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REU Site: Safe and Sustainable Rural Transportation in the 21st Century

Started: March, 2012 Ended: February, 2015 Project ID #4W3909 Status: Completed


The objective of this project was to establish and host a ten-week summer research program for undergraduates focused on rural transportation issues.


Through this project, WTI established a three-year Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program focused on safe and sustainable rural transportation. The program recruited eight undergraduate students from outside the host institution each year (2012-2014) for a ten-week summer research program. The objectives of the program were to: 1) expose undergraduates to real-world, cutting-edge and interdisciplinary research in areas relevant to improving the safety and sustainability of rural transportation systems; 2) develop students’ research skills and improve their communication and collaborative skills; 3) enhance students’ ability to work on interdisciplinary teams and to integrate a variety of strategies in addressing a given problem; and 4) encourage student retention and advancement to graduate programs in science and engineering. This REU focused on the unique challenges of rural transportation systems with special attention paid to enhancing public safety, improving environmental stewardship and increasing overall utility. Students were involved in cutting-edge research in three broad topic areas: 1) safety and human factors, 2) sustainable infrastructure materials and practices, and 3) mobility. Students worked closely with faculty/researcher mentors, and in research teams with other student participants. In addition to research work, REU program participants attended research seminars conducted by WTI research staff and invited lecturers that introduced them to the breadth of rural transportation issues and some of the research efforts underway in this regard (including field trips and demonstration of new technologies). Students also participated in a series of workshops focusing on professional and academic skills development, including library research methods, and technical writing and presentation skills. At the end of the program, REU participants presented their research to peers, researchers, and project sponsors at a final research symposium, and they submitted a final technical report detailing the results of their project.


Sponsors & Partners

  • National Science Foundation Sponsor

Related Information

Part of: Education

Project Tagged In: Education and Training, Workforce Development, professional development

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