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Board # 99 : Bike-lane Traffic Impact Assessment Activity for High School Students (Work in Progress)

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Jalil Kianfar P.E. Saint Louis University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jalil Kianfar is an assistant professor of civil engineering at Saint Louis University. Over the past 12 years, he has conducted work and research in the field of transportation engineering in a variety of environments. He has been involved in development of simulation models for connected vehicles, evaluation of active traffic management strategies, development of travel demand forecasting models. Dr. Kianfar is a registered professional engineer in State of Missouri.

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Adaline M. Buerck Saint Louis University

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Adaline M. Buerck is currently pursuing a masters of science degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Environmental Engineering at Saint Louis University. Her research interest are based around clean water and developing nations. She received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from SLU in May 2016. She also holds multiple positions with Engineers Without Borders including; SLU EWB Chapter Graduate Adviser, EWB Gateway Chapter SLU Liaison, and EWB-USA Midwest Region MO state Representative. She is also a GA for SLU's School for Professional Studies management programs. She has worked with the Summer Transportation Institute since it's beginning.

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High school students use the surface transportation system virtually every day and can relate to traffic congestion, travel delays, and roadway safety. Moreover, trends observed in the Federal Highway Administration driver’s license data and in the National Household Travel Survey data suggest that the popularity of active modes of transportation, such as cycling, is continuously increasing among the high school age group. In this paper, an activity is proposed to show how mathematical models can be used to assess the impact on traffic congestion of retrofitting a roadway with bike lanes. This paper builds upon the familiarity of students with the transportation system and pursues three objectives. First, students learn how math and physics principles can be used to model complex systems, such as a surface transportation system. Second, students are introduced to the decision-making process and before-and-after studies in which quantitative measures are used to support a decision. Third, students learn how engineers can potentially influence city planning and affect communities. In the first steps, students learn how math can be used to model driver behavior and to develop car-following models. Then, students use traffic simulation software to model the flow on an urban corridor. The software considers traffic volume, speed limits, traffic signal timing, and the number of travel lanes to estimate performance measures such as the length of queues, travel delays, and CO2 emissions. In the next step, students modify the simulation model and remove a travel lane to provide the space necessary for a bike lane and a buffer lane. Students discuss the traffic simulation model’s outputs and make a recommendation about whether to install a bike lane on the roadway. VISSIM traffic simulation software, a commercial software often used by engineering firms and public agencies to model transportation networks, was used in this activity. A classroom license for the software is available to educators at no charge. Twenty high school students in grades 9 through 12 participated during a one-week engineering summer camp at the Saint Louis University. The activity was completed in two hours. Students worked in pairs, with one faculty member and two counselors facilitating the discussion and hands-on computer simulation. As a work in progress, this paper presents the author’s primary observations about students’ learning and discusses future directions for this research.

Kianfar, J., & Buerck, A. M. (2017, June), Board # 99 : Bike-lane Traffic Impact Assessment Activity for High School Students (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27970

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