Degree course: 
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Seat of the course: 
Varese - Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (40 hours), Exercise (10 hours)

Good knowledge of microeconomics fundamentals.

Final Examination: 

The final evaluation is composed by two elements: a) written examination (duration: 1 hour) that is structured in five short open questions; b) in-class presentation and report on the Lab sessions. The final grade will be given by the arithmetic mean of (a) the written exam mark (60%) and (b) the student work (40%).
The mark on the text will be mainly based on the accuracy and completeness of the information, the degree of depth of the subject, the use of a precise language and the critical ability to connect and elaborate the acquired knowledge. The grade on the Lab-based student works will be mainly based on the ability to present, discuss and report the main features of the diffusion of specific transport innovations.

Voto Finale

Learning objectives

The course will provide students with a solid grounding in the economics of the transportation sector, covering the key principles governing transportation planning, investment and regulation and understanding how innovation affects transport and mobility.
Main course objectives:
- Understanding of the importance of transport for the economic development and of the relevance of innovation for mobility issues
- Understanding of special issues related to transport industries
- Provide theoretical and methodological basis to understand issues related to mobility in the globalization process and to firm innovation strategies in transport and logistics planning.
- Apply economic knowledge to specific transport and mobility problem;
- learn how to give value to non-market goods in transport
The skills acquired will train the students to become applied analysts in public or private institutions and organizations.

Expected learning outcomes
Students should obtain basic skills in the analysis of travel demand and supply and of transportation system benefits. Students should also be able to apply the acquired knowledge and the tools for critically analysing the dynamics and technological innovations affecting the market for transportation infrastructure and services and, consequently, the other industries. They will be able to make an oral presentation and write an essay on a specific issue.

Topics of lectures and seminars
1. Introduction to transport economics (3 h)
2. The consumer utility and preference estimation in transport (3h)
3. The demand for transport (3 h)
4. The transport industry and direct costs (3 h)
5. Innovation in transport (6 h)
6. Transport externalities, traffic congestion and sustainable development (6 h)
7. Policies and measures for sustainable transport (6 h)
8. Pricing of transport services (3 h)
9. Transport infrastructure and economic development (4 h)
10. The public intervention in transport markets (3 h)

Lab sessions on the innovation diffusion in the transportation sector (10 h): conceptual view of the innovation diffusion theory and practical sessions on specific innovations in transport and mobility.

Note: Variations to the duration of each topic may be expected

Details on the topics
1. Introduction to transport economics: basic definitions, growing importance of the role of transport for the economic development and globalisation and the main specific features of transport economics
2. The consumer utility and preference estimation in transport: the importance of time and other variables, methods of preferences’ estimation (focusing on Stated Preference approach)
3. The demand for transport: the passenger and freight transport demand function, the notion of generalised transport cost index, the determinants of the demand for transport services (price, trip purpose, income levels, etc.), transport demand elasticities
4. The transport supply and direct costs: transport industry organisation, application of the firm economic theory to transport services’ production, fixed and variables costs, economics of scale, scope and density, etc.
5. Innovation in transport markets: definition of innovation, technological changes in transport, influence of firm size and market structure on innovation, drivers, barriers and policies for stimulating innovation
6. Transport externalities and sustainable development: the externalities of transport, the economic cost of congestion, the sustainable development approach (SDA) and 17 UN goals policies, models for SDA
7. Policies and measures for transport sustainability: aim, classification and different types of measures (e.g.: economic and market-based, command and control, investment, other “soft” measures)
8. Pricing of transport services: different types and forms of pricing determination (marginal cost pricing, price differentiation and discrimination, the peak problem, etc.)
9. Transport infrastructure and economic development: the importance of infrastructure, the contribution of private and public transport investments to the economic development
10. The public intervention in transport markets: determinants and prevalent market structures, theory of market regulation applied to transport industries

Lab on Innovation Diffusion in Transportation

Main book: Button K., Transport Economics, 3rd edition, Edward Elgar, 2010 (see the details of chapters on e-learning).
Other useful books:
Quinet E., Vickerman R., Principles of Transport Economics, Edward Elgar, 2004
Button K., Vega H., Nijkamp P., A Dictionary of Transport Analysis, Edward Elgar, 2010.

The reading material, the slides and other teaching material will be available on the web learning platform (


In-class lectures, seminars hold by external teachers and Lab on innovation diffusion in transportation.
One or two seminars will deal with specific issues, aiming at presenting some examples of application of the theoretical concepts.
The Lab will be aimed at training the students in the understanding of innovation diffusion theory, preparation of presentations on specific transport innovations and delivery of related reports.

Office hours: one hour a week on appointment taken by email