Course syllabus


Course in the Master Programs:

Sustainable Energy Systems, Supply Chain Management, Infrastructure & Environmental Engineering

7.5 Higher Education Credit Units

Autumn term 2021


Examiner:  Violeta Roso (                           

Content leader: Lokesh Kalahasthi (

Leader for propulsion technologies module: Anders Nordelöf (

Course Assistant: Juan Pablo Castrellon (                                   


Course Overview

Course objective and content

Alternative propulsion technologies are a necessity if a sustainable transport sector is to be achieved, however, they cannot be the sole answer for resolving the sustainability problems of the transport sector. Though innovative propulsion technologies have reduced the emissions per kilometre driven, these improvements are not enough to offset rising traffic volumes. Achieving any significant absolute emission reductions would require immense amounts of alternative propulsion technologies, which is likely to have significant negative side effects and challenges, e.g. competition to food production, resource availability and land-use impacts. Furthermore, cleaner vehicles and fuels cannot mitigate the increasing traffic levels resulting in growing congestion, noise, accidents and land take from infrastructure.

This course discusses technological measures and political initiatives to reduce the unsustainable impacts of the transport sector. The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of the character and scale of the problem and the challenges of potential solutions.

The course takes a holistic perspective on the transport system including passenger and freight transport as well as developed and developing countries. The lectures in the course include:

  • Unsustainable impacts of different transport modes, e.g. passenger cars, trucks, rail, sea and air transport
  • Alternative propulsion technologies, e.g. biofuels, hybrid and electric vehicles, hydrogen and fuel cells, etc.
  • Innovative mobility services and transport policy initiatives, e.g. congestion charges, regulations, etc.

Learning outcome

After completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Explain the unsustainable impacts of today’s transport sector
  • Analyse and compare the potentials and challenges of technological, organisational and policy solutions
  • Critically judge solutions and propose a plan towards sustainable transportation

Course organisation

The course has four main components: Background lectures, literature seminars, expert lectures and a case study. The background lectures give a basic understanding of the topics covered in the course. The literature seminars consist of students’ presentations of contemporary topics on transport technology and policy. They are used to extend the course content to cover recent development in the transport sector and to stimulate debate. The expert lectures by specialists from industry/policy/research institutes/etc. provide insights on a specific issue. The case study is a group assignment and is used to apply the developed knowledge on a practical example.


A collection of journal articles and extracts from various publications. The literature is grouped into 2 categories: 1. The basic literature covers the basic elements of the topics covered in this course (see Literature List in the schedule). 2. The recommended literature provides further issues and details of the topics covered in the course (see literature list for the literature seminars and in the lecture slides). The scientific articles are available as e‐papers on the Chalmers library or are issued in paper form. Public documents can be downloaded from the Internet or are available on the course homepage for download.


In order to better integrate the lectures with the examination and to increase student-student interaction, this course has continuous examination based on hand-ins (to be written during the reading period) of regular home examination reports and case study tasks (approximately 1 hand-in every week). The examination reports (60 points),the case study (35 points)and the literature seminar presentation (5 points) will contribute to final course marks (100 points). All parts are required to pass in order to pass the whole course.

Attendance at one literature seminar (where you present and oppose another group) and at 70% of the lectures (minimum 18 out of the 26 guest lectures) is compulsory. If you cannot attend the literature seminar for medical reasons, contact the examiner to find a solution.

The final course score results in the following grades:

  • 0 – 39 points: not passed
  • 40-59 points: Grade 3
  • 60-79 points: Grade 4
  • 80-100 points: Grade 5

Three written home examination reports (3 x 23 points)

The examination in this course is organized in the form of three home examination reports, which are to be written during the reading period. The reports deal with the basic theories and concepts covered in the course. The home examination reports are designed as teamwork of 2 students. The purpose of this approach is to better integrate the lectures with the examination and to increase student-student interaction and thus to improve the learning outcome for the students. See document “Examination reports” for details.

Literature Seminars (5 points)

The course includes literature seminars on contemporary topics on transport technology and policy. They are used to extend the course content to cover recent development in the transport sector and to stimulate debate. The literature review is a group work of 4 students. In order to pass the course each student has to (1) review the literature on a specific contemporary topic and present the results at one of the seminars; and (2) prepare four questions for discussion with the group you are opposing. See document “Literature seminar” for details.

Case study (26 points)

The case study is a group work of 4-5 students in each group. It deals with the analysis of urban logistics operations in an area in Gothenburg. In the first step, you use traffic data (the data will be handed to you instead of being collected because of the pandemic) to assess the sustainability performance of the urban logistics operations as it was in 2013 and as it is in 2019; in the second step you use simulated data to assess hypothetical scenarios; and in the third step, you compare use the previous results to assess certain policies and make observations and recommendations. See document “Case Study” for details (available on course homepage 21st of September).



Course summary:

Date Details Due