News | PSR METRANS visits ARTIC Center and KOA Associates

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PSR METRANS visits ARTIC Center and KOA Associates

Sunday, April 8, 2018

by By Borui Zhai, USC Viterbi MSCE 2019

On March 24th, 2018, students and alumni from USC, UCLA, UCI, Cal State Fullerton and other universities visited KOA Corporation and the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) for behind-the-scenes guided tours. The two are located adjacent to each other in Orange County, California.

Upon arrival at KOA Corporation, we were welcomed by senior transportation planner Mengzhao Hu, and enjoyed lunch, courtesy of KOA. After lunch, Hu delivered a presentation about the company at the time of its 30th anniversary. KOA Corporation is a leading provider in traffic engineering, transportation planning and construction management services for public agencies and private sector clients. With four offices located in Southern California, KOA has provided engineering services for some of the largest public works and transportation planning projects throughout the state.

The Garden Grove Safe Routes to School Project is one of the most significant projects for which KOA is responsible. The project which impressed me the most was one which guarantees a safe trip from home to school for every single child living in the town of Apple Valley, where KOA has been working closely with community officials and parents at ten schools to evaluate their specific needs.  KOA’s work there earned the Merit Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.

No field trip is complete without a friendly competition, and for this one, we held a ping-pong tournament game in the KOA office, right after the speech. The best of the best from each university competed against each other, with the final winner playing KOA. Amazing toe to toe games were brought by the competitors, a lot fun came as well. 

After visiting KOA, we headed to the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). ARTIC boasts an impressive structure with curved a shell-shaped roofcovered with air-filled plastic pillows through which sunlight illuminates the interior. The arched roof is illuminated with multicolored lights. At night, the structure can be illuminated in any color with the lights glowing through the pillows.

Upon arrival, we were again given a presentation and an opportunity to tour the entire station. The center provides rail, bus, taxi and other services for daily commuters, visitors and leisure travelers. The station sits across from the Honda Center (home of the Anaheim Ducks), and is serviced by Amtrak intercity rail and Metrolink commuter rail, as well as a bus service by the Orange County Transportation Authority and Anaheim Resort Transportation.

Opened in 2014, ARTIC is located in the Platinum Triangle and near the Anaheim Resort, areas of Anaheim which include major points of interest. It replaced a nearby depot and train platforms used by Amtrak and Metrolink formerly. The station is planned to eventually serve as the eastern terminus of a proposed streetcar system that connects various destinations in the Anaheim Resort and Platinum Triangle areas, as well as the proposed location of a California High-Speed Rail station.

Top KOA Senior Planner Mengzhao Hu and her team Griffin, Jenny and Martin briefing our students and

bottom PSR METRANS group at ARTIC Center

Overall, we have had some informative conversations and discussions and I learned and obtained a lot through this trip. I appreciated this opportunity to have a tour to such a leading corporation and a well-known and complex transportation center. What’s more, I am really grateful to METRANS for arranging this tour.

About the Author:

Borui Zhai is a first-year Master of Civil Engineering student at USC focusing on transportation engineering. He is an active participant of PSR METRANS events and member of Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) USC Chapter and can be reached at [email protected]