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Planes, trains and automobiles: understanding the global transport sector

How we can make transport systems safer, quicker and more efficient
Population growth and an increase in travel have created an urgent need for better transport systems in global cities. A shift towards analysing, designed and implementing future-focused transport is needed - and it's going to transform the way we travel.

Like most global cities, Australia’s capital cities have a long way to go before they can claim that their transport systems are truly accessible and reliable. With a projected population growth of 80% by 2050, Sydney is already dealing with problems in its transport systems, causing a surge in demand for workers with the skills to fix them.

The Master of Transport, a new degree hosted by the Faculty of Engineering, draws on key skillsets from a variety of disciplines to help graduates address those problems within the transport sector – and find the solutions.

A truly interdisciplinary degree

Designing the future transport of global cities requires skills from across multiple areas. Proficiency in engineering, business, and planning and design is needed if we are to further the evolution of transport as reliable and accessible, so the degree was designed in collaboration with both the School of Architecture, Design, and Planning, and the University of Sydney Business School. It also enables students to study units from all three faculties and schools. 

“Students will choose from a variety of electives in the field that will help them build specialisations,” says Professor David Levinson, Master of Transport coordinator.

This means everything from transport and policy systems analysis, to engineering, planning, and modelling, to urban design and planning, and data science and analytics. These electives are designed to give students the interdisciplinary skills needed to work in the growing and increasingly global transport sector.

The past, present and future of transport

“This is the first interdisciplinary transport degree in Australia, and the only one with equal parts from the Faculty of Engineering, the Business School, and the School of Architecture, Design and Planning,” says Professor Levinson. “This means that students will get a full picture of what the transport field is like, not bound by disciplinary silos.”

The Master of Transport looks closely at the history of transportation, from the London Underground, Sydney’s Trams, and US Highways, in order to understand how our transport systems can most efficiently operate both independently, and as a network. In examining the past, graduates will develop a critical understanding of the prevalence and identification of transport systems, as well as the core capabilities needed to analyse and design such systems.

Collaborate with industry partners

“Many different kinds of jobs, including those in transport planning, engineering, and management, require partnerships between the public sector and private industry,” says Professor Levinson.

“Being conversant in multiple disciplines will help graduates in getting an initial job in this complex field, but also as their career progresses to larger and more complex projects that require understanding across fields.”

A great strength of the Master of Transport degree is its connection to the University of Sydney’s transport research community, including TransportLab and the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies. The Institute provides evidence based-research to government and industry, which means it has forged strong partnerships with industry and is recognised by the Australian Government as a centre of excellence in research and education.


Applications are now open for the Master of Transport – for more information on the course structure, costs and entry requirements, please visit the course website.

26 September 2019

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