Integrating and making sense of interdisciplinary information from various sources is a major objective of this course. Synthesis sessions are designed to allow interaction with your peers in a small group setting to discuss the implications and linkages of each topic in more detail.Small discussion groups of 4 – 5 students will be formed for each synthesis session. Prior to each session, a handout of Synthesis Session discussion questions (see above) will be made available electronically. In small-group format, each group member will be responsible for answering one of the questions in detail and leading discussion within the group on this topic, integrating the material presented from all sources within the thematic framework of the course. Each group member will be allotted about 30 minutes for discussion and presentation within the first 2.5 hours of class. You will be asked to evaluate your peers on their participation and performance in the small-group discussion sessions.A properly formatted written synthesis report must be submitted electronically on Sakai to all your peers in the course by midnight two days before each synthesis session. Each synthesis report will consist of a concise (maximum 1500 words) response to the question for which you are responsible.Substantiate your response and conclusions with properly formatted, academically credible references from outside sources and from course readings. Aim for a minimum of 10 references, at least half of which should be from peer-reviewed academic journals or similar credible academic sources.Prior to the synthesis session, prepare four brief questions for your peers, one for each of the other topics that you do not report on yourself. These questions do not have to be submitted with your synthesis report. You will prepare them to ensure that there will be plenty of relevant discussion in your group during the question periods, and to evaluate the way in which your peers respond.
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TOUR / GEOG 3P34: Sustainable Transportation
Synthesis Session II
Tuesday April 2nd – in class
Synthesis report must be submitted in the
TOUR / GEOG 3P34 “RESOURCES” WEEK 13 SYNTHESIS 2 REPORT FOLDER (not DropBox!!)
by 11:59 pm on Sunday March 31st
Online peer review forms must be completed by 11:59 pm on Tuesday April 9th at
The following questions are provided to allow you to integrate and synthesize the information you have been exposed to over
the past several weeks. In all cases, you are expected to: a) refer specifically to pertinent readings, media, and lecture
material; b) integrate the relevant perspectives of all lectures / course materials in your response, c) research additional
material to substantiate your answers (don’t forget the reading list!), and d) be concise. Please don’t simply regurgitate or
summarize the contents of course readings or presentations. Your job is to synthesize a cogent response that goes beyond the
resources of this course, and which considers sustainability dimensions and real-world policy implications of your ideas.
1. Two contrasting future scenarios are presented
regarding the use and availability of fossil fuels in
the video The End of Suburbia and the Bloomberg
video clip The Peak Oil Myth and the Rise of the
Electric Car. Compare and contrast the main salient
points of both. Are they mutually exclusive visions of
the future, or is there some common ground that
these two scenarios share? How do recent
developments regarding fracking, reduced concerns
about peak oil, and techno-optimistic scenarios
about the adoption of electric cars affect these
scenarios – in either direction?
Read Covert et al. (2016): Will We Ever Stop Using
Fossil Fuels? (on Sakai) for background and context.
Based upon this article, your own critical reflection,
and other outside reference sources, which of these
two scenarios seems more realistic and credible, and
in which ways? Elaborate, and then extrapolate
about the potential future effects on lifestyles and
quality of life in North America and elsewhere in the
short, medium, and long terms. Use specific
examples to illustrate, and propose appropriate
policy responses to deal with the impending changes
300 Years of FOSSIL FUELS in 300 Seconds
2. Multipurpose trails and greenways
represent a different way of thinking
about – and facilitating – non-automotive
transportation in our suburban and urban
communities. Trails and greenways are
arguably more versatile and appropriate
than the conventional sidewalks, curbs
and gutters that have become the norm
in our towns and cities. Retrofitting
conventional streetscapes with so-called
‘sustainable streetscape’ or ‘complete
street’ designs is gaining in popularity,
Section of Crown Road after redevelopment
Section of Crown Road before
and though initially more expensive,
many of the indirect benefits are
perceived to make the additional
Additionally,with replication, the construction process and materials selection can be refined to make the process
more affordable for implementation across a greater area. Widespread implementation of sustainable streetscapes
could produce additional cost savings through reduction in stormwater pipe sizes, water treatment costs, and
reparation of stormwater-related environmental damage. A number of Canadian cities have attempted to use
sustainable streetscape designs to combine and integrate traffic calming with greenway development, watershed
management, recreation, and aesthetic improvement. In Vancouver’s Crown Street redevelopment, featureless
asphalt was replaced with integrated pedestrian and cycle pathways, curbside biofilters, and meandering roadbeds
that allow efficient traffic flow while discouraging speeding, at a cost comparable to conventional paving.
The Complete Streets for Canada organization has provided a range of policy resources to promote the process.
Discuss the feasibility of redeveloping suburban and urban roads as ‘sustainable streetscapes’ or ‘complete streets’ to
improve pedestrian and cyclist access, safety, and other attributes related to sustainability. What policy changes
would be required, and at what levels? How could / would / should the process be undertaken? What obstacles would
3. Prof. Chris Fullerton’s presentation on the evolution of the UPass
system and its effects on the St. Catharines Transit system provided a
useful case study of how market segmentation is important to growing
transit ridership. Student support of transit through the UPass program
has been integral to the growth of the city’s transit infrastructure, but is
not without controversy – in the past, car drivers and non-transit users at
Brock petitioned (unsuccessfully) to opt out of the program.
a) Discuss the equity dimensions of mandatory transit support programs
like the UPass program. Should drivers and other non-transit-users indeed
be permitted to opt out? If so, what mechanisms could you propose which
would ensure that access to transportation remained equitable, and to
ensure that the transit system could continue to maintain or exceed its
current level of service?
b) At the other end of the spectrum, some jurisdictions (e.g., Estonia
and Luxembourg) have introduced free public transit for everyone,
funded by public dollars. Other jurisdictions have considered the idea,
but have stopped short of actual implementation. Review the pros and
cons of this policy initiative, then answer the question, “Is free public
transit a feasible or desirable option for St. Catharines? Why or why
not?” (Note: For context, St. Catharines has a population of about
115,000, and its Transit Commission had a 2018 annual operating budget
4. Cruise ships merge transportation and accommodation in a unique way, and
the resulting industry is both economically profitable and enormously
controversial from the standpoint of sustainability. Many port cities, coastal
towns, and marine tourism destinations have a strong economic reliance on
cruise ships, yet we are aware that the environmental and social impacts of
cruise tourism are problematic.
Our course readings contain several different portrayals of cruise ships and
their impacts from the academic literature (Johnson 2002, Howitt et al. 2010
– both on Sakai), NGO reports (Friends of the Earth (2009), Conservation
International (2006) and Bluewater Network (2010), watchdog organizations
(Cruise Law News), corporate sustainability reports, economic impact reports
(Cruise Lines International Association 2019), and government reviews (New
Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment 2003, Copeland
2008). Critically revisit these articles and other literature sources and
synthesize your own perspective.
Pay particular attention to the source / authorship of the reports. How
balanced are the portrayals of impacts and benefits of cruise ships? How
realistic and meaningful are the proposed policy responses and programs for
stewardship? Use additional information sources to support your arguments.
5. Airline travel is one of the fastest growing economic sectors contributing to
global warming. It is also arguably essential to both general economic
development and the viability of the modern tourism industry. Based on your
readings and viewings, how should we deal with the problems of the
environmental impacts of aviation?
Review the scenarios presented by Smith and Rodger (2009) (on Sakai), and
comment on their implications.
In Canada, the majority of our citizens share a concern about climate change
and show support for some form of carbon-based pricing (Suzuki Foundation
2018). Should we consider incorporating the cost of carbon offsetting to the
base price of an air ticket? Should we define certain types of air travel as
‘essential’ versus ‘non-essential’, and price it accordingly?
What other realistic mechanisms are available to us to deal with the
increasing burden of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to aircraft travel?
What policy changes would be required, and at what levels? What obstacles
would be encountered? Use additional literature sources to support your
A. YOUR WRITTEN WORK
Your properly formatted Synthesis Report II must be submitted in the TOUR / GEOG 3P34 “RESOURCES” WEEK 13
SYNTHESIS 2 REPORT FOLDER (not DropBox!!) by 11:59 pm on Sunday March 31st.
Each report will consist of a concise (maximum 1500 words) response to the question for which you are
responsible. Substantiate your response and conclusions with properly formatted references from course readings
and from outside sources. Aim for providing at least 10 references, with at least half of these from academic
journals or other credible peer-reviewed sources.
To help everyone find your work, give your synthesis report PDF file a descriptive filename in the following format
when you post it on Sakai:
Note that once your paper is posted on Sakai, it will be visible to everyone in the class. You may wish to time
your submission accordingly.
Your groups and assigned questions are as follows:
Story, Claire Adams
Ubhi, Navpreet Kaur
Visheau, Chloe Elizabeth
Hunt, Ryan Kevin
Leidl, Matthew Samuel
Disperse to different groups
Moder, Cole Michael Paul
Flack, Jessica Lauren
Nicol, Ryan Victor
Ramisa, Mehjabeen Doha
Gomez, Gabriela Stephanie
Disperse to different groups
Disperse to different groups
B. YOUR ORAL WORK IN CLASS
Small discussion groups of 4-5 students will be formed for each synthesis session. Each group member will be responsible
for leading discussion within the group based on one of the questions, integrating the material presented from all sources
within the thematic framework of the course. Each group member will be allotted 20 minutes for presentation and 10
minutes for group discussion, for a total of 30 minutes per question in small-group format. The balance of the last hour of
class on synthesis weeks will consist of a plenary discussion of the questions.
For groups with fewer than 5 members, please distribute yourselves AS EVENLY AS POSSIBLE amongst the other
groups as directed above to discuss those questions where you have no group representative. Re-convene in your
original group for the remaining questions.
C. SUBMITTING YOUR PEER EVALUATIONS AFTER THE SYNTHESIS SESSION (Online Peer Evaluation Survey tool)
Online peer review forms must be completed by 11:59 pm on Tuesday April 9th.
Fill in the peer evaluation surveys for the people who presented in your synthesis group. If there were fewer than 5
members in your group and you temporarily went to another group, fill in the peer evaluation form for the individual
who answered the question in the group that you joined. Reconvene with your original group members for the
Peer evaluation surveys will have the names of the evaluators removed and will be returned to the presenters to
provide anonymous feedback. You may elect to add your name to the comments you provide if you want the person
being evaluated to know who provided the comments.
LINK TO ONLINE PEER EVALUATION FORM:
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