ITE Student Chapter News, Fall 2014
Florida International University (FIU)
Fall 2014 was a busy but fruitful semester for the ITE Student Chapter at FIU. The chapter hosted four distinguished professionals from both the academia and industry as guest speakers, which included Jesus A. Martinez, Principal Engineer, Transportation Information Systems Section, Southwest Research Institute; Dr. Elio Espino, In–House Consultant–A&P Consulting Engineers; Omar M. Meitin (pictured at right), Florida Dept. of Transportation, District Traffic Operations Engineer; and Rickey Fitzgerald, State Freight Coordinator for Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The topics of discussion included intelligent transportation systems, pedestrian safety program, Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O) and Transportation Infrastructure.
ITE chapter members attended the 2014 FSITE/SFWTS Annual Meeting in Boca Raton in November 5-7, 2014, and participated in poster presentations and other technical sessions. The chapter won the "ITE District 10: Student Chapter Award" for outstanding activities throughout the previous year (group picture below). Chapter member Xuanwu Chen received two awards: "District 10: Henry P. Boggs Student Paper Award" and "Bill McGrath Scholarship".
Apart from the above-mentioned activities, the chapter hosted three graduate seminars where graduate present their recent research outcomes. Also, in collaboration with the Civil Engineering Department at FIU, the ITE student chapter hosted a “CEE Diversity Event". which was a social gathering with the purpose of learning about the cultural and engineering diversity of different countries.
For more information, please visit FIU ITE Student Chapter's website ite.fiu.edu.
Georgia Institute of Technology (GaTech)
ARCADIS President of the Infrastructure Division, Wassim Selman, spoke to ITE@GT on October 16th, 2014. He shared many valuable insights with attendees over an ARCADIS sponsored lunch. Wassim was the president of ITE@GT as a student, and offered his support for all of the organization’s members and alumni.
ITE@GT took a group of 15 high school, undergrad, grad, and research engineer researchers to Centennial Place Academy to work with the sixth graders as part of outreach efforts. Two full days were dedicated to interactive learning, hands on activities including manual and automated data collection, data analysis in excel, and presentation preparation and performance. ITE@GT worked with 17 sixth grade students in three modules of pedestrian accessibility, traffic engineering (vehicle counting), and visual complexity of roadway environments.
For Team Buzz, an annual day of service for Georgia Tech, ITE@GT worked with the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy to do a clean-up, as well as mulching and landscaping at the park. We had a group of eight ITE members go out to this event.
ITE@GT also hosted a picnic in Piedmont Park to kick off the Fall 2014 semester. This event was attended mostly by graduate students and alumni from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering or the School of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Tech.
North Carolina State University (NCSU)
The fall semester has been one of renaissance for the ITE/ASHE/AREMA student chapter at North Carolina State University. The focus for the 2014 school year was on increasing participation among undergraduate students as well as increasing attendance by all members at regular chapter meetings. NCSU ITE worked with transportation professors on sharing the benefits of ITE with their undergraduate students. With this effort, membership increase for the year is already in the double digits, and the undergraduate representation has doubled, now accounting for 36% of the members.
In an effort to further engage graduate students, NCSU ITE actively sought input on speakers for monthly business meetings. A frequent request was to highlight how research can be beneficial outside of an academic setting. To accommodate this request, they are working to bring a speaker who works in industry on research and guidebook design. Additional topics include a focus on the public outreach phase of projects, the difference between working in the private sector versus the public sector versus academia, and disseminating real-time transportation information through smart phone applications.
In addition to meetings, students this semester have enjoyed a fall cookout and our semi-annual adopt-a-highway project. The semester concluded with the annual holiday party hosted by their chapter advisor, Dr. Billy Williams.
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
On Oct 1, 2014, the UAB ITE Student Chapter hosted a presentation by Dr. Julie Price on “UAB efforts toward a sustainable campus”.
On October 7, 2014, the UAB ITE student chapter traveled to Auburn, Alabama, for the 2014 ALSITE - Fall Meeting. The students attended technical sessions, and took advantage of networking opportunities.
On October 10, 2014, Dr. Virginia P. Sisiopiku, ITE Student Chapter Faculty Advisor, offered a Career Information Session focusing on Transportation Engineering. Nineteen UAB engineering students attended the presentation and learned about the transportation engineering profession and its potential benefits as a career path.
Dr. Virginia P. Sisiopiku was named Fellow of ITE, the first woman transportation engineer in the State of Alabama to receive this distinction.
The ITE Student Chapter also supported two UAB Kids in Engineering Day events in the Fall 2014. The events introduced 4th and 5th grade students from the surrounding school districts to transportation engineering disciplines through fun hands-on activities.
University of Florida (UF)
ITE hosted a seminar on September 24, 2014, that featured a presentation given by Dr. Scott Washburn, a faculty member of the transportation engineering program at UF. His presentation titled “Florida’s Program for Automated Vehicle Highways (AVH) and Engineering Education Considerations for AVH” addressed two topics in the area of automated vehicles: 1) an overview of recent and ongoing activities conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation and the UF Transportation Institute in the area of automated vehicles and 2) how transportation engineering education will be affected by developments in automated vehicles.
Members of ITE volunteered at the PK Yonge Research School Carnival on October 3, 2014. The event is held every fall and features different “carnival-style” activities for the students to participate in after school. ITE helped run a booth with various hands-on activities that helped students explore engineering by teaching them basic engineering concepts. Some of these activities included a penny boat competition, tumbling tower, and domino diving board.
ITE hosted a webinar on Adaptive Traffic Control Systems (ATCS) on October 14, 2014. The webinar addressed some of the most commonly mistaken beliefs about performance, nature, safety improvements, and operations of ATCS as well as how ATCS potentially reduces the need for retiming and how installations can be funded through traffic impact fees.
The UF ITE traffic bowl team competed in the 2014 ITE International Collegiate Traffic Bowl Grand Championship in Seattle, WA on August 12, 2014. The team advanced to this competition after winning the Florida District Traffic Bowl on June 26, 2014, in Clearwater, Fla. The ITE traffic bowl is a Jeopardy-style game that tests students’ knowledge of transportation engineering and transportation planning. The 2014 team consisted of Don Watson, Thomas Chase and Pruthvi Manjunatha (pictured, left to right). This year marked Thomas’ fourth time competing in the Grand Championship and Donald’s second. Both Thomas and Donald were on the UF team that placed 1st in last year’s Grand Championship. During this year’s competition, the UF team advanced to the final round after beating Purdue University and Clemson University in the semifinal round. They competed against Penn State University and the University of Texas (UT) at Austin in the final round for a potential repeat of last year’s victory. As they entered the Final Clue, all three teams were within 700 points of each other, with UT Austin in the lead. UT Austin managed to hold on to its lead and took 1st place. The UF team placed 2nd. The UF team is now looking to recruit new members for next year’s competition in hopes to once again advance to the Grand Championship.
ITE members attended the 2014 Florida Section of ITE Annual Meeting on November 5-7, 2014, in Boca Raton, Fla. This meeting featured a student poster competition that included research posters from various universities in Florida. Miguel Lugo, an ITE member at UF and transportation graduate student, received the 2nd place prize of $100 for his poster titled “Definitional Issues: What Is a Self-Driving Car?”