The influence of transport on modern society is phenomenal. Not only does it make possible extensive use of resources and labour in economically efficient processes, but it also sustains life in urban centres, moving people and goods daily over distances that would once have been considered impossible. However, there are also negative influences. Air pollution and solid waste disposal are both consequences that emerge as real problems. Changes in development patterns are also, at least in part, a consequence of improved transport, as evidenced by urban sprawl or rapid economic growth following a change in transport, although the relationship between transport and development is only now being researched and understood. The same consequence, however, can be seen as positive or negative by different individuals in different situations.
Methods are rapidly emerging that will help predict the level of influence of changes to the system and the impact on the natural environment and various interest groups. Once available, public policy and planning issues can be discussed and debated more intelligently. Alternatives can be proposed, and negative influences avoided. As in other areas of activity, research can yield positive results. New knowledge about the transport system can be of great benefit to mankind.
The aim of the school is to advance the understanding of transport and related processes in our society. This requires empirical observation of real-world phenomena, followed by the formulation of hypotheses and the testing of explanatory theories. Since the processes we are dealing with are often stochastic in nature, our models must be structured accordingly, and the emphasis will therefore be on using these models as forecasting tools in a decision-making environment. Methods to measure uncertainty and strategies to deal with it must be incorporated, as the focus will be on useful approaches to process management. The school will address topical issues in the field as they arise, from the development of frameworks for analysis to issues of interest to a specific modality or sub- discipline. Conferences of interested researchers and students will be organised through an open call. The duration of the course varies depending on the subject matter and may range from a few days to a few weeks.