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472840-00029-1 Report Abstract

Transportation Engineering Education and Outreach Program Designed for the Collegiate Level

Beverly T. Kuhn, Texas A&M University, September 1999, 67 pp. (472840-00029-1)

The past decade has seen revolutionary changes in the face of transportation in the United States. With the deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and the monumental leaps made in technology applications in all aspects of life, the transportation profession is faced with a new dilemma. In short, the current and future success of the transportation infrastructure and its diverse array of components depend on developing a larger cadre of transportation professionals capable of designing, planning, managing, operating, and maintaining it. Furthermore, overall awareness of transportation by the general public is necessary to ensure political, community, and financial support of future transportation projects. The next generation of transportation professionals will come from current and future groups of undergraduate, graduate students, and vocational and technical school students. Thus, it is critical that universities take a proactive role in educating and preparing future transportation professionals to work effectively and efficiently in the 21st century. This paradigm shift is necessary to ensure that the transportation profession attracts qualified individuals who can work within an ever-changing and ever-advancing technological future. In turn, these professionals can work to ensure that the transportation infrastructure is maintained and improved so that it sustains the mobility necessary to enhance the nation’s economic strength. The purpose of this research was to capitalize on both the transportation expertise of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) as well as its relationship with other universities within the region. The objective was to develop and disseminate educational and outreach materials that encourage students in colleges, universities, and technical schools to select transportation as their career path and attract more students into transportation graduate programs. Target students were not limited to civil engineering programs, but were in any discipline with direct links to the transportation industry. Once developed, various components of the program appropriate for electronic distribution were made accessible to educators, students, and the general public via the Internet.

Keywords: Transportation Education, College Students, Outreach, Professional Development, Universities, Partnerships

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