BA Geography with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Transport Geographies

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG20541
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The key modes of transportation chosen for consideration in this course are waterborne shipping, passenger railways, aeroplanes and private automobiles (there is limited coverage of buses, bikes or pedestrianism). The course will involve examination of the permanent way of the canals, the railways tracks, the tarmac road surface, runways and the invisible air routes. The focus will be on personal mobility, the mass of passengers, the means of moving human bodies. It will look critically at the spatial and social form of many key sites of transportation including: docks, airport terminals and train stations. The course will make extensive use Manchester and the wider region as a ‘living laboratory’ to explore the histories of these key modes of transportation, and their major sites and iconic facilities.


  • To build an empirical understanding of the infrastructures that are necessary to support key modes of transportation;
  • To think about the relations between large-scale transportation systems and the structure of urban space, within the context of cultural change, political power, economics and everyday social practices;
  • To discuss the relevance of historical approaches to study the ways cities have evolved since the industrial revolution through transport developments, exploiting Manchester as the primary case study.

Teaching and learning methods

Transport Geographies will be taught over twelve weeks via a structured sequence of two-hour lectures and weekly series of one-hour seminars. The lecture sessions will be themed and include a variety of topics and case studies, illustrated with a range of media, supported by many key readings on Blackboard. Sessions will draw upon academic research and a range of reliable information resources, including maps, documentary videos, and statistical data from official documents. The seminars will provide space for student-led presentations and discussion around prescribed topics. A significant level of participation will be expected from all students throughout the course.




Knowledge and understanding

  • Critical thinking, reflection and self-awareness of our own dependence on infrastructure;
  • Improved information handling skills, online researching and the synthesis of different kinds of evidence from a range of secondary sources;

Intellectual skills

  • An ability to develop and articulate logical written and oral arguments;

Practical skills

  • Capacity and confidence to structure and present ideas in a professionally formatted report;

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Personal responsibility for organising research tasks and self-directed learning.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 67%
Written assignment (inc essay) 33%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:

  • extensive verbal feedback through Q&A, discussion and activities within lectures and seminars;
  • feedback on any course unit issue through face-to-face meeting in consultation hours and via email;
  • detailed written feedback on the coursework assignment.

Recommended reading

  • Rodrigue J-P, with Comtois C, Slack B, 2016, The Geography of Transport Systems, Fourtt Edition (Routledge, London); see also
  • Knowles R, Shaw J, Docherty I (eds.), 2008, Transport Geographies: Mobilities, Flows and Spaces (Blackwell Publishing, Oxford)
  • Bowen J, 2010, The Economic Geography of Air Transportation: Space, Time, and the Freedom of the Sky (Routledge, London)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Martin Dodge Unit coordinator

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