Programs by Country: Netherlands + Dialogue of Civilizations

NETHERLANDS: Sustainable Urban Transportation *Closed*

Dialogue of Civilizations | Delft, Netherlands

Faculty Leader: Prof. Peter Furth (

Study Abroad Coordinator: Colleen Boyle (

Information Session: November 12, 2013, 5:15 pm, 158 RY

Term: Summer II


  • CIVE 4566 Design for Sustainable Urban Transportation: European and U.S. Perspectives
  • INTL 4944 Dialogue of Civilizations - Regional Engagement


While the Netherlands is as affluent a country as the US, the Dutch drive cars half as much as we Americans do, ride trains 10 times as much, and ride bikes 40 times as much as Americans. They also have the world’s best traffic safety record, killing only 1/3 as many people (per capita) as we do on US roads. Dutch bicycling infrastructure makes it safe for everyone – children and elderly as well – to ride bikes anywhere, and is a major reason that more than 25% of trip nationwide, and more than 40% in cities like Delft and Amsterdam, are made by bike. The goal of this course is learn Dutch principles for planning cities and designing bikeways, roads, and transit networks that make ABC (all-but-car) transportation so attractive.


Students will stay at a hostel in the center of historic Delft, hold classes at Delft University, and will ride bicycles daily for commuting and for field trips. About 1/3 of the time will be spent in classrooms, 1/3 on field trips, and 1/3 working on projects. Lecture speakers include experts and local officials responsible for urban planning, bikeway design, and transit planning. Field trips, almost all done by bicycle, are visits to cities to see good examples of urban planning, bicycling infrastructure, and high quality transit, often including meetings with city officials. Field trips to more distant cities (e.g., Amsterdam, Rotterdam)  involve train travel as well. Students do two kinds of projects. One kind is documenting Dutch practices and examples, contributing to a web site intended to introduce an American audience to new ideas about sustainable transportation planning. The other kind is design projects in which students apply Dutch principles and practices to redesigning a Boston-area street or area. To see projects completed in 2011 and 2012, see