Developing a New Course for Public Transportation Education

PI: Kari Edison Watkins, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology

Co-PI:  Jeffrey LaMondia, Ph.D., Auburn University

UTC Project Information

Course Website

Abstract
Public transportation is a key component of livable (ICF International 2010) and sustainable (USEPA 2011) transportation systems. It is therefore critical that both undergraduate and graduate-level Civil Engineering students have a better understanding of the planning, design, and operation of public transportation systems. Unfortunately, this material is not readily available. Therefore, the main goal of this project is to develop a set of public transportation course modules for three courses: a), Introduction to Transportation (an undergraduate senior course) b) Transportation Planning (a core graduate course) and c) a stand-alone Transit Planning and Operations course (a specialized graduate course).

The modules will be designed to be easily applied by instructors with limited experience in the transit industry and in conducting transit systems research. The process for designing the modules will include researching applicable literature, reaching out and collaborating with educators and practitioners, and mind mapping 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 a website and regional workshops.

It is expected that the materials resulting from this project will be adopted at a minimum of five universities, including several throughout the Southeast Region. In the bigger picture, we hope to improve the ability of Civil Engineering students to understand and work with issues in public transportation. A more livable and sustainable transportation system cannot be achieved without common industry knowledge of how transportation planning, design, and operations impact transit accessibility and productivity.