June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.1122.1 - 23.1122.11
Sustainability Perspectives of Graduate Students on Transportation Systems and ManagementUnderstanding of sustainability is essential for the transportation engineering and managementstudents. In President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, he showed a strong commitmentfor producing clean energy1. More specifically, in his 2011 State of the Union address, thePresident declared that 80% of the energy used in the United States will come from clean energysources by 20352.Graduate students take transportation and systems management course routinely in the college ofengineering. They have been taught in the traditional way using the standard lecture format. Inthis method, sustainability is taught as one of the many constraints by spending approximatelyone hour of lecture. Both the method of standard lecture and the duration of the lecture areinsufficient for equipping the students not only for understanding the concepts of sustainability,but also mastering and committing them for contributing their share for the sustainableenvironment.The course has several modules. They deal with Air and Ground Transportation Systems andManagement. At the beginning of the course the students were given a pre-intervention surveyon their sustainability perspective on transportation systems and management. At the end of thecourse the same survey was given. They were not told that the survey would be given again atthe end of the semester.The students were taught in every lecture the appropriate component(s) of sustainability andrelated ethics. The students were given 4 assignments on these topics. The lectures and thestudent assignments explored various problems such as global society, business perspectives andpeople. They also considered people’s nature, values, and future generations. They examined oncost, user friendliness, and aesthetics. They used a broad holistic approach that incorporatedsocial and societal aspects. The 4 assignments we graded consisting of 20% of the course grade.The average grade of the pre-intervention survey was 66% and that of the post-interventionsurvey was 78%, and 18% improvement over the pre-intervention. The results were significantlydifferent with a calculated t value of 2.9. The t-test confirmed statistical improvement atsignificant confidence level with an alpha value of 0.05.The written comments of the students on the sustainability and ethical issues on specificproblems such as High Occupancy Vehicles, walking and cycling improvements, speedreductions and traffic calming. Many students wrote excellent comments on demandmanagement strategies including road pricing, parking management strategies, taxing gasoline,access management including ramp metering, transit improvements and rideshare programs, andcommute trip reduction programs. They were analyzed and graded. Students have shown theirpersonal contribution on keeping the sustainability at present level. They considered innovativeand practical concepts such as switching to hybrid vehicles, telework, and combining trips.The authors plan to extend this strategy to three other courses over the next two years. Themethod presented in this study may be used at other institutions with appropriate modificationsin order to prepare the students for improving their technological literacy.References: 1. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/24/us/politics/state-of-the-union-2012- video-transcript.html 2. Obama, B. (2011). State of the Union Address, Washington, D C. January, 25.
Brooks, R. M., & Cetin, M., & Kavuturu, J. (2013, June), Sustainability Perspectives of Graduate Students on Transportation Systems and Management Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22507
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