A city tram

The planning, delivery, management and appraisal of transport infrastructure is a central dimension of urban development. Transport infrastructures can also be a crucial element when planning for urban sustainability, both in terms of their direct impact at the implementation stage, and their ability to reshape people's modal choice and everyday lives.

This 6-week online course introduces a range of approaches to thinking about transport infrastructures, with particular emphasis on their complex interactions with economic development and social inclusion/ exclusion across different political systems, cultures and geographies. It proposes a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches for transport infrastructure design, delivery and management. It specifically focuses on the role of transport infrastructures in supporting a transition to more sustainable transport futures. The course adopts a strong interdisciplinary and interactive approach including insights from social science, geography and anthropology. It provides practitioners with innovative perspectives to transport infrastructure development, examining case studies from different countries, from megaprojects to small-scale infrastructure developments.

The core sessions of the course cover key topics for the understanding and development of transport infrastructure including:

  • Managing and designing the construction of transport megaprojects;
  • The economic and political impacts of transport infrastructures;
  • Building and financing sustainable infrastructures development;
  • The impacts of transport infrastructures on everyday life.

Participants are encouraged to take an active part in the sessions, which emphasise small-group teaching, critical thinking, and debate. You will be able to draw on expertise from different sectors and disciplines to develop new insights into the challenges you encounter in your day-to-day professional practice.

Status: OPEN

Global Challenges in Transport: Infrastructures

Learning Objectives

  • Examine and reflect on what infrastructures are and on the complexities involved in their design, delivery and management.
  • Develop an enhanced understanding of the links between transport infrastructures and economic development.
  • Explore different tools and approaches for transport infrastructure design, management and delivery.

Learning Outcomes

After attending this course you will be able to:

  • identify the role that transport infrastructures play in achieving more sustainable transport systems;
  • understand and evaluate the relationship between transport infrastructure, economic development and social inclusion / exclusion and identify suitable strategies to address the key challenges surrounding transport accessibility and connectivity; and
  • utilise a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches for transport infrastructure design, management and delivery.

Who should attend?

The Infrastructures course is designed for experienced transport professionals and researchers with a minimum of 3 years' experience in the sector and aims to bring together the world's leading experts from academia, policy and practice to address complex transport challenges. The course is specifically intended for those who are looking to expand their knowledge horizons and gain a more in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of the challenges of delivering sustainable transport, as well as exploring the latest ideas and solutions.

We specifically invite applications from:

  1. Professionals in the transport and mobility consultancy sector in charge of transport infrastructure design, finance and delivery.
  2. Individuals with experience in transportation consulting, planning, and related government agencies.
  3. Academics and researchers in transportation planning, civil engineering, economics, planning, and/or urban mobility.

The course so far has attracted influential decision makers, public sector officials, NGOs, practitioners, and early career researchers - from across the globe. We are proud of the diverse range of delegates who have attended; over the last few years the course has welcomed individuals from hundreds of organisations and many different nationalities. The word cloud below highlights the job titles of our previous attendees:

Word cloud showing the job titles of previous course participants

Previous participants have joined the course from organisations including:

  • The Executive Council of Dubai
  • Global Call for Climate Action
  • Uganda National Roads Authority
  • Asian Development Bank
  • Global Road Safety Partnership
  • And several international universities and research centres
  • The World Bank
  • Atkins
  • Living Streets
  • Ineco
  • Network Rail
  • Luton Airport
  • Maldives Transport and Contracting Company
  • The Netherlands Vehicle Authority

Course Content

The course will include the following sessions1:

  • Introduction to course - Dr Jennie Middleton (University of Oxford)
  • Infrastructure and development, exploring the links - Prof Tim Schwanen (University of Oxford)
  • Wider economic benefits of infrastructure development in relation to the Denver metro - Prof Andy Goetz (University of Denver)
  • Wider economic benefits of infrastructure development - Istanbul - Dr Eda Beyazit (Istanbul Technical University)
  • Managing the design and construction of transport megaprojects - Prof Naomi Brookes (University of Leeds)
  • Making infrastructure projects happen in an imperfect world - Graham Olver (Independent Consultant)
  • Managing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Bogota - Maria Fernanda Ortiz (Transport Planning Consultant)
  • Infrastructure in relation to freight transport - Isabel Granada (Senior Transport Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank)
  • Building and financing transport infrastructure for development: will we make the most of the projects we pick? - Prof Jon Shaw (University of Plymouth)
  • PPP-RIP? Is PPP in transport now past its usefulness? - Prof Roger Vickerman, University of Kent
  • Cost overruns of transport infrastructure projects - Dr Chantal Cantarelli (University of Sheffield)
  • Participation in MCA - Prof Cathy Macharis (Free University of Brussels)
  • Transport infrastructure through a gender lens - Dr Anna Plyushteva (University of Oxford)
  • Developing Bus Rapid Transit in Latin America - Dr Daniel Oviedo (UCL London)
  • Disabled experiences of transport infrastructures - Dr Daniel Munoz (University of Edinburgh)
  • Social impacts on IF - Dr Juan Pablo Orjuela (University of Oxford)

Please note this list includes indicative topics only, exact titles to be confirmed.

The course also includes an icebreaker meet-and-greet session and problem-solving workshop.

1TSU reserves the right to make alterations to the programme including the timetable, location, dates, content and method of delivery in response to operational demands.

Course Schedule

The course will run over 6 weeks (September 2022 dates TBC) and, to facilitate accessibility, will include a mix of both live and pre-recorded sessions, including lectures, case study sessions, Q&A sessions, panel discussions and a final presentation session. All 1 hour live sessions (between 3-5 a week) will be held between 12 pm - 2 pm UK time (BST). If you would like to attend but these times are unsuitable for you, do please contact us at exed@tsu.ox.ac.uk and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

The course requires a total time commitment of 35 - 40 hours across the 6 weeks. Approximately half of this is teaching contact time, with the other half made up of individual study time with optional readings.

Following completion of the course, participants are awarded a certificate of attendance from the University of Oxford's Transport Studies Unit.

Our Faculty

Dr Jennie Middleton, Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford
Jennie Middleton

Jennie is a Senior Research Fellow in the Transport Studies Unit at the University of Oxford. Prior to this she has held lecturing posts in human geography at Plymouth University and Kingston University. Whilst having a background in urban, social and cultural geography Jennie's research strongly relates to the field of mobilities and transport research. Her current research explores everyday urban mobility, particularly people's mobile experiences on foot, and the implications of this for urban and transport policy.

Prof Tim Schwanen, Director, Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford
Tim Schwanen

Tim joined the Transport Studies Unit (TSU) in March 2009 and became Director in September 2015. He has been jointly appointed by TSU and the School of Geography since November 2012. Before coming to Oxford he worked as a lecturer in urban geography at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. At that university he also completed his PhD thesis (2003, cum laude) and MSc thesis (1999, cum laude). Tim's research can be positioned at the intersection of urban, transport, cultural and political and economic geography. It is international in outlook, interdisciplinary in scope and both theoretically oriented and empirical in nature. His key research interests include geographies of mobility; transitions to low-carbon and low-energy living and societies; ageing and well-being. Tim is one of the Deputy Directors of the RCUK-funded Research Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (2013-2018) in which the University of Sussex collaborates with the Universities of Manchester and Oxford.

Dr Nigel Mehdi, Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford
Nigel Mehdi

An urban economist by background, Nigel is a Departmental Lecturer on the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development at Oxford. He is a Fellow at Kellogg College and was previously a Visiting Scholar at Wolfson College, Cambridge and a Visiting Fellow in the Spatial Economics Research Centre at the London School of Economics where he obtained his doctorate in real estate economics.

Prof Jon Shaw, Plymouth University
Jon Shaw

Jon Shaw is Professor and Head of Geography at Plymouth University. He has been Associate Editor of the Journal of Transport Geography and a Specialist Adviser to the Transport Committee of the House of Commons. He researches issues associated with mobility, transport policy and governance and he is widely published in the academic and policy literatures. His recent research activity includes a large EU-funded project on the mobility needs of older people. He is the author / co-author of three books (The Transport Debate, Policy Press 2014; Diverging Mobilities, Elsevier 2008; and Competition, Regulation and the Privatisation of British Rail, Ashgate 2000) and has co-edited five books including the textbook Transport Geographies (Blackwell 2008) and Traffic Jam (Policy Press 2008), the acclaimed analysis of UK transport policy.

Dr Anna Plyushteva, Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford
Anna Plyushteva

Dr Anna Plyushteva is Departmental Research Lecturer in Transport Studies at the TSU. She has been conducting research on the socio-technical infrastructures of transport and mobility since 2012, focusing initially on the impacts of a new metro line on commuting in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her current work examines the intersections between transport systems and other urban infrastructures, and the social relations in which transport participates, particularly those of gender, affordability, and workplaces. She has conducted research in Brussels, Lima, London, and Manila.

Prof Naomi Brookes, University of Leeds
Naomi Brookes

Naomi holds a visiting chair in Complex Project Management in the School of Civil Engineering in the University of Leeds, UK and is the CEO of Projektlernen, an organisation that specialises in enabling cross project learning. She has an extensive research background in the management of complex infrastructural projects and was the Action Chair of an EU-funded project entitled MEGAPROJECT bringing together a network of over 80 researchers from across the EU. She has given invited presentations on megaproject management in countries as diverse as Serbia, Croatia, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and China. In March of this year she was invited to join the World Economic Forum's CEO council on Transformational Megaprojects.

Graham Olver, Independent consultant
Graham Olver

Graham Olver is an independent leader for special situations and major projects. He has been a successful PLC Director, Chief Operating Officer and Project Director, responsible for mega-projects, professional services, portfolio investments, transformational change M&A and turnarounds. His experience extends to all aspects of aspects of leadership, project finance, business, commercial and operations management - often in uncertain complex and ambiguous situations and circumstances.

Graham has stories, experience and lessons from 30 years' experience in over 40 countries in different sectors, including transport, energy, hospitals and healthcare, schools and education, water and waste water and international development. Major transport BOT and PPP projects include Arlandabanan, Sweden's first major project finance project, Channel Tunnel, Manchester Metrolink, M25, London Underground, Taiwan High Speed Rail, Florida Overland Express (FOX), and Autopista Central in Santiago, Chile.

Daniel Oviedo, University College London
Daniel Oviedo

A civil engineer by training with a masters in Transport Planning and PhD in Development Planning, Daniel is a Lecturer in Urban Transport and Development Planning at the Development Planning Unit of University College London. His experience in research and consultancy in projects related to urban and interurban transport focus mainly on global south cities, having worked on projects in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and India. He is specialised in the social, economic and spatial analysis of inequalities related to urban transport and policy evaluation in rapidly growing cities, and social evaluation of public transport projects such as BRT and integrated transit systems. Daniel's main areas of research are accessibility, equity, social exclusion and wellbeing. Daniel has been advisor for the Colombian and Peruvian governments, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank on issues related to transport planning, social equity and sustainability, as well as an associate researcher at the Centre for Urban and Regional Sustainability at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.

Scholarship Opportunities

Various discount options as well as scholarship opportunities are available. Find out more about our scholarships or contact us: exed@tsu.ox.ac.uk.