STRIDE Educational Efforts

STRIDE Funds the Development of New Public Transportation Course Modules to Enhance Transportation Classes

Auburn University Completes STRIDE-Funded Sustainable Pavements Course

Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Course Modules Developed by Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill and Auburn University


STRIDE Funds the Development of New Public Transportation Course Modules to Enhance Transportation Classes

If you are teaching an Introduction to Transportation course and would like to incorporate components that address the planning, design, and operations aspects of public transportation, then you may be interested in course modules being developed with STRIDE funding by Jeff LaMondia, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Auburn University and Kari Watkins, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Georgia Tech (see abstract). LaMondia and Watkins plan to incorporate the modules into the Introduction to Transportation coursean undergraduate senior courseand Transit Planning and Operationsa specialized graduate course. The modules will be designed by researching applicable literature, reaching out and collaborating with educators and practitioners, and mapping out the core concepts needed for transportation practice. The modules will then be implemented, assessed, and revised, based on student learning outcomes. Finally, the modules will be disseminated through the STRIDE website for easy access by others looking to teach a transit course. The modules are designed for use by individuals who do not have a background in this area or who have background experience but have not taught this course previously. The researchers are currently looking for instructors to test the modules in their courses. For more information, contact Kari Watkins at kari.watkins@ce.gatech.edu.

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Auburn University Completes STRIDE-Funded Sustainable Pavements Course

Test track at Auburn
(Auburn University Test Track. Image courtesy of Richard Willis)


Auburn University’s Civil Engineering graduate program launched its first graduate course on sustainable pavements in January 2013. The course, entitled Design and Assessment of Sustainable Pavements, was developed as a result of a STRIDE-funded project (Development of Graduate Level Course on Sustainable Asphalt Pavements, 2012-049s) 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.

Over the course of the semester, six students participated in discussions and lectures related to broad topics, such as the definition of sustainability and sustainability quantification through life-cycle assessment. Once the students gained an understanding of sustainability on a macro scale, the class shifted its focus towards decisions related to pavement material selection, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance, which affect the overall sustainability of the country’s pavement infrastructure. 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, was the lead instructor for the class. Guest lecturers included Steve Muench, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Washington and developer of GreenRoads™, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that advances sustainability education and initiatives for transportation infrastructure, as well as Jeff LaMondia, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Auburn University, who provided further insight into topics such as pavement rating systems and access and equity.

The class design differed from civil engineering classes which focus on calculations and formulas. “The real goal of the class was to change the way the students thought about pavements,” Willis said. “They needed to go further and to consider how their choices affect things such as greenhouse gas emissions, neighborhood livability, and the economics of the Department of Transportation.”

Student projects were designed to further emphasize the large impact of small decisions on society and the environment. For example, students in the class were assigned with developing a “green corridor” that could be used in conjunction with the redesign of Toomer’s Corner as Auburn University made preparations to remove the historic oak trees there. The corridor was then assessed using the GreenRoads™ pavement rating system. In addition to this project, students gained firsthand experience in calculating the carbon footprints of pavement structures using multiple software packages. They also began to understand how using recycled materials such as reclaimed asphalt pavement and conducting life-cycle assessments on test sections from the 2009 National Center for Asphalt Technology Test Track can significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere during production and construction of asphalt pavement.

Overall, the class was successful in not only providing students with a new way of thinking, but also in giving the students appropriate information for making more sustainable choices in both their professions as pavement engineers and life in general.

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Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Course Modules Developed by Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill and Auburn University

PedBike
(Image from www.pedbikeinfo.org)


Daniel Rodriguez, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Rod Turochy Ph.D., associate professor at Auburn University have developed three education modules with STRIDE funds for use in introductory transportation courses for undergraduates in civil engineering, planning, and policy (see abstract). The modules are:  Pedestrian and bicycle data and performance analysis; Design of Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities; and Planning for Pedestrians and Bicycles. These modules address topics such as operations (performance analysis), design, and planning for bicycle and pedestrian facilities and provide material for one week in a typical semester-long introductory transportation engineering class. The modules were successfully tested with students at Auburn University, and will be available soon for download through the FHWA's Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and posted on the STRIDE website in the Education section.

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