575.738.81 - Transportation, Innovation, and Climate Change

Environmental Planning and Management
Spring 2024


The world stands at the cusp of an unusually dynamic period in transportation’s journey to the future. Legacy technologies coexist with powerful forces pushing forward revolutionary innovation. While cars and other vehicles using conventional fuels are forcing climate change, transportation innovations such as electric and automated vehicles to smart infrastructures are creating new lifestyles where transportation reduces carbon emissions. Transportation innovation creates technological and societal “tipping points” that will transform transport. Nevertheless, the direction and consequences of these “tipping points” are yet to be determined. This course explores transportation innovation at the “systems” level to determine whether or not we are bound to the past or moving actively towards a new future. The course assesses uncertainties regarding the capacity to innovate at a rate that will stimulate sustainability, resilience, and livability. The use of these theories and tools will facilitate a more rigorous approach to anticipating the unintended, synergistic, and circular (feedback) effects of transportation innovation processes. This course covers the following topics: mechanisms of climate change; role and efficacy of climate models; legacy transportation technologies versus revolutionary transportation innovations; assessing alternative climate change futures through existing patterns of technological change; identifying exogenous and endogenous threats; and planning for the future through tools borrowed from a variety of disciplines (e.g., public participation, uncertainty and complexity studies, innovation roadmaps, and portfolio management). Because new policies and practices depend on innovation, the course includes group projects designed to build skills for evaluating the direction of innovation over the short, mid, and long-term and the inherent capacity of a particular locality or region to contribute to systemic technological change.


Course Structure

The course materials are divided into weekly modules which are accessed by clicking Course Modules on the course menu. A module will have several sections including the overview, content, readings, discussions, assignments, and quizes. You are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting. Modules run for a period of seven (7) days, Tuesday through Monday, with any exceptions noted in the Course Outline. You should regularly check the Calendar and Announcements for week discussion, assignments, and quiz due dates.

Course Topics

  1. Transportation innovation and its critical role in climate change 
  2. Theories of climate change and innovation
  3. A deeper look at the theories and scientific research underlying climate change
  4. Achieving sustainability, resilience, and livability
  5. Distinguishing incremental and revolutionary innovations
  6. Use of SWOT to evaluate innovations
  7. Innovation ecosystems
  8. Competition-based versus cooperative strategies of transportation Innovation
  9. Implications of connectivity in transportation innovation
  10. The consequences of alternative models of government involvement in transport innovation
  11. The success, decline and ultimate failure of innovation ecosystems: The illustrative cases of Silicon Valley and the Route 128 regions 
  12. Trending methods of making innovation investment decisions
  13. The anarchiac nature of international relations and barriers to global climate cooperation
  14. Lessons from Exploring the Nature of Innovation in the Context of Climate Change 

Course Goals

The goals of this course are to expand the knowledge and skills of students that will be involved in climate management planning and management at the local, regional, state, federal, or international levels. 

The course focuses on achieving three critical goals: 1) understanding the importance and nature of transportation innovation in mitigating climate change, 2) effectively evaluating the nature of revolutionary innovation in the 21st century, and 3) achieving the enhanced capacity to estimate the relative utility of specific transportation innovations or portfolios to effectuate more effective environmental planning and management processes.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Please access government reports through your browser.

Other Materials & Online Resources

Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in on-line research to discover trends in innovations relevant to resolving climate change issues and accelerating overall levels of innovation.

Required Software

Please go to https://edges.nist.gov.  Download free software for the Edge$ resilience evaluation tool.

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that each module will take approximately 6–10 hours per week to complete. Completing all activities will require the following time investment: reading sections of assigned texts and articles (approximately 2-4 hours per week), viewing Weekly PowerPoint Videos (approximately 1–2 hours per week), and completing postings and assignments(approximately 3–4 hours per week).

If you are having problems completing the readings, at least scan the literature for critical informational items.

This course will consist of the following basic student requirements each of which have a specific possible point total:

Preparation and Participation (15% of Final Grade Calculation)

You are responsible for reading all assigned material and being prepared for discussion. The majority of readings are from the course text and assigned articles.

Post your initial response to the discussion questions by the evening of day 3 for that module week. Each week begins on a Tuesday. Posting a response to the discussion question is part one of your grade for module discussions (i.e., Timeliness).

Part two of your grade for module discussion is your interaction (i.e., responding to classmate postings with thoughtful responses) with at least two classmates (the goal is Critical Thinking). Just posting your response to a discussion question is not sufficient; please interact with your classmates by responding to their posts. Be detailed in your postings and in your responses to your classmates' postings. Feel free to agree or disagree with your classmates and the professor. Please ensure that your postings are civil and constructive. Also, please provide citations or references in your postings to support your position.

I will monitor module discussions and will respond to some of the discussions as discussions are posted. Also, in some instances, I will summarize the overall discussions and post the summary for the module.

Evaluation of preparation and participation is based on contribution to discussions.

Preparation and participation are evaluated by the following grading elements:

Preparation and participation are graded as follows:

Assignments (20% of Final Grade Calculation)

Assignments are qualitative assignments (e.g., literature reviews, model summaries, specific issues to be addressed). Include a cover sheet with your name and assignment identifier. Also include your name and a page number indicator (i.e., page x of y) on each page of your submissions. Each problem should have the problem statement, assumptions, tables (quantitative or qualitative), and conclusions/discussion delineated. All Figures and Tables should be captioned and labeled appropriately. Provide citations and sources.

All assignments are due according to the dates in the Calendar.

Late submissions will be reduced by one letter grade for each week late (no exceptions without prior coordination with the instructors).

If, after submitting a written assignment you are not satisfied with the grade received, you are encouraged to redo the assignment and resubmit it. If the resubmission results in a better grade, that grade will be substituted for the previous grade. 

Please contact me before you redo an assignment, and we can go over what I felt was missing in your assignment answer.

Qualitative assignments are evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Each part of question is answered (20%)
  2. Writing quality and technical accuracy (30%) (Writing is expected to meet or exceed accepted graduate-level English and scholarship standards. That is, all assignments will be graded on grammar and style as well as content.) Note: Word can do an evaluation of your writing.
  3. Rationale for answer is provided (20%)
  4. Examples are included to illustrate rationale (15%) (If you do not have direct experience related to a particular question, then you are to provide analogies versus examples.)
  5. Outside references are included (15%)

Qualitative assignments are graded as follows:

Quantitative assignments are evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Each part of question is answered (20%)
  2. Assumptions are clearly stated (20%)
  3. Intermediate derivations and calculations are provided (25%)
  4. Answer is technically correct and is clearly indicated (25%)
  5. Answer precision and units are appropriate (10%)

Quantitative assignments are graded as follows:

This course emphasizes qualitative assignments; however, each assignment could be enhanced through the addition of some form of quantitative assessment and/or data (secondary or primary).

Midterm Quiz (5% of Final Grade Calculation)

There will be a short take-home Midterm quiz on the readings in Module 8. It will consist of some definitions, short answer questions, and a long essay.

You will have all of Module 8 to complete the quiz.

Course Group Projects (50% of Final Grade Calculation; Group Assignment 1 = 20%, Group Assignment 2 = 30%)

Two course group projects will be assigned during the course. The next-to-the-last week will be devoted to groups providing power-point presentations of Group Project II findings through Zoom.  This presentation is worth a total of 10 points/percentage toward the final grade. Note: Group Project I does not have a required PowerPoint presentation.

The two Group course projects are evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Group preparation and participation by all group members (as described in Group Project Descriptions) (Worth a possible 20 points or 20% of each Group Project).

NOTE: a separate possible 10 points (or 10%) will be determined by the quality of the Group Project II PowerPoint presentation in Week 13.

Each Group Project will be graded according to the following weighted elements:

  1. Technical understanding of the course project topic (as related to individual role that the student assumes and described in the Course Project Description) (20%)
  2. Group preparation and participation (as described in Course Project Description) (20%) in addressing all components of each group assignment.
  3. Group technical understanding of the course project topic (as related to the Group roles assumed by the students (20%)

Course Project is graded as follows:

Grading Policy

EP uses a +/- grading system (see “Grading System”, Graduate Programs catalog, p. 10).

Score RangeLetter Grade
100-98= A+
97-94= A
93-90= A−
89-87= B+
86-83= B
82-80= B−
79-77= C+
76-73= C
72-70= C−
69-67= D+
66-63= D
<63= F

Final grades will be determined by the following possible points:




Total Grade Percentage

Weekly Discussions


Preparation and Participation (Average of Weekly Discussions)


Weekly Assignments

Assignments (Average of Assignments)


Group Assignments

Group Assignment: 40%


Oral Report

For Group Assignment 1


Extra Credit

Participation in a minimum of 4 ZOOM Office Hour sessions


Total Points Possible

 Includes extra credit for attending ZOOM office hours.


Course Policies


Assignments are due according to the dates posted in your Canvas course site. You may check these due dates in the Course Calendar or the Assignments in the corresponding modules. I will post grades no later than one week after the assignment due dates.  Each new module/week begins on a Tuesday and ends on a Monday. 

I generally do not concentrate on grade spelling and grammar. However, egregious violations of the rules of the English language will be noted without comment.

Please use your Word editor that enables you to both check grammar and spelling. 

Also, if possible, have a knowledgeable friend read over your assignments and postings and provide a third-party assessment of your writing. The friend should not be a class member.

Consistently poor performance in either spelling or grammar is taken as an indication of poor written communication ability that could lower your grade. 

Again, please review each written product and/or have somebody you know review each deliverable for spelling and grammar.

A grade in the A range or higher indicates achievement of consistent excellence and distinction throughout the course—that is, conspicuous excellence in all aspects of assignments and discussion for every week.

A grade of B indicates work that meets all course requirements on a level appropriate for graduate academic work. These criteria apply to both undergraduates and graduate students taking the course.

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.