Transportation Planning provides concepts and tools relevant to transportation policy and planning and in-depth knowledge of the reciprocal relationship between transportation decisions and land development. Students specializing in transportation planning focus on the planning for the movement of goods and people and their relationship to other elements of the urban system. This systems view requires that students understand the motivators for travel and the downstream impacts of travel on other elements of the urban system. As a result, students will learn how physical, social, planning and personal factors affect travel.Transportation at DCRP is flexible, allowing a deep dive into transportation or exploration of connections between transportation and other fields like public health, land use, and real estate.

Transportation at Carolina Planning is flexible, allowing a deep dive into transportation or exploration of connections between transportation and other fields like public health, land use, and real estate. The specialisation provides students with a strong training in skills valued by firms including traffic impact assessment and travel demand modeling.

For more information on the Transportation Planning specialization, contact Dr. Noreen McDonald.

Career Opportunities

Students that have completed the transportation specialization now work in a variety of private and public organizations at the local, regional, state, national and international levels. Students currently work as transportation planners for municipalities and metropolitan planning organizations, transit agencies, specialized consulting firms, foundations, US and state Departments of Transportation, and the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank.

In addition to successful job placement, students routinely garner awards and recognition for their research work at Carolina Planning. Furthermore, to expose students to other transportation practitioners, the Carolina Transportation Program partly funds all transportation students to attend the annual Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington DC in January, where more than 10,000 professionals and researchers converge to discuss how practice and research can address today’s pressing transportation problems.


The following courses are required for students in the specialization. Requirements are determined by year of matriculation.

Law Requirement

Students are required to take one law class with the approval of the advisor. Recommended LAW courses include LAW 213-Law of Nonprofit Organizations, LAW 239-Natural Resources Law, LAW 241-Environmental Law, LAW 254-Labor Law, LAW 255-Housing & Community Development Law, LAW 262-Environmental Ocean & Coastal Law, LAW 270-Real Estate Transactions (2 cr), LAW 290-Land Use Controls, MBA 853B-Real Estate Law**(1.5 cr). Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment offers ENVIRON 775-Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy, ENVIRON 868-Natural Resources Law, and ENVIRON 855-International Environmental Law. A variety of other UNC law and Nicholas School for the Environment courses may be used to satisfy this requirement. Students should consult with instructors to ensure that they can enroll in specific courses and meet prerequisites.




Semester 1

  • 710 Microeconomics
  • 714 Urban Spatial Structure
  • 720 Planning Methods
  • 636 Urban Transportation Planning

Semester 2

  • 704 Theory of Planning
  • 738 Transportation Policy and Planning
  • 638 Pedestrian and Bike Transportation
  • 745 Development Impact Assessment
  • Elective

Semester 3

  • Law
  • Workshop
  • 741 Land Use & Environmental Planning
  • Elective

Semester 4

  • Master’s Project
  • 739 Transportation Planning Models
  • Elective
  • Elective
Courses with an asterisk are required for this specialization