Research Projects

METRANS

by Lauren Mullarkey-Williams

The Institute of Transportation Engineers Southern California Chapter (ITE SoCal) and Orange County Traffic Engineers Council (OCTEC) invited six ITE student chapters to join them Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at Knott’s Berry Farm for their annual Job Fair, Dinner, and Student Presentations night. Students from PSR partner schools University of Southern California (USC), Long Beach State University (LBSU), University of California- Irvine (UCI), and University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) were joined by students from California Polytechnic University – Pomona and California State University – Fullerton, as well as practitioners from public agencies and transportation firms to explore current opportunities and future developments in the transportation industry.

A job fair provided students a chance to share their resumes and elevator pitches, as well as to ask specific questions related to their chosen career paths. For recent graduates, this portion of the night was especially valuable as many of the firms were specifically interested in recruiting emerging transportation professionals.   “The student to employer ratio at the student presentation night was one of the best and the students learnt a lot about the different company’s profiles and identifying the various opportunities available” said J.P. Ziegler, President of the Long Beach State University ITE Chapter.

Following the job fair, students and professionals sat down for a dinner sponsored by the Intelligent Transportation Society of California (ITS CA). During the meal, students from each of the universities presented transportation projects they completed this academic year that align with the core values of ITE SoCal. This competition is the main opportunity for ITE Student Chapters to earn cash prizes that fund ongoing activities, including subsidizing student travel and attendance at ITE meetings across the Western District.

Photo credits: Eric Shen Photography

USC students Lynnete Guzman and Camila Araujo presented highlights of their implementation plan for two light rail stations along the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor and in Huntington Park, California. Their plan offers recommendations on how the city of Huntington Park can plan for safe mobility options, engage community residents, and capitalize on the coming transit capital investment.

LBSU students J.P. Ziegler, Shane Kocsy, and Kusal Weerisinghe presented on the California High Speed Rail, and the solutions/possibilities that arose since the announcement from Governor Newsom on scaling back on the project. Their proposal was to switch to a staged approach using a hybrid system. It was an attempt to stage the project better, and improve the regional rail system along the way.

UCLA students Brandon Duong, Walker Dai, Nathan Vardas, and Nathan Sharafian presented their ITE Trip Generation Manual Data Collection project. The presentation focused on traffic generation of new buildings and proposed ways to mitigate this traffic.

UCI students Enrique Ortiz, Lauren Stafford, and Rvee Pontepsiripong presented on connected vehicle in collaboration with City of Anaheim. Their presentation included results from field tests of interoperability for On-Board-Units (OBUs) and Roadside Units (RSUs) between vendors and also introduced new concepts such as a signal timing countdown feature. Enrique Ortiz finds it “really amazing to be given the opportunity to work on a project that deals with connected vehicles.”

Joceline Suhaimi, operations assistant at UCLA’S Institute of Transportation Studies, found the presentations extremely interesting and appreciated the hard work that went into bringing such high quality of work. “The Job Fair is a great event to meet sponsors and event attendees as well, especially this year since ITE UCLA and ITE USC are planning to cohost the Student Leadership Summit in 2020” said Suhaimi.

California Polytechnic University- Pomona was awarded the Gold Medal and California State University- Fullerton won the Silver Medal. USC took home the Bronze Medal. Additionally, the USC Chapter was presented with a $1,500 check for earning First Place in the 2019 ITE Traffic Bowl.