Cluster 10

Sustainable Transportation





A sustainable transportation system meets society’s needs for movement while minimizing environmental harms, fostering healthy and equitable communities, and supporting economic growth. This cluster will first consider the sustainable transportation challenge then examine strategies for enhancing the sustainability of the transportation system in three areas: cars of the future, roadways of the future, and active travel. Lectures and projects will draw on multiple disciplines, including civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and statistics.


Cars of the future


The internal combustion engine (ICE) has been the dominant technology in passenger cars for over a century, but gasoline-powered cars are being replaced by electric vehicles. Driverless cars are already being tested on our roads and may come to replace drivers altogether in the future. In this course we examine the pros and cons of alternatives to the ICE, including battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, as well as the outlook for autonomous vehicles and their implications for sustainability.


Roadways of the future


California has nearly 400,000 miles of roads, enough to circle the earth 16 times. Engineers are looking for strategies that make better use of existing roads and avert the need for more roads. Topics we will explore in this course include pavements and their contribution to run-off and the heat island effect, street design and its implications for safety, parking requirements and their impact on the form of our cities, and traffic management strategies and their effect on greenhouse gas emissions.


Active travel


In some places, people can get where they need to go by walking, bicycling, or taking a bus or train. These “active travel” modes are good for health and for the environment, but people will only use these modes if they are convenient and comfortable. In this course, we look first at the ways in which people make choices about transportation, then at the ways in which cities can make active travel modes more attractive.