Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino
Academic Year 2017/18
Transportation Techniques and Economics
Master of science-level of the Bologna process in Civil Engineering - Torino
Master of science-level of the Bologna process in Territorial, Urban, Environmental And Landscape Planning - Torino
Teacher Status SSD Les Ex Lab Tut Years teaching
Diana Marco ORARIO RICEVIMENTO A2 ICAR/05 50 30 0 6 7
SSD CFU Activities Area context
ICAR/05 8 B - Caratterizzanti Ingegneria civile
Subject fundamentals
The goal of the course is to give to students the methodological foundations of transport systems analysis, through the coverage of the most important theories that are at the basis of the economic, technical, planning and management aspects related to transport systems. It can therefore be seen as a formative course to give a general framework on transport systems, that are analysed through the explanation of their main technical characteristics, beyond considering the economic and legal viewpoint. The structure of the course, that is multidisciplinary and offered across different degrees of Politecnico, is an occasion for students to raise their awareness on the need of an integrated approach in order to develop truly operational skills in the transport sector. In parallel, the solution of practical exercises targets the development of planning skills of the students through the learning of the basic techniques that are needed to analyse transport systems.
Expected learning outcomes
The knowledge acquired all along the course is both methodological and applied.
The methodological knowledge is based on learning about theories and methods to dimension a transport system, both private and public, as well as to evaluate its financial profitability and economic efficiency, also under the point of view of the external costs. Furthermore, the study of the economic theories on which the markets are based and of the competition for and within the market allow defining the most appropriate management approach for transport companies and the principles of market regulations (fare policies, internalisation of costs).
The applied knowledge is acquired through the experimental work carried out during the course, that provides the analysis of real cases to which apply the learned theories. For example, the students learn how to evaluate the performances of the transport systems (capacity, potentiality, level of service).
The knowledge acquired during the course allows to develop: a) the ability to describe and analyse a transport system; b) the mastery of the basic techniques to dimension a transport system; c) the ability to measure the performances of a transport service; d) the skills in the evaluation of a transport system according to the point of view of the different stakeholders (users, firm operating the service or managing the system, general public, policy and decision maker); e) the ability to analyse the markets and to define the fares of different transport systems.
Prerequisites / Assumed knowledge
Basic notions of mathematics, physics and mechanics.
Mechanics of locomotion: 10 hours
- Traction and friction
- Ordinary and accidental resistances on roads and railways
- Forces on the vehicle, equilibrium of forces on wheels
- The motion equation and the phases of motion
- Power and traction diagrams, performance curves and manual integration of the motion equation
- Braking and stop distances on roads and railways
- Motion diagrams of a vehicle.
Vehicular flows: 15 hours
- Traffic streams, motion diagrams of several vehicles, headway and spacing
- Physical quantities characterising the flow
- The fundamental law of traffic flow on road transport
- Stationary road traffic flow and related theoretical-deductive models
- Empirical-inductive models for road traffic flows: HCM manual
- Railways circulation rules
- Theoretical (block theory) and empirical (Fiche UIC 406) models for flows on railway networks.
Scheduling transport services: 7 hours
- Physical quantities and measurement units for traffic in transport systems
- Graphical timetables, operations at same or different speeds, rights of ways and crossings in railways
- Line transports: cycle time, frequency and capacity.
Fundamentals of microeconomics: 10 hours
- Introduction: economic organisation, production factors and definition of market
- Demand and supply curves, market equilibrium point; elasticity of the demand; analysis of production costs
- Free competition markets and monopolies.
Engineering economics: 7 hours
- Interests, economic equivalence and depreciation
- Economic evaluation of investments.
Transport economics: 11 hours
- Cost structures and prices in railways and road haulage
- Mean cost, marginal cost and demand price tariffs, optimal public prices
- Opportunity costs, shadow prices, sunk costs, external and social costs, generalised costs
- Legal structure of railways: situation in Itali, natural monopoly, "de-verticalization"
- Road transport: Downs-Thomson paradox, congestion and pollution, market failures.
Complements of transport systems analysis: 20 hours (only for the 8 credit course)
- Cost-benefit analysis with applications in the transport sector
- The Italian national yearly report on transportation and transport infrastructure
- Standard costs and service contracts in the transport sector
- Organisational principles in air transportation.
Delivery modes
Workshops, that last about four hours each, are targeted at the development of numerical applications that are related to the topics covered during lessons, in particular on the following points:

1. LOCOMOTION MECHANICS. The movement of single vehicles, active forces and resistances. The motion equation. Computation of the performances of vehicles moving at constant speed or during acceleration and deceleration phases.
2. PERFORMANCES OF THE MEANS. Experimental formulas to compute ordinary and accidental resistances. Traction diagrams and manual integration of the motion equation.
3. CAPACITY OF THE INFRASTRUCTURES. Vehicular flows, levels of service and HCM manual. Railways traffic.
4. RESOURCES FOR TRANSPORT SERVICES. Graphical timetables, fleet and crew scheduling.
5. FINANCIAL ANALYSIS. Interests, depreciation, curves of costs and revenues, breakeven and maximum profit point. Calculation of cost per kilometre of a vehicle.
6. EVALUATION OF INVESTMENTS AND PROJECTS. Methods of payback period, of average annual investment rate, of present worth, of internal rate of return.
Texts, readings, handouts and other learning resources
The nature of the course and the available references do not allow having only one textbook and the attendance to the course is fundamental for an effective learning process. All along classes, proper textbooks, both in English and Italian, will be suggested to complete the training process. As an example, some topics are contained in the following textbooks:

1. Torrieri, V. (2007) Tecnica ed economia dei trasporti, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, ISBN 88-495-1422-0
2. Samuelson, P.A., Nordhaus, W.D. e Bollino, C.A. (2009) Economia, Diciannovesima edizione, McGraw Hill, ISBN 978-88-386-6602-5 (or either one of the previous editions, possibly from the 14th onwards, or following ones).

Concerning specific topics, ad hoc material (articles, reports, etc.) will be distributed or uploaded on the course web page.
Assessment and grading criteria
The exam implies a written as well as an oral part, both are compulsory.
Written exam: solution of numerical exercises on the topics dealt during the workshops. The written exam will include three exercises (or two exercises and one multiple answers text) and it will be possible to consult personal notes, at least for part of it.
Oral exam: it will deal with all the topics covered during the course and it will compulsorily take place after few days from the written exam.
The admittance requirement to the oral exam is having obtained a score of at least 18/30 in the written exam and, for each of the three exercises, a score of at least 5/10.

Programma definitivo per l'A.A.2016/17

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