Master's in Transportation Systems and Design Course Descriptions

Classes

Credits

Customer Centered Research 1

1

If we see our role as transportation designers to be designing a better world for humanity, then we had better know very well who we are designing for! This course will take the form of workshops, which teach students robust methodologies for researching for the information required and then gaining the best insights from their research data. In turn this will significantly inform the final project brief and ensure appropriate solutions. In addition to these workshops, the faculty member will also provide support for the concurrent studio projects during the term to apply the workshop learnings appropriately.

Course number: TRAN-503A
Prerequisite: n/a

Customer Centered Research 2

2

Following on from TRAN-503A in the first term, students will develop further skills in conducting research relevant to their studio projects. Again, their faculty will also be available to help them apply their enhanced research skills and techniques to their specific term projects (TRAN-554 and TRAN-531) to ensure great insights.

Course number: TRAN-553A
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-503A, Customer Centered Research 1

Design Leadership & Team Bldg

1

Students will be required to work in teams for certain parts of, and maybe complete studio design projects. This reflects the reality of professional life as a designer. It also enables the final outcomes of projects to have much greater significance, value and complexity. It also leverages the different strengths and backgrounds that each of our students brings to the program. As a student in our program, we are preparing you to also be natural leaders in your professional life - both as thought leaders and to enable you to seize opportunities that you spot, which benefit the projects, the departments or the enterprises that you will be working with. That said, working in teams or taking the lead can be challenging and not comfortable for many aspiring designers. While our faculty, experienced team-players and leaders, will always help students throughout their studio project work, this course will take the form of three workshops over the term where specific experts will help students learn foundational skills in creative leadership and teamwork.

Course number: TRAN-506
Prerequisite: n/a

Design Strategy Sprint 1

1

Throughout the program, students are encouraged to regard their future, thought-leadership roles as applicable beyond traditional "design projects". The design methodologies they will be shown can be equally applied to creative strategies for business models and board-room issues. This course will be the first, short, spontaneous creative exercise where students are asked to consider a "hot topic" issue emerging somewhere across the transportation landscape. Taking on the role of competing consultant teams the students will be required to become conversant with the surrounding issues and recommend to the senior management of the appropriate enterprise or agency, smart and creative strategies for mitigating the issue. The topic will be deliberately chosen to familiarize students with the workings of a part of the transportation world that they may not be familiar with and yet is an important part of global business.

Course number: TRAN-517
Prerequisite: n/a

Design Strategy Sprint 2

1

A continuation of TRAN-517 (M2) Design Strategy Sprint #1, students will be thrown another topical issue to which they will develop recommendations for strategic solutions. The topic will be quite different to the first Design Strategy Sprint.

Course number: TRAN-567
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-517, Design Strategy Sprint 1

Digital Design Skills Part 1

2

While visually communicating via pen and paper is still extremely valid, designers have access to many different digital tools with which to sketch, render, visualize, design and present. Again, we expect our incoming students with diverse backgrounds to join the program with disparate skills (and sometimes no familiarity) with the digital tools that designers prefer. As they develop successive studio projects, this course will familiarize students with the software appropriate to their specific work. As a department we keep a close eye on emerging digital tools and when appropriate, introduce them too.

Course number: TRAN-505A
Prerequisite: n/a

Digital Design Skills Part 2

2

Continuing with their progress during TRAN-505A (M1) Digital Design Skills Part 1, students will develop further ease with the digital skills that are appropriate for their project work. When a particular studio project calls for a specific, perhaps emerging, digital platform, specific workshops may be added to the curriculum.

Course number: TRAN-555A
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-505A, Digital Design Skills Part 1

Digital Workshops

0

If and as required, evening or weekend, 0-Unit workshops may be provided in a timely way when students clearly need some deeper training in software tools to really enhance the outcomes of their studio projects.

Course number: TRAN-560
Prerequisite: n/a

Graduation Strategy

1

Ideally students should be beginning to orient themselves to the program and perhaps be assessing/reassessing where they see their career paths starting upon graduation. This course will help students build a picture of how to position and ready themselves for their desired transition into professional life. They will be advised on how to consider desirable Thesis Project topics that can provide a logical stepping-stone into their desired career opportunities. Linked to this their faculty will help them to consider the kinds of internships that can be an additional stepping-stone and perhaps dove-tail with their Thesis Project.

Course number: TRAN-646A
Prerequisite: n/a

Intro to Future-Casting & UX

2

If we are truly designing transportation to support the best human and environmental conditions for the future, then there are two key additional areas of knowledge that tomorrow's transportation design thought-leaders need: 1. The understanding of timescale for projects we work on and therefore how to minimize the risk of solutions-failure by trying to determine the likely characteristics of the future environment that we are designing for. 2. The understanding of what we mean by User Experience and Interaction Design. This course will explain to students, techniques for creating plausible future scenarios relevant to their work. In addition, the course will introduce students to important and specialized approaches to designing for experience and relationships between human beings and the devices and systems that they will participate in. This course will be seven weeks long and will be directly relevant to future design studio projects.

Course number: TRAN-507
Prerequisite: n/a

IxD for Mobility

3

Building upon the course TRAN-507 (M1) Introduction to Future-casting and UX for Mobility, students will now engage in a one-term project that focuses on a specific aspect of their TRAN-554 Studio project. Students will explore design interactions/user experiences based on probable or plausible technologies and demonstrate their ideas using low fidelity prototypes.

Course number: TRAN-530A
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-507, Intro to Future-Casting & User Experience for Mobility

IxD for Mobility Systems

3

Following on from the TRAN-530A (M2) Interaction Design for Mobility course, for this term, students will be required to develop an interaction or user-experience solution to a much deeper level of execution. This should include a higher-fidelity, demonstrable working prototype from which meaningful feedback and validation can be given.

Course number: TRAN-531
Prerequisite: n/a

Research Support

1

Not a specific course but a series of timely interventions by their faculty, students will be supported in their research for both TRAN-620 Transportation Systems Studio Part 3 and TRAN-531 (M3) Interaction Design for Mobility Systems. As the nature of the research for both these studios might be more nuanced, students and their results will benefit from this support.

Course number: TRAN-575
Prerequisite: n/a

Storytelling Advanced

2

Building upon TRAN-508 (M1) Storytelling Fundamentals, students will continue to develop their abilities to present information, creative ideas and design solutions clearly, succinctly and memorably. By the end of this term, students should feel confident in their ability to do this and through their own initiatives, develop their individual presentation "style".

Course number: TRAN-558
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-508, Storytelling Fundamentals

Storytelling Fundamentals

2

The ability of designers to convincingly present their solutions to wide-ranging audiences is as important as the solutions themselves. The art of storytelling is therefore a fundamental basis of our curriculum. By storytelling, we mean visual narratives - a blend of well-chosen visuals and logical verbal or written explanations that are meaningful and efficiently informative to various stakeholders. These audiences might not be designers or even transportation experts, but they will often be very influential in the decision-making processes required to further the project. This is true whether it is convincing faculty to accept the validity of your work or whether it is to persuade an investor to fund your innovation. Because we welcome design students into the program with a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, we recognize that our first-term students can have a wide variation of sketching and drawing skills. Therefore, the instructors of this course are ready to work with all skill levels to ensure that each student gains confidence in and improves their visual communication abilities as a prelude to producing compelling presentations - the latter a standard department method of reviewing students' project work.

Course number: TRAN-508
Prerequisite: n/a

Systems Thinking

1

As a department, we are very clear that we view transportation at the level of systems. Systems require a more complex level of thinking than objects or products. "Systems Thinking" can mean many different things to different disciplines. This series of workshops with systems experts will help students understand different aspects of working with systems that are appropriate to transportation designers.

Course number: TRAN-509
Prerequisite: n/a

Thesis Continuation

0

Thesis continuation is the vehicle by which students who have completed all their required curricular courses have access to program faculty for guidance towards finalizing their Thesis Report. The submission of a final Thesis Report, which has been reviewed by the department head and the Thesis Faculty Panel and deemed satisfactory according to the department guidelines, is a requirement for the granting of the Master of Science Degree.

Course number: TRAN-699
Prerequisite: n/a

Thesis Development Studio

6

As a Master of Science program, great importance is placed on a student's Thesis Project. In our department we make a clear distinction about the two components of the required Thesis: 1. The Thesis Project: The response to the Thesis "question" through research and the systematic development of an idea or concept 2. The Thesis Report: The scholarly documentation of the Thesis Project process to include a full archive of references, research, methodologies, discussions, prototypes, validation processes and retrospective reflections The Thesis Project (idea) will be graded as part of the curricular requirements of the program. The Thesis Report must be approved by the Thesis Advisors and the department head within five years of the start date of enrollment in the program, at which point the degree diploma will be posted and bestowed. So, completing all the curricular requirements does not trigger the degree to be awarded. Approval of the Thesis Report is what qualifies a student to be awarded their degree. In TRAN-601, Thesis Preparation, students are guided towards determining a Thesis topic of their choice and then to a specific Thesis question to which the Thesis Project will respond. Having clarity about what the Thesis Project will address, as well as a detailed plan for executing the research and concept development, will be a pre-requisite for commencing with TRAN-611 Thesis Development. It is expected that Thesis Development will be the focus of students' activity during the term, hence the 6 Units of Credit assigned to the course - the remaining 6 Units being electives. Students will be assigned appropriate Thesis Advisors as their primary mentors, with whom they will have regular, weekly meetings to review progress and get feedback. Students will be encouraged to engage with other faculty members, from within or other departments and expected to identify external subject experts who can also offer insights and advice. Primarily, during this term, students will be expected to execute their major research, explore ideas that are informed by the research and develop appropriate prototypes (physical, digital, procedural) that can help prove their Thesis Concept. At the end of the term's Thesis work, Thesis Advisors will determine whether a student has progressed their Thesis Project sufficiently to enable them to complete their Thesis Project in the following term. If not, students will be required to make good on missing progress before enrolling in TRAN-612, the final phase of their Thesis Validation.

Course number: TRAN-611
Prerequisite: n/a

Thesis Project Preparation

3

Following on from TRAN-646A (M3) Graduation Strategy, students will be taken through a robust process to choose a topic for their Thesis Project that fits with their strategy to fulfill their professional aspirations. Having chosen their topic, students will escorted through a very thorough process of literature review and insight aggregation that will help the student identify a "thesis-worthy" opportunity from which to develop an original body of work. Using sophisticated protocols, students will further frame up their Thesis Project titles and then build a plan for how they will conduct and complete their Thesis Project in ensuing terms. By the end of the fourth term, students will have completed enough research to be able to begin executing their Thesis Project at the beginning of their next term. Demonstrating this readiness will be a pre-requisite for starting on their Theis Development in the 5th Semester.

Course number: TRAN-602
Prerequisite: n/a

Thesis Validation Studio

6

This will be the final stage of the Thesis Project. To successfully complete this Studio course, students will be expected to demonstrably validate their Thesis Project through user-testing, external, expert feedback and a highly professional summary presentation of their project. Students will continue to work with their Thesis Advisors, meeting with them on a weekly basis.

Course number: TRAN-612
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-611, Thesis Development Studio

Thesis Writing Studio

3

As noted, the conceptual development of an idea that responds to the Thesis question is one key component of our Master of Science Degree. The other key element is the Thesis Report, which must be finally approved by the Thesis Advisors and the department before the degree is released. Our department attaches great importance to the scholarly content of the Thesis Report. While it is not always appreciated by our students at the time, we believe in the longer term, the quality of the Thesis Report reflects the great professionalism of each of our students as they transition into the professional world. In turn this therefore adds to the reputation and influence of our department, which benefits past, present and future students of the program. In an ideal world, students would hand in a completed and satisfactory Thesis Report at the same time as completing the Thesis Project. In reality, this is rarely achieved. There is a typical lag in getting necessary expert feedback and some time is required for thoughtful reflections on the overall Thesis. Therefore, this Thesis Writing Studio is designed to provide support to each student to ensure that as they approach the conclusion of their Thesis Project, they are taking care to develop their Thesis Report in parallel and have a plan to complete it in a timely manner.

Course number: TRAN-642
Prerequisite: n/a

Tran Histories & Futures 1

3

This important three-term course will fulfill several crucial learning outcomes necessary for students' successful development throughout the program and then as incisive practitioners. First, this course will expose students to a history of transportation over the ages (particularly but not exclusively) from the beginning of the industrial revolution. Through critical analysis of important and seminal literature, students will become familiar with and opiniated on the mutual intersections between transportation, society, industry, politics, economics, technology and our environment. Having a clear grasp of transportation's role or response to all the above, will help students to extrapolate into the future, which is our professional endpoint. Second, through the process of reading, writing and discussing these histories and futures, students will build self-confidence in their critical analysis capabilities, and consequentially develop their persuasive writing skills. The latter will be essential for the successful completion of Thesis Reports. Third, the course will build upon students' understanding of the human condition in the built environment by exploring the intersections found there within: ethnographies, equities, patterns, cultures, communities, policies, histories, visions and more. Students will conduct field trips with their faculty to witness and experience some of the syllabus' topics.

Course number: TRAN-511A
Prerequisite: n/a

Tran Histories & Futures 2

3

This course will be a continuation of the first term TRAN-511A syllabus to include preparation for their next terms' work. Students will conduct field trips with their faculty to witness and experience some of the syllabus' topics.

Course number: TRAN-512A
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-511A, Transportation Histories & Futures 1

Tran Histories & Futures 3

3

The final part of this series of courses, students will work with their faculty to discuss and explore the deeper human-centric, societal, political and environmental issues that their studio projects will be provoking. Although the course will continue to expand students' knowledge and opinions it will also reassure them as they develop innovative outcomes for their studio projects.

Course number: TRAN-513A
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-512A, Tranportation Histories & Futures 3

Transportation Sys Studio 1

3

Designing solutions through professional-level studio practice is the core of the program. Each semester, the Transportation Systems Design Studios will successively build competencies and complexities. Our department goal is to graduate "systems-thinking" designers as opposed to designers of products. Fundamentally, we are concerned with understanding the human condition in the built environment so that we can better determine the kinds of transportation systems that are needed to support equity, environmental restoration, quality of life, thriving communities and healthy enterprise. This principal is arrived at by understanding that designing products is a subsidiary function of understanding service designing, which is a subsidiary function of understanding experience designing. While we might design products or vehicles in the program this will only be as a function of a larger system, service and environment. Therefore, TRAN-520 will start this process of understanding the scope and trajectory of the overall studio experience through the first four semesters as well as best design practices.

Course number: TRAN-520
Prerequisite: n/a

Transportation Sys Studio 2

2

This course will continue the arc of TRAN-504 (M1) Transportation Systems Studio Part 1 with a project brief or more, which continues students' understanding of designing around the human condition in our built environments and at a systems level. The project brief(s) will also relate to TRAN-531 (M2) Interaction Design for Mobility.

Course number: TRAN-570
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-520, Transportations Systems Studio Phase 1

Transportation Sys Studio 3

3

Building upon the first two terms' studio projects, this course will be the start of a two-term long project. For this term's course, students will be required to research, explore, ideate and present concepts for innovative, human-centric, solutions to transportation challenges in the built environment, which are also restorative to our planet. As the project develops through the term, students will be also mindful of the digital tools that they are becoming familiar with - both to use as part of their design development process and ultimately for presenting their final results.

Course number: TRAN-620
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-570, Transportation System Studio 2

Transportation Sys Studio 4

6

For this course, students will continue their work from the previous term's TRAN-620 Transportation Systems Studio Phase 3. They will develop and then refine a concept that they presented at the end of the 3rd term based on faculty and external feedback. The final presentation should demonstrate mastery of the design processes and storytelling opportunities that they have been exposed to with a highly professional presentation that using appropriate tools will give the audience an immersive experience.

Course number: TRAN-670
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-620, Transportation System Studio 3

Urban Form & Sys Des Studio 2

3

This course is the second part of a two-semester studio class in which students will be required to develop and refine the research-based solutions developed in the first part of the course towards a thoroughly considered final outcome. The iterative prototyping developed earlier, will inform a more sophisticated prototype/demonstration model that will easily convey the efficacy of the solution to a professional, outside audience.

Course number: TRAN-582
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-581, Strat Proto & Sys Des Studio 1

Urban Form & Sys Des Studio 2

6

This course is the second part of a two-semester studio class in which students will be required to develop and refine the research-based solutions developed in the first part of the course towards a thoroughly considered final outcome. The iterative prototyping developed earlier, will inform a more sophisticated prototype/demonstration model that will easily convey the efficacy of the solution to a professional, outside audience.

Course number: TRAN-583
Prerequisite: Take TRAN-581, Strat Proto & Sys Des Studio 1

Vehicle & Systems Architecture

1

As students become more comfortable with the concept of designing at a systems level, they will come to realize that vehicles and mobility devices are also systems. It will therefore be timely to reflect on the architecture of vehicles and the larger operating systems that they operate within. A series of workshops will bring in experts to talk about this and with reference to the project briefs of the TRAN-554 and TRAN-531 studio classes.

Course number: TRAN-502
Prerequisite: n/a