Syllabus for Sustainable Transportation Course given at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, in the March - July, 2002 term by Professor Anna Nagurney as part of her Distinguished Chaired Fulbright Professor appointment. The course will meet three times a week for a one and a half hour session for approximately 14 sessions with the exclusion of university scheduled holidays.


Sustainable Transportation
Professor Anna Nagurney
John F. Smith Memorial Professor
Isenberg School of Management
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Course Description and Syllabus

Networks form the infrastructure for the functioning of today's societies and economies. Transportation networks, in particular, provide the foundation for the movement of people and goods across space and time. The existence of transportation networks and their utilization are so fundamental to today's modern societies that such associated negative externalities with their usage as congestion and pollution are demanding increasing attention. Indeed, even with the advent of telecommuting and electronic commerce through telecommunication networks the demand for transportation resources is not expected to decrease in the foreseeable future.

Given societal, as well as governmental, recognition of the growing problems of congestion and pollution associated with the transportation sector, one may ask whether or not transportation networks are sustainable, that is, according to the definition, can they last? Are environmental quality standards even achievable in the context of today's transportation networks and the demand for their usage?

 In this course, I develop a framework for the study, analysis, and design of sustainable transportation networks and answer the above question positively in a spectrum of settings. The focus here is rigorous since it is my belief that it is only through clearly defined concepts and methodologies that one can tackle this complex and timely issue. The topic is particularly challenging for several reasons:

1. What environmental and transportation planners may have considered to be improvements to a transportation network leading to expected reductions in pollution emissions may actually have the opposite effect. Indeed, the course motivates the problem of sustainability of transportation networks by presenting emission paradoxes which demonstrate that so-called improvements to a transportation network may actually result in an increase in the total number of emissions generated by the vehicles.

2. Transportation networks are spatial in nature as are the deleterious effects of the emissions generated. Hence, any associated environmental analysis must consider the network topology as well as the spatial nature of pollution dispersion. Since transportation networks are large-scale in nature, analytical tools must be able to handle the dimensionality of the problem.

3. The behavior of the users of a transportation network and their interaction on the network must be taken into consideration in both the modeling and analysis of sustainable transportation networks. Indeed, flows on different links on a network may influence the travel time or cost on other links. Consequently, policy instruments must be such that they apply to the appropriate behavioral setting and achieve the desired environmental goals.

The above points emphasize one of the major themes of this course which is that the study and analysis of sustainable transportation networks and the underlying policies cannot be divorced from the networks nor from the behavior of the users of the networks. Specifically, in this course, I present formulations of sustainable transportation networks which explicitly consider what I believe are such critical issues as the network topologies themselves as well as the behavior of the users of the transportation networks. The possibility of distinct behaviors of users on the transportation networks are considered, who may operate according to their own best interests, that is, in a user-optimizing fashion or acccording to what is best from a societal perspective and, hence, in a system-optimizing manner.

This course presents models, accompanied by analyses, and numerous illustrative examples which, through a variety of policy instruments, guarantee that the transportation network in question will be sustainable, that is, given the behavior of the travelers on the networks, the environmental goals can be achieved. Although the focus of the course is on urban transportation networks, the concepts, models, qualitative analysis, as well as the computational procedures described are also relevant in other transportation network contexts in which congestion and/or pollution issues are of increasing practical importance. For example, transportation networks such as freight networks, airline networks, as well as certain water networks, especially those close to ports, are increasingly characterized by the dual problems of congestion and pollution.

Textbook: Sustainable Transportation Networks, Anna Nagurney, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, England, 2000. The textbook, as well as additional reading materials, will be made available to the students through the appropriate library.

OUTLINE OF LECTURES (Note that some of the background material is provided in the preceding Network Economics course. Note that some lectures may require more than a single class session to appropriately cover the material.) The formal lectures are posted on the web: and can be downloaded from that site by scrolling to "Fulbright Lectures."


Part I Introduction and Overview

1. Foundations

System-Optimization Versus User-Optimization
Models with Asymmetric Link Costs
Transportation and the Environment
Unique Transportation Network Characteristics
2. Emissions Paradoxes in Transportation Networks
Paradoxes in Single Modal, Fixed Demand Networks
A Paradox in Multimodal, Fixed Demand Networks
A Paradox in Elastic Demand Networks
3. Viable and Sustainable Transportation Networks
Viability of Networks with Known O/D Pairs and Travel Demands
Viability of Traffic Networks in Other Situations
Viability of Elastic Demand Traffic Networks
Sustainable Transportation Networks
 Part II Policies for Sustainable User-Optimized Transportation Networks

4. Emission Pricing for Sustainability - User-Optimized Perspective

Pricing for Fixed Demand Networks
Pricing in Alternative Situations
Pricing for Sustainable Elastic Demand Traffic Networks
A Computational Procedure
Numerical Examples
5. Permits for User-Optimized, Fixed Demand Networks
A Model with Fixed Travel Demands and Pollution Permits
The Algorithm
Numerical Examples
Part III Policies for Sustainable System-Optimized Transportation Networks

6. Sustainable System-Optimized Networks

Emission/Congestion Tolls for Sustainability
Numerical Example
7. Tradable Permits for System-Optimized Networks
A Model with Tradable Pollution Permits
Algorithm and Numerical Examples
Pricing in the Case of User-Optimized Behavior
Part IV Special Topics

8. Spatial Price Networks and Emission Policies

Sustainable Spatial Price Network Models
Qualitative Properties
An Algorithm
Numerical Examples
9. Technology and Network Design Issues
Optimal Budget Allocation for Emission Reduction
Optimal Viability Achievement
Introduction of a New Mode of Transportation
Viable Growth
System-Optimization with Mode Allocation Control

There will be homework assignments given regularly throughout the course. The students are expected to actively participate in the course through discussions. The project consists of a paper which should analyze the importance of transportation and its sustainability in the context of the global economy. Specifics of the grading of the course requirements will be finalized with the appropriate representatives from the University of Innsbruck.