A Transportation Safety Module for Undergraduate Students
Lesley Strawderman, Ph.D., associate professor at Mississippi State University, developed, tested, refined, and disseminated an educational module aimed at teaching undergraduate students about transportation safety. According to Strawderman, most undergraduate students have limited exposure to this topic in their college coursework, so she hopes that this module will be an effective tool for improving student understanding, appreciation, and interest in transportation safety.
Creating the module out of the plethora of material available on the topic was not a simple task. “The greatest challenge has been selecting material to include in the module,” Strawderman stated. “As a researcher who is passionate about transportation safety, I find myself wanting to tell the students everything.” She feels that the feedback from the students was the most rewarding part of creating the module, as many students stated that not only did the module pique their interest in transportation as a career, but is also increased their awareness of transportation safety issues. “To me, that is extremely satisfying,” Strawderman shared.
Strawderman anticipates the transportation safety course module to be incorporated into classroom lectures by other faculty. A paper on this topic was presented in September 2013 at the Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and published in the Proceedings of the HFES International Annual Meeting, San Diego, Calif.
To download the course module, visit: http://ergo.research.ise.msstate.edu/stride-classroom-module/
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Public Transportation Course Modules Gaining Ground
The public transportation course modules developed for undergraduate and graduate students by Assistant Professors Kari Watkins of Georgia Tech and Jeff LaMondia of Auburn University are in the process of being used in introductory transportation engineering courses in a number of schools across the country. The schools implementing the graduate modules include City College of New York, Auburn University, the University of Illinois, and Georgia Tech. The graduate course has been taught at Auburn University and Georgia Tech, with excellent feedback from students.
The greatest challenge in creating these modules was wading through the available sources to identify the material that was the most important to include. “We spent a great deal of time talking with professors across the country, collecting course materials, surveying transit practitioners, and reviewing texts to select the proper topics and level of detail for the class,” LaMondia said. “It actually took us each one time teaching it to really hone in on the best material to expose students to the breadth and depth of the transit engineering field.”
Nevertheless, the overwhelmingly positive response from the students has been the most satisfying part of the process for LaMondia and Watkins. For example, students at Auburn University took a field trip to the MARTA light rail facilities and headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., to learn about regional operations. “It was so exciting to see how animated the students became when they got to see ‘behind the scenes’ at the rail yard, asking questions of our tour guides, exploring the inner workings of the transit vehicles, and even having the opportunity to do a hands on test of the control tower operations,” LaMondia shared. “In fact, the students continued to discuss the MARTA tour in the following classes, relating what we discussed in class to what they experienced there.”
To download the course modules, visit: /public-transportation-course-modules
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Sustainable Pavements Course on Track
Richard Willis, Ph.D., a member of the FHWA Sustainable Pavements Technical Working Group and former member of the FHWA Asphalt Recycling Expert Task Group, created course modules to introduce graduate students to the concept of sustainability and to teach them the importance of making decisions based on triple-bottom-line concepts: economic benefits, environmental stewardship, and social well-being. The course also has been taught to public sector transportation professionals in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. The course modules and presentations will be available at /sustainable-pavements-course-modules
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Graduate Level Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Course Module Now Available
The STRIDE-funded Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Course Module is now available for download on the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) website. The course, interdisciplinary in nature, has been developed to fulfil 3-credit hours. It explores the core concepts of pedestrian and bicycle planning and strategies related to creating effective and comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plans and programs. In creating the course, Daniel Rodriguez, Ph.D., the lead principal investigator on the STRIDE funded sub-project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said conciseness was the greatest challenge his team came across during the development phase. “There are entire courses devoted to pedestrian or to bicycle engineering,” he said. “Yet, we wanted to have a self-contained introduction that highlights the major issues and current discussions.” Dr. Rodriguez also said planners and engineers came together to design this course. To register for access to the course module, visit the following link on the PBIC website: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/training/courses.cfm
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