June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.924.1 - 12.924.14
Integrating Simulation into Transportation Engineering Education Abstract
The reason for less emphasis on experiential learning lies in the fact that real-world experience in transportation is difficult to apply to classroom learning, because the risks and costs of experimenting with transportation policies and concepts in the real world are prohibitively high. Under this circumstance, simulation has shown its capability to compress time and space with great cost saving benefits. At the University of Hartford, micro-simulation tools have been integrated into transportation engineering undergraduate education for the first time to see how traditional traffic engineering learning experience can be enhanced. A simulation learning environment was created to help students learn the principles of simulation and then develop an intuitive understanding of traffic flow theory and advanced control strategies. Students also have worked with two traffic simulation tools, CORSIM and VISSIM and used them to understand the interactive dynamics among driver behaviors, vehicle characteristics and advanced traffic control management strategies in urban and freeway transportation networks, and test hypotheses about the effects of various driver behavioral, land use, and network decision on resulting traffic levels and future network improvement decisions. As part of the learning experience offered by this course, students have also applied their skills and knowledge gained from classrooms into a real- life service-learning project. The project was to use the learned theory in traffic models and employ simulation to evaluate traffic operations along an important urban corridor in Hartford in terms of existing, future, and future with improvement scenarios. The study results were presented and communicated to the community public. It is believed that the simulation technology-enhanced learning activities can de-emphasize instructor-led "chalk and talk" by enabling students to explore complex traffic modeling processes in computerized learning environments, and the new learning experience enables students to think critically about transportation problems and solutions.
Technology innovations play an increasingly important role in engineering education as an effective tool for enhancing classroom learning. My experience in both teaching and studying transportation engineering has me realize that computer simulation, one of these innovations, complements traditional transportation engineering education methods. Conventional approaches to transportation education emphasize rationality and are dominated by analytical training, which tends to deemphasize sensitivity to experience, context, and intuition 1. The reason for less emphasis on experiential learning lies in the fact that real-world experience in transportation is difficult to apply to classroom learning, because the risks and costs of experimenting with transportation policies and concepts in the real world are prohibitively high. Under this circumstance, simulation has shown its capability to compress time and space with great cost saving benefit. In addition, the importance of using simulation in today’s classroom has been recognized in different subjects. Research2,3 has shown that simulations are engaging and allow learners to internalize knowledge by applying new skills in a risk-free environment, which can dramatically increase motivation and retention rates and provide a high return on learning efforts.
Fang, C., & Pines, D. (2007, June), Integrating Simulation Into Transportation Engineering Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1608
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