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The University of Southampton

CENV6016 Transport Economics

Module Overview

This module provides a critical awareness of how economics can be used to overcome current problems in the transport sector, such as congestion, inadequate service (in terms of both quantity and quality) and high prices. It will give you a systematic and comprehensive understanding of the key concepts in transport economics and the graphical and numerical analytical techniques used by transport economists.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Economic appraisal and evaluation methods and their application to transport investments in developing and developed countries.
  • Economic theory as applied to transport, including demand, supply and pricing theory and practice.
  • The links between transport and the wider economy, including on the location and level of economic activity.
  • The use of established techniques of economic enquiry, including demand and cost modelling, welfare analysis and the estimation of elasticities.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Utilise demand, supply and pricing theory and elasticities in economic analysis, using both graphical and numerical analysis.
  • Appraise/evaluate the economic impacts of transport schemes using cost benefit analysis and alternative methods
  • Assess issues relating to transport funding, road pricing and the pricing of public transport.
  • Prepare and present a critique of the key economic issues in transport policy.
  • Identify /recall the key issues in transport economics and economic appraisal.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use creativity and innovation in problem solving
  • Learn and study/research independently
  • Manage your time
  • Report your work effectively
  • Collate and synthesise/prioritise information
  • Manipulate and analyse data
  • Develop and use spreadsheets for appraisal
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Produce and interpret economic data on demand, costs, revenues and profitability and on wider socioeconomic costs and benefits.
  • Use computer-based (and web-based) decision making tools to make critical economic decisions on transport investments and recurrent expenditure.
  • Deal with complex economic issues, both systematically and creatively, and make sound judgements in the absence of high quality data.
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving economic problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing policies to a professional level.
  • Continue to advance your knowledge and understanding and to develop new skills to a high level


1. Introduction to transport economics 2. Mathematics for transport economists 3. Demand for transport: Theory and Practice 4. Supply of Transport: Theory and Practice 5. Pricing of Transport: Theory and Practice 6. Transport Appraisal and Evaluation: Theory 7. Cost benefit analysis and transport investment in developed countries 8. Cost benefit analysis and transport investment in developing countries 9. Road user charging and public transport pricing 10. Transport and the location of economic activity 11. Transport and the level of economic activity 12. Course conclusions and revision

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: Lectures (11 double, 4 treble) and seminars (1 quadruple), Class exercises. Learning activities include: Literature review/analysis, essays, calculations, use of spreadsheet software, directed reading.

Completion of assessment task72
Preparation for scheduled sessions3
Wider reading or practice14
Follow-up work9
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Web-based transport project appraisal. 



Class Exercise


MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 60%
Final Assessment  40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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