Official Description: In this course, we will focus on the planning, design, and operations of transportation systems in countries abroad that are known for a sustainable multimodal approach to transportation. This course is a study abroad course tied to the Global Engineering Leadership Minor administered in Civil and Environmental Engineering. The leadership competencies this course will focus on include cultural awareness / global competency, informal mentoring, and feedback.
The initial offering will focus on the Netherlands, a country where substantial efforts have been made to encourage cycling and transit usage by residents of all ages and cycling levels of comfort. The Dutch consider cycling more sustainable because of the reduction in space required, low emissions and noise, and health impacts. Dutch infrastructure provides good examples of protected bicycle infrastructure, traffic calming, transit network design, and transit and bicycle integration.
Objectives: This course has four primary objectives:
1. Assess differences in transportation infrastructure planning and design between the US and abroad based on experiences with sustainable transportation abroad
2. Design a transportation corridor in the US using design guidance and observations from abroad
3. Explain and critique multiple perspectives on transportation planning, design, and operations using written, oral, and visual aid communication based on observations and interactions with their peers and with three mid-career transportation professionals who will attend the study abroad program with the students
4. Learn how to effectively establish a mentor relationship and give feedback in professional situations
Format: This course will include an initial meeting and a site visit of Atlanta prior to the summer semester to discuss preparations. The course will include 10 days biking and riding trains in the Netherlands with in classroom content and site visits. The lectures and assignments will focus on bicycle and transit design differences between the US and the Netherlands. Site visits will reinforce concepts by assessing these differences in the field. Upon return, students will use the remaining three weeks of the semester to conduct design work in pairs, present that design work in person or via skype, and assess and comment on each other’s designs.
Much of the content and logistics of this course were taken from courses offered by Dr. Peter Furth and Jeff Rosenblum at Northeastern University, Peter Koonce of the City of Portland, and Dr. Robert Bertini of Cal Poly. The instructor is tremendously indebted to them.