IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Engaging Undergraduate Students in Transportation Studies through Simulating Transportation for Realistic Engineering Education and Training (STREET)


  • Chen-Fu Liao
  • David Levinson


  • Henry Liu

    (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)


The practice of transportation engineering and planning has evolved substantially over the past several decades. A new paradigm for transportation engineering education is required to better engage students and deliver knowledge. Simulation tools have been used by transportation professionals to evaluate and analyze the potential impact of design or control strategy changes. Conveying complex transportation concepts can be effectively achieved by exploring them through simulation. Simulation is particularly valuable in transportation education because most transportation policies and strategies in the real world take years to implement with a prohibitively high cost. Transportation simulation allows learners to apply different control strategies in a risk-free environment and to expose themselves to transportation engineering methodologies that are currently in practice. Despite the advantages, simulation, however, has not been widely adopted in the education of transportation engineering. Using simulation in undergraduate transportation courses is sporadic and reported efforts have been focused on the upper-level technical elective courses. A suite of web-based simulation modules was developed and incorporated in the undergraduate transportation courses at University of Minnesota. The STREET (Simulating Transportation for Realistic Engineering Education and Training) research project was recently awarded by NSF (National Science Foundation) to develop web-based simulation modules to improve instruction in transportation engineering courses and evaluate their effectiveness. Our ultimate goal is to become the epicenter for developing simulation-based teaching materials, an active textbook, which offers an interactive learning environment to undergraduate students. With the hand-on nature of simulation, we hope to improve student understanding of critical concepts in transportation engineering and student motivation toward transportation engineering, and improve student retention in the field. We also would like to disseminate the results and teaching materials to other colleges to integrate the simulation modules in their curricula.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen-Fu Liao & David Levinson & Henry Liu, 2008. "Engaging Undergraduate Students in Transportation Studies through Simulating Transportation for Realistic Engineering Education and Training (STREET)," Working Papers 200910, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:street

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pavithra Parthasarathi & Hartwig Hochmair & David Levinson, 2012. "Network Structure and Spatial Separation," Environment and Planning B, , vol. 39(1), pages 137-154, February.
    2. A. Stewart Fotheringham, 1988. "Note—Consumer Store Choice and Choice Set Definition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(3), pages 299-310.
    3. Andre de Palma & Fay Dunkerley & Stef Proost, 2010. "Trip Chaining: Who Wins Who Loses?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 223-258, March.
    4. Sivaramakrishnan Srinivasan & Chandra Bhat, 2005. "Modeling household interactions in daily in-home and out-of-home maintenance activity participation," Transportation, Springer, vol. 32(5), pages 523-544, September.
    5. Ferdous, Nazneen & Eluru, Naveen & Bhat, Chandra R. & Meloni, Italo, 2010. "A multivariate ordered-response model system for adults' weekday activity episode generation by activity purpose and social context," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(8-9), pages 922-943, September.
    6. Lu Wang & Lucia Lo, 2007. "Immigrant grocery-shopping behavior: ethnic identity versus accessibility," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(3), pages 684-699, March.
    7. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    8. Levinson, David & El-Geneidy, Ahmed, 2009. "The minimum circuity frontier and the journey to work," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 732-738, November.
    9. Kitamura, Ryuichi, 1984. "Incorporating trip chaining into analysis of destination choice," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 67-81, February.
    10. David Charypar & Kai Nagel, 2005. "Generating complete all-day activity plans with genetic algorithms," Transportation, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 369-397, July.
    11. Joh, Chang-Hyeon & Arentze, Theo & Hofman, Frank & Timmermans, Harry, 2002. "Activity pattern similarity: a multidimensional sequence alignment method," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 385-403, June.
    12. Lu Wang & Lucia Lo, 2007. "Immigrant Grocery-Shopping Behavior: Ethnic Identity versus Accessibility," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 39(3), pages 684-699, March.
    13. Jeffrey Newman & Vincent Bernardin, 2010. "Hierarchical ordering of nests in a joint mode and destination choice model," Transportation, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 677-688, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Transportation Education and Training; Transportation Simulation; Roadway Geometry Design;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • A23 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Graduate

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:street. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Levinson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.