Chapter 1 - Introduction to transportation engineering Notes | EduRev

: Chapter 1 - Introduction to transportation engineering Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
Chapter 1
Introduction to transportation
engineering
1.1 Overview
Mobility is a basic human need. From the times immemorial, everyone travels either for food or leisure. A closely
associated need is the transport of raw materials to a manufacturing unit or nished goods for consumption.
Transportation fullls these basic needs of humanity. Transportation plays a major role in the development
of the human civilization. For instance, one could easily observe the strong correlation between the evolution
of human settlement and the proximity of transport facilities. Also, there is a strong correlation between
the quality of transport facilities and standard of living, because of which society places a great expectation
from transportation facilities. In other words, the solution to transportation problems must be analytically
based, economically sound, socially credible, environmentally sensitive, practically acceptable and sustainable.
Alternatively, the transportation solution should be safe, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and eco-
friendly for both men and material.
1.2 Transportation system
In the last couple of decades transportation systems analysis has emerged as a recognized profession. More and
more government organizations, universities, researchers, consultants, and private industrial groups around the
world are becoming truly multi-modal in their orientation and are opting a systematic approach to transportation
problems.
1.2.1 Diverse characteristics
The characteristics of transportation system that makes it diverse and complex are listed below:
1. Multi-modal: Covering all modes of transport; air, land, and sea for both passenger and freight.
2. Multi-sector: Encompassing the problems and viewpoints of government, private industry, and public.
3. Multi-problem: Ranging across a spectrum of issues that includes national and international policy,
planning of regional system, the location and design of specic facilities, carrier management issues,
regulatory, institutional and nancial policies.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.1 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
Page 2


CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
Chapter 1
Introduction to transportation
engineering
1.1 Overview
Mobility is a basic human need. From the times immemorial, everyone travels either for food or leisure. A closely
associated need is the transport of raw materials to a manufacturing unit or nished goods for consumption.
Transportation fullls these basic needs of humanity. Transportation plays a major role in the development
of the human civilization. For instance, one could easily observe the strong correlation between the evolution
of human settlement and the proximity of transport facilities. Also, there is a strong correlation between
the quality of transport facilities and standard of living, because of which society places a great expectation
from transportation facilities. In other words, the solution to transportation problems must be analytically
based, economically sound, socially credible, environmentally sensitive, practically acceptable and sustainable.
Alternatively, the transportation solution should be safe, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and eco-
friendly for both men and material.
1.2 Transportation system
In the last couple of decades transportation systems analysis has emerged as a recognized profession. More and
more government organizations, universities, researchers, consultants, and private industrial groups around the
world are becoming truly multi-modal in their orientation and are opting a systematic approach to transportation
problems.
1.2.1 Diverse characteristics
The characteristics of transportation system that makes it diverse and complex are listed below:
1. Multi-modal: Covering all modes of transport; air, land, and sea for both passenger and freight.
2. Multi-sector: Encompassing the problems and viewpoints of government, private industry, and public.
3. Multi-problem: Ranging across a spectrum of issues that includes national and international policy,
planning of regional system, the location and design of specic facilities, carrier management issues,
regulatory, institutional and nancial policies.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.1 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
4. Multi-objective: Aiming at national and regional economic development, urban development, environ-
ment quality, and social quality, as well as service to users and nancial and economic feasibility.
5. Multi-disciplinary: Drawing on the theories and methods of engineering, economics, operations research,
political science, psychology, other natural, and social sciences, management and law.
1.2.2 Study context
The context in which transportation system is studied is also very diverse and are mentioned below:
1. Planning range: Urban transportation planning, producing long range plans for 5-25 years for multi-
modal transportation systems in urban areas as well as short range programs of action for less than ve
years.
2. Passenger transport: Regional passenger transportation, dealing with inter-city passenger transport
by air, rail, and highway and possible with new modes.
3. Freight transport: Routing and management, choice of dierent modes of rail and truck.
4. International transport: Issues such as containerization, inter-modal co-ordination.
1.2.3 Background: A changing world
The strong interrelationship and the interaction between transportation and the rest of the society especially
in a rapidly changing world is signicant to a transportation planner. Among them four critical dimensions of
change in transportation system can be identied; which form the background to develop a right perspective.
1. Change in the demand: When the population, income, and land-use pattern changes, the pattern of
demand changes; both in the amount and spatial distribution of that demand.
2. Changes in the technology: As an example, earlier, only two alternatives (bus transit and rail transit)
were considered for urban transportation. But, now new systems like LRT, MRTS, etc oer a variety of
alternatives.
3. Change in operational policy: Variety of policy options designed to improve the eciency, such as
incentive for car-pooling, bus fare, road tolls etc.
4. Change in values of the public: Earlier all beneciaries of a system was monolithically considered as
users. Now, not one system can be benecial to all, instead one must identify the target groups like rich,
poor, young, work trip, leisure etc.
1.2.4 Role of transportation engineer
In spite of the diversity of problem types, institutional contexts and technical perspectives there is an underlying
unity: a body of theory and set of basic principles to be utilized in every analysis of transportation systems.
The core of this is the transportation system analysis approach. The focus of this is the interaction between
the transportation and activity systems of region. This approach is to intervene, delicately and deliberately in
the complex fabric of society to use transport eectively in coordination with other public and private actions to
achieve the goals of that society. For this the analyst must have substantial understanding of the transportation
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.2 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
Page 3


CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
Chapter 1
Introduction to transportation
engineering
1.1 Overview
Mobility is a basic human need. From the times immemorial, everyone travels either for food or leisure. A closely
associated need is the transport of raw materials to a manufacturing unit or nished goods for consumption.
Transportation fullls these basic needs of humanity. Transportation plays a major role in the development
of the human civilization. For instance, one could easily observe the strong correlation between the evolution
of human settlement and the proximity of transport facilities. Also, there is a strong correlation between
the quality of transport facilities and standard of living, because of which society places a great expectation
from transportation facilities. In other words, the solution to transportation problems must be analytically
based, economically sound, socially credible, environmentally sensitive, practically acceptable and sustainable.
Alternatively, the transportation solution should be safe, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and eco-
friendly for both men and material.
1.2 Transportation system
In the last couple of decades transportation systems analysis has emerged as a recognized profession. More and
more government organizations, universities, researchers, consultants, and private industrial groups around the
world are becoming truly multi-modal in their orientation and are opting a systematic approach to transportation
problems.
1.2.1 Diverse characteristics
The characteristics of transportation system that makes it diverse and complex are listed below:
1. Multi-modal: Covering all modes of transport; air, land, and sea for both passenger and freight.
2. Multi-sector: Encompassing the problems and viewpoints of government, private industry, and public.
3. Multi-problem: Ranging across a spectrum of issues that includes national and international policy,
planning of regional system, the location and design of specic facilities, carrier management issues,
regulatory, institutional and nancial policies.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.1 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
4. Multi-objective: Aiming at national and regional economic development, urban development, environ-
ment quality, and social quality, as well as service to users and nancial and economic feasibility.
5. Multi-disciplinary: Drawing on the theories and methods of engineering, economics, operations research,
political science, psychology, other natural, and social sciences, management and law.
1.2.2 Study context
The context in which transportation system is studied is also very diverse and are mentioned below:
1. Planning range: Urban transportation planning, producing long range plans for 5-25 years for multi-
modal transportation systems in urban areas as well as short range programs of action for less than ve
years.
2. Passenger transport: Regional passenger transportation, dealing with inter-city passenger transport
by air, rail, and highway and possible with new modes.
3. Freight transport: Routing and management, choice of dierent modes of rail and truck.
4. International transport: Issues such as containerization, inter-modal co-ordination.
1.2.3 Background: A changing world
The strong interrelationship and the interaction between transportation and the rest of the society especially
in a rapidly changing world is signicant to a transportation planner. Among them four critical dimensions of
change in transportation system can be identied; which form the background to develop a right perspective.
1. Change in the demand: When the population, income, and land-use pattern changes, the pattern of
demand changes; both in the amount and spatial distribution of that demand.
2. Changes in the technology: As an example, earlier, only two alternatives (bus transit and rail transit)
were considered for urban transportation. But, now new systems like LRT, MRTS, etc oer a variety of
alternatives.
3. Change in operational policy: Variety of policy options designed to improve the eciency, such as
incentive for car-pooling, bus fare, road tolls etc.
4. Change in values of the public: Earlier all beneciaries of a system was monolithically considered as
users. Now, not one system can be benecial to all, instead one must identify the target groups like rich,
poor, young, work trip, leisure etc.
1.2.4 Role of transportation engineer
In spite of the diversity of problem types, institutional contexts and technical perspectives there is an underlying
unity: a body of theory and set of basic principles to be utilized in every analysis of transportation systems.
The core of this is the transportation system analysis approach. The focus of this is the interaction between
the transportation and activity systems of region. This approach is to intervene, delicately and deliberately in
the complex fabric of society to use transport eectively in coordination with other public and private actions to
achieve the goals of that society. For this the analyst must have substantial understanding of the transportation
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.2 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
systems and their interaction with activity systems; which requires understanding of the basic theoretical
concepts and available empirical knowledge.
1.2.5 Basic premise of a transportation system
The rst step in formulation of a system analysis of transportation system is to examine the scope of analyt-
ical work. The basic premise is the explicit treatment of the total transportation system of region and the
interrelations between the transportation and socioeconomic context.They can be stated as:
P1 The total transportation system must be viewed as a single multi-modal system.
P2 Considerations of transportation system cannot be separated from considerations of social, economic, and
political system of the region.
This follows the following steps for the analysis of transportation system:
 S1 Consider all modes of transportation
 S2 Consider all elements of transportation like persons, goods, carriers (vehicles), paths in the network
facilities in which vehicles are going, the terminal, etc.
 S3 Consider all movements of passengers and goods for every O-D pair.
 S4 Consider the total trip for every 
ows for every O-D over all modes and facilities.
As an example, consider the study of intra-city passenger transport in metro cities.
 Consider all modes: i.e rail, road, buses, private automobiles, trucks, new modes like LRT, MRTS, etc.
 Consider all elements like direct and indirect links, vehicles that can operate, terminals, transfer points,
intra-city transit like taxis, autos, urban transit.
 Consider diverse pattern of O-D of passenger and goods.
 Consider service provided for access, egress, transfer points and mid-block travel etc.
Once all these components are identied, the planner can focus on elements that are of real concern.
1.3 Major disciplines of transportation
Transportation engineering can be broadly consisting of the four major parts:
1. Transportation Planning
2. Geometric Design
3. Pavement Design
4. Trac Engineering
A brief overview of the topics is given below: Transportation planning deals with the development of a compre-
hensive set of action plan for the design, construction and operation of transportation facilities.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.3 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
Page 4


CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
Chapter 1
Introduction to transportation
engineering
1.1 Overview
Mobility is a basic human need. From the times immemorial, everyone travels either for food or leisure. A closely
associated need is the transport of raw materials to a manufacturing unit or nished goods for consumption.
Transportation fullls these basic needs of humanity. Transportation plays a major role in the development
of the human civilization. For instance, one could easily observe the strong correlation between the evolution
of human settlement and the proximity of transport facilities. Also, there is a strong correlation between
the quality of transport facilities and standard of living, because of which society places a great expectation
from transportation facilities. In other words, the solution to transportation problems must be analytically
based, economically sound, socially credible, environmentally sensitive, practically acceptable and sustainable.
Alternatively, the transportation solution should be safe, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and eco-
friendly for both men and material.
1.2 Transportation system
In the last couple of decades transportation systems analysis has emerged as a recognized profession. More and
more government organizations, universities, researchers, consultants, and private industrial groups around the
world are becoming truly multi-modal in their orientation and are opting a systematic approach to transportation
problems.
1.2.1 Diverse characteristics
The characteristics of transportation system that makes it diverse and complex are listed below:
1. Multi-modal: Covering all modes of transport; air, land, and sea for both passenger and freight.
2. Multi-sector: Encompassing the problems and viewpoints of government, private industry, and public.
3. Multi-problem: Ranging across a spectrum of issues that includes national and international policy,
planning of regional system, the location and design of specic facilities, carrier management issues,
regulatory, institutional and nancial policies.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.1 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
4. Multi-objective: Aiming at national and regional economic development, urban development, environ-
ment quality, and social quality, as well as service to users and nancial and economic feasibility.
5. Multi-disciplinary: Drawing on the theories and methods of engineering, economics, operations research,
political science, psychology, other natural, and social sciences, management and law.
1.2.2 Study context
The context in which transportation system is studied is also very diverse and are mentioned below:
1. Planning range: Urban transportation planning, producing long range plans for 5-25 years for multi-
modal transportation systems in urban areas as well as short range programs of action for less than ve
years.
2. Passenger transport: Regional passenger transportation, dealing with inter-city passenger transport
by air, rail, and highway and possible with new modes.
3. Freight transport: Routing and management, choice of dierent modes of rail and truck.
4. International transport: Issues such as containerization, inter-modal co-ordination.
1.2.3 Background: A changing world
The strong interrelationship and the interaction between transportation and the rest of the society especially
in a rapidly changing world is signicant to a transportation planner. Among them four critical dimensions of
change in transportation system can be identied; which form the background to develop a right perspective.
1. Change in the demand: When the population, income, and land-use pattern changes, the pattern of
demand changes; both in the amount and spatial distribution of that demand.
2. Changes in the technology: As an example, earlier, only two alternatives (bus transit and rail transit)
were considered for urban transportation. But, now new systems like LRT, MRTS, etc oer a variety of
alternatives.
3. Change in operational policy: Variety of policy options designed to improve the eciency, such as
incentive for car-pooling, bus fare, road tolls etc.
4. Change in values of the public: Earlier all beneciaries of a system was monolithically considered as
users. Now, not one system can be benecial to all, instead one must identify the target groups like rich,
poor, young, work trip, leisure etc.
1.2.4 Role of transportation engineer
In spite of the diversity of problem types, institutional contexts and technical perspectives there is an underlying
unity: a body of theory and set of basic principles to be utilized in every analysis of transportation systems.
The core of this is the transportation system analysis approach. The focus of this is the interaction between
the transportation and activity systems of region. This approach is to intervene, delicately and deliberately in
the complex fabric of society to use transport eectively in coordination with other public and private actions to
achieve the goals of that society. For this the analyst must have substantial understanding of the transportation
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.2 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
systems and their interaction with activity systems; which requires understanding of the basic theoretical
concepts and available empirical knowledge.
1.2.5 Basic premise of a transportation system
The rst step in formulation of a system analysis of transportation system is to examine the scope of analyt-
ical work. The basic premise is the explicit treatment of the total transportation system of region and the
interrelations between the transportation and socioeconomic context.They can be stated as:
P1 The total transportation system must be viewed as a single multi-modal system.
P2 Considerations of transportation system cannot be separated from considerations of social, economic, and
political system of the region.
This follows the following steps for the analysis of transportation system:
 S1 Consider all modes of transportation
 S2 Consider all elements of transportation like persons, goods, carriers (vehicles), paths in the network
facilities in which vehicles are going, the terminal, etc.
 S3 Consider all movements of passengers and goods for every O-D pair.
 S4 Consider the total trip for every 
ows for every O-D over all modes and facilities.
As an example, consider the study of intra-city passenger transport in metro cities.
 Consider all modes: i.e rail, road, buses, private automobiles, trucks, new modes like LRT, MRTS, etc.
 Consider all elements like direct and indirect links, vehicles that can operate, terminals, transfer points,
intra-city transit like taxis, autos, urban transit.
 Consider diverse pattern of O-D of passenger and goods.
 Consider service provided for access, egress, transfer points and mid-block travel etc.
Once all these components are identied, the planner can focus on elements that are of real concern.
1.3 Major disciplines of transportation
Transportation engineering can be broadly consisting of the four major parts:
1. Transportation Planning
2. Geometric Design
3. Pavement Design
4. Trac Engineering
A brief overview of the topics is given below: Transportation planning deals with the development of a compre-
hensive set of action plan for the design, construction and operation of transportation facilities.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.3 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
1.3.1 Transportation planning
Transportation planning essentially involves the development of a transport model which will accurately repre-
sent both the current as well as future transportation system.
1.3.2 Geometric design
Geometric design deals with physical proportioning of other transportation facilities, in contrast with the struc-
tural design of the facilities. The topics include the cross-sectional features, horizontal alignment, vertical
alignment and intersections. Although there are several modes of travel like road, rail, air, etc.. the underlying
principles are common to a great extent. Therefore emphasis will be normally given for the geometric design of
roads.
1.3.3 Pavement analysis and design
Pavement design deals with the structural design of roads, both (bituminous and concrete), commonly known as
(
exible pavements and rigid pavements) respectively. It deals with the design of paving materials, determination
of the layer thickness, and construction and maintenance procedures. The design mainly covers structural
aspects, functional aspects, drainage. Structural design ensures the pavement has enough strength to withstand
the impact of loads, functional design emphasizes on the riding quality, and the drainage design protects the
pavement from damage due to water inltration.
1.3.4 Trac engineering
Trac engineering covers a broad range of engineering applications with a focus on the safety of the public,
the ecient use of transportation resources, and the mobility of people and goods. Trac engineering involves
a variety of engineering and management skills, including design, operation, and system optimization. In
order to address the above requirement, the trac engineer must rst understand the trac 
ow behavior
and characteristics by extensive collection of trac 
ow data and analysis. Based on this analysis, trac 
ow
is controlled so that the transport infrastructure is used optimally as well as with good service quality. In
short, the role of trac engineer is to protect the environment while providing mobility , to preserve scarce
resources while assuring economic activity, and to assure safety and security to people and vehicles, through
both acceptable practices and high-tech communications.
1.4 Other important disciplines
In addition to the four major disciplines of transportation, there are several other important disciplines that
are being evolved in the past few decades. Although it is dicult to categorize them into separate well dened
disciplines because of the signicant overlap, it may be worth the eort to highlight the importance given by
the transportation community. They can be enumerated as below:
1. Public transportation: Public transportation or mass transportation deals with study of the trans-
portation system that meets the travel need of several people by sharing a vehicle. Generally this focuses
on the urban travel by bus and rail transit. The major topics include characteristics of various modes;
planning, management and operations; and policies for promoting public transportation.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.4 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
Page 5


CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
Chapter 1
Introduction to transportation
engineering
1.1 Overview
Mobility is a basic human need. From the times immemorial, everyone travels either for food or leisure. A closely
associated need is the transport of raw materials to a manufacturing unit or nished goods for consumption.
Transportation fullls these basic needs of humanity. Transportation plays a major role in the development
of the human civilization. For instance, one could easily observe the strong correlation between the evolution
of human settlement and the proximity of transport facilities. Also, there is a strong correlation between
the quality of transport facilities and standard of living, because of which society places a great expectation
from transportation facilities. In other words, the solution to transportation problems must be analytically
based, economically sound, socially credible, environmentally sensitive, practically acceptable and sustainable.
Alternatively, the transportation solution should be safe, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and eco-
friendly for both men and material.
1.2 Transportation system
In the last couple of decades transportation systems analysis has emerged as a recognized profession. More and
more government organizations, universities, researchers, consultants, and private industrial groups around the
world are becoming truly multi-modal in their orientation and are opting a systematic approach to transportation
problems.
1.2.1 Diverse characteristics
The characteristics of transportation system that makes it diverse and complex are listed below:
1. Multi-modal: Covering all modes of transport; air, land, and sea for both passenger and freight.
2. Multi-sector: Encompassing the problems and viewpoints of government, private industry, and public.
3. Multi-problem: Ranging across a spectrum of issues that includes national and international policy,
planning of regional system, the location and design of specic facilities, carrier management issues,
regulatory, institutional and nancial policies.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.1 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
4. Multi-objective: Aiming at national and regional economic development, urban development, environ-
ment quality, and social quality, as well as service to users and nancial and economic feasibility.
5. Multi-disciplinary: Drawing on the theories and methods of engineering, economics, operations research,
political science, psychology, other natural, and social sciences, management and law.
1.2.2 Study context
The context in which transportation system is studied is also very diverse and are mentioned below:
1. Planning range: Urban transportation planning, producing long range plans for 5-25 years for multi-
modal transportation systems in urban areas as well as short range programs of action for less than ve
years.
2. Passenger transport: Regional passenger transportation, dealing with inter-city passenger transport
by air, rail, and highway and possible with new modes.
3. Freight transport: Routing and management, choice of dierent modes of rail and truck.
4. International transport: Issues such as containerization, inter-modal co-ordination.
1.2.3 Background: A changing world
The strong interrelationship and the interaction between transportation and the rest of the society especially
in a rapidly changing world is signicant to a transportation planner. Among them four critical dimensions of
change in transportation system can be identied; which form the background to develop a right perspective.
1. Change in the demand: When the population, income, and land-use pattern changes, the pattern of
demand changes; both in the amount and spatial distribution of that demand.
2. Changes in the technology: As an example, earlier, only two alternatives (bus transit and rail transit)
were considered for urban transportation. But, now new systems like LRT, MRTS, etc oer a variety of
alternatives.
3. Change in operational policy: Variety of policy options designed to improve the eciency, such as
incentive for car-pooling, bus fare, road tolls etc.
4. Change in values of the public: Earlier all beneciaries of a system was monolithically considered as
users. Now, not one system can be benecial to all, instead one must identify the target groups like rich,
poor, young, work trip, leisure etc.
1.2.4 Role of transportation engineer
In spite of the diversity of problem types, institutional contexts and technical perspectives there is an underlying
unity: a body of theory and set of basic principles to be utilized in every analysis of transportation systems.
The core of this is the transportation system analysis approach. The focus of this is the interaction between
the transportation and activity systems of region. This approach is to intervene, delicately and deliberately in
the complex fabric of society to use transport eectively in coordination with other public and private actions to
achieve the goals of that society. For this the analyst must have substantial understanding of the transportation
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.2 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
systems and their interaction with activity systems; which requires understanding of the basic theoretical
concepts and available empirical knowledge.
1.2.5 Basic premise of a transportation system
The rst step in formulation of a system analysis of transportation system is to examine the scope of analyt-
ical work. The basic premise is the explicit treatment of the total transportation system of region and the
interrelations between the transportation and socioeconomic context.They can be stated as:
P1 The total transportation system must be viewed as a single multi-modal system.
P2 Considerations of transportation system cannot be separated from considerations of social, economic, and
political system of the region.
This follows the following steps for the analysis of transportation system:
 S1 Consider all modes of transportation
 S2 Consider all elements of transportation like persons, goods, carriers (vehicles), paths in the network
facilities in which vehicles are going, the terminal, etc.
 S3 Consider all movements of passengers and goods for every O-D pair.
 S4 Consider the total trip for every 
ows for every O-D over all modes and facilities.
As an example, consider the study of intra-city passenger transport in metro cities.
 Consider all modes: i.e rail, road, buses, private automobiles, trucks, new modes like LRT, MRTS, etc.
 Consider all elements like direct and indirect links, vehicles that can operate, terminals, transfer points,
intra-city transit like taxis, autos, urban transit.
 Consider diverse pattern of O-D of passenger and goods.
 Consider service provided for access, egress, transfer points and mid-block travel etc.
Once all these components are identied, the planner can focus on elements that are of real concern.
1.3 Major disciplines of transportation
Transportation engineering can be broadly consisting of the four major parts:
1. Transportation Planning
2. Geometric Design
3. Pavement Design
4. Trac Engineering
A brief overview of the topics is given below: Transportation planning deals with the development of a compre-
hensive set of action plan for the design, construction and operation of transportation facilities.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.3 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
1.3.1 Transportation planning
Transportation planning essentially involves the development of a transport model which will accurately repre-
sent both the current as well as future transportation system.
1.3.2 Geometric design
Geometric design deals with physical proportioning of other transportation facilities, in contrast with the struc-
tural design of the facilities. The topics include the cross-sectional features, horizontal alignment, vertical
alignment and intersections. Although there are several modes of travel like road, rail, air, etc.. the underlying
principles are common to a great extent. Therefore emphasis will be normally given for the geometric design of
roads.
1.3.3 Pavement analysis and design
Pavement design deals with the structural design of roads, both (bituminous and concrete), commonly known as
(
exible pavements and rigid pavements) respectively. It deals with the design of paving materials, determination
of the layer thickness, and construction and maintenance procedures. The design mainly covers structural
aspects, functional aspects, drainage. Structural design ensures the pavement has enough strength to withstand
the impact of loads, functional design emphasizes on the riding quality, and the drainage design protects the
pavement from damage due to water inltration.
1.3.4 Trac engineering
Trac engineering covers a broad range of engineering applications with a focus on the safety of the public,
the ecient use of transportation resources, and the mobility of people and goods. Trac engineering involves
a variety of engineering and management skills, including design, operation, and system optimization. In
order to address the above requirement, the trac engineer must rst understand the trac 
ow behavior
and characteristics by extensive collection of trac 
ow data and analysis. Based on this analysis, trac 
ow
is controlled so that the transport infrastructure is used optimally as well as with good service quality. In
short, the role of trac engineer is to protect the environment while providing mobility , to preserve scarce
resources while assuring economic activity, and to assure safety and security to people and vehicles, through
both acceptable practices and high-tech communications.
1.4 Other important disciplines
In addition to the four major disciplines of transportation, there are several other important disciplines that
are being evolved in the past few decades. Although it is dicult to categorize them into separate well dened
disciplines because of the signicant overlap, it may be worth the eort to highlight the importance given by
the transportation community. They can be enumerated as below:
1. Public transportation: Public transportation or mass transportation deals with study of the trans-
portation system that meets the travel need of several people by sharing a vehicle. Generally this focuses
on the urban travel by bus and rail transit. The major topics include characteristics of various modes;
planning, management and operations; and policies for promoting public transportation.
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.4 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING NPTEL May 7, 2007
2. Financial and economic analysis Transportation facilities require large capital investments. There-
fore it is imperative that who ever invests money should get the returns. When government invests in
transportation, its objective is not often monetary returns; but social benets. The economic analysis of
transportation project tries to quantify the economic benet which includes saving in travel time, fuel
consumption, etc. This will help the planner in evaluating various projects and to optimally allocate
funds. On the contrary, private sector investments require monetary prots from the projects. Financial
evaluation tries to quantify the return from a project.
3. Environmental impact assessment The depletion of fossil fuels and the degradation of the environment
has been a severe concern of the planners in the past few decades. Transportation; in spite of its benets
to the society is a major contributor to the above concern. The environmental impact assessment attempts
in quantifying the environmental impacts and tries to evolve strategies for the mitigation and reduction
of the impact due to both construction and operation. The primary impacts are fuel consumption, air
pollution, and noise pollution.
4. Accident analysis and reduction One of the silent killers of humanity is transportation. Several
statistics evaluates that more people are killed due to transportation than great wars and natural disasters.
This discipline of transportation looks at the causes of accidents, from the perspective of human, road,
and vehicle and formulate plans for the reduction.
5. Intelligent transport system With advent to computers, communication, and vehicle technology, it is
possible in these days to operate transportation system much eectively with signicant reduction in the
adverse impacts of transportation. Intelligent transportation system oers better mobility, eciency, and
safety with the help of the state-of-the-art-technology.
In addition disciplines specic to various modes are also common. This includes railway engineering, port and
harbor engineering, and airport engineering.
1.5 Summary
Transportation engineering is a very diverse and multidisciplinary eld, which deals with the planning, design,
operation and maintenance of transportation systems. Good transportation is that which provides safe, rapid,
comfortable, convenient, economical, and environmentally compatible movement of both goods and people. This
profession carries a distinct societal responsibility. Transportation planners and engineers recognize the fact
that transportation systems constitute a potent force in shaping the course of regional development. Planning
and development of transportation facilities generally raises living standards and enhances the aggregate of
community values.
1.6 Problems
1. Which analysis helps in nding the monetary returns from a project?
(a) Accident analysis
(b) Financial and economic analysis
(c) Intelligent transport system
Introduction to Transportation Engineering 1.5 Tom V. Mathew and K V Krishna Rao
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