40 hours of preparatory reading and assignments;
  • a week of intensive contact time at UCT, comprising 40-50 hours of formal lectures and class assignments;
  • a two-hour course test (on the Monday following the contact week), intended to evaluate students’ understanding of selected aspects of the material they have been exposed to during the contact week, and
  • a post-contact period of seven weeks, involving an assignment or assignments requiring about 100 hours of work.

The material presented during the contact period is structured around the following broadly sequential themes or topics:

The rationale for assessment:

  • the objectives that drive the assessment process

Travel data collection:

  • different methodological approaches to data collection; potential survey problems

Travel data processing:

  • the different ways to process and analyse data, and fulfil statistical requirements


  • techniques for the evaluation and assessment of urban transport proposals: cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis; theoretical and philosophical critiques of evaluation and assessment methods

Formal presentations on these topics by both Programme staff and invited external specialists are interspersed with work on a group assignment, the product of which is presented and discussed on the last day of the course.

Readings for the preparatory assignment are issued about five weeks prior to the commencement of the contact period. Additional readings may be issued during the contact week or subsequently through the Vula on-line course worksite, together with the brief for the major post-contact phase assignment.

Contact week attendance
Students are expected to attend the contact week on a full-time basis, which will require them to be resident in Cape Town for its duration given that the daily timetable during this period will generally occupy the hours from 08h00 to 17h00. Attendance for the entire contact period is a requirement, and students who are absent for more than 20% of the contact period duration will not be allowed to complete the course.

Learning outcomes
Students who have completed the course successfully should:

  • be familiar with the available data collection, processing and assessment tools, and their appropriate use in the various stages of the transport planning process;
  • be able to select appropriate tools for specific transport problems, and should be familiar with the basic operation of these tools; and
  • be able to interpret the results generated by different assessment tools.

The aggregate mark for this course is compiled as follows:

minor assignment based on preparatory reading 15%
group contact week assignment 10%
major post-contact phase assignment 50%
course test 25%

Students who do not obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% for their preparatory assignment, course test and post-contact phase assignment will be deemed to have failed the course.