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Introduction to Transit Planning Available Online


This asynchronous online course provides an overview of procedures and techniques for transit planning with emphasis on how transit planning is different than planning for other activities. Short range planning is discussed in the context of a realistic case study based on real problems faced by transit agencies. This course includes methods to predict service costs, fleet size and scheduling considerations, ways to find areas of potential demand as well as an overview of procedures used to develop new starts for major transit investments. 

Course schedule and emphasis will be modified to relate to participants’ needs.


Course Objectives:

Broad Objectives

  • The objective of this course is to create an understanding of public transport by students interested in professional careers in transportation. 
  • Students should be able to understand differences between public transit planning, design and operations and procedures used for other modes.
  • Students should be able to understand the New Starts process for planning of major fixed guideway transit systems.
  • Students should be familiar with procedures used for transit operating decisions, and for the planning of major new systems or extensions.
  • Students should be able to develop a short term transit plan through following the Belle Transit Crisis case study.

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Benefits and Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcomes:  At the completion of the material, students should have an understanding of:

    • Differences between highway and transit
    • Characteristics of transit use and benefits of transit
    • Procedures for conducting a comprehensive short term transit plan
    • The transit project development process including the development of alternatives analysis and major investment studies
    • Use of performance indicators for transit planning and management
    • Alternative technologies for public transportation
    • Principles of route location and design
    • Procedures to estimate transit demand
    • Cost analysis procedures

    Prerequisites by Topic:

    • Understanding of fundamentals of planning and transportation systems
    • Written and graphical skills
    • Mathematical preparation to understand basic algebraic relationships and financial analysis
    • Computer preparation including office software (understanding of geographical information systems is desired)

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Course Outline/Topics

Topics Covered:

Week 1: Background Information

  • Course Overview, Student Needs
  • Differences Between Highway and Transit Planning
  • Transit Benefits
  • Understanding Transit Demand
  • A Profile of Public Transit Riders (from APTA)
  • Transit Capacity and Level of Service
  • Transit Planning Examples
  • Glossary of Transit Planning Terms
  • Introduction to the Belle Transit Crisis

Week 2: Transit Operations Planning for Operations

  • Transit Operations Decisions
  • Transit Performance Measurement
  • Use of Performance Data
  • Transit and Geographic Information Systems – Case Studies

Week 3: Transit Route Location and Analysis

  • Alternatives: Strategies for Transit System Change
  • Transit Route Location

Week 4: Analysis Procedures for Operations

  • Demand Analysis for Transit Operations
  • Basic Fleet Size Relationships
  • Transit Scheduling
  • Transit Demand Analysis
  • Transit Cost Analysis

Week 5: Transit Planning for New Starts

  • New Starts/Alternatives Analysis/Major Investments
  • Transit Technology Alternatives
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Environmental Justice and Transportation Planning       
  • A Transportation Modeling Primer

Week 6: Course Wrap-Up

  • Transit and Land Use
  • Belle Crisis presentations

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Course Accessible: Mar. 9-May 1, 2015
Location: Available Online
Instructor: Dr. Edward Beimborn, Professor, UW-Milwaukee
Discount Available CEUs: 3.2
Enrollment Limit: 40
Program No. 4890-7932
Register Now
For more information, contact:
Ken Woodall, Outreach Specialist,, 414-227-3332


CTED Fall 2014 Brochure

View the Brochure

Or download the pdf

RTAP Scholarships
Wisconsin Residents Only
Your RTAP (Rural Transportation Assistance Program) administrator may provide scholarships for our courses!

For more scholarship information, contact Steve Hirshfeld at or 608-267-0209. Your agency may qualify for RTAP scholarships!

Plan ahead and pay less!
Take advantage of this savings. You can deduct $100 from the original price when we receive your payment 20 business days prior to the date of any of our professional transit training workshops.
Call us today at 414-227-3332!

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