Students in ENGR 421/521 recently took part in a workshop led by BC Transit’s Planning Manager and WATT Consulting Group’s Senior Transportation Planner and Transit Lead.
ENGR 421/521 is a specialized course in public transit planning, design, and operations. The course is the only one offered in British Columbia that features a pedagogy of teaching public transportation through best-practice strategies of modern transit systems. The course included an intensive and interactive workshop focused on transit planning best-practices, community land use plans, intermodal integration, and overall transit networks.
“This workshop gives our students an opportunity to learn from practitioners in the field to build upon the concepts covered in the class” says Ahmed Idris, an assistant professor in the School of Engineering, who designed and teaches the course. “Transportation engineering and planning should not be taught in any other way!”
According to BC Transit’s Planning Manager, Matthew Boyd, participating in such a workshop is as much a learning experience for him as it is for the students. “Workshops like this assist in continuing to build awareness of the important role public transit plays in healthy and thriving communities.” He jointly led the workshop with Tania Wegwitz of WATT Consulting Group. “We share a desire to create livable communities,” says Wegwitz “and it is really important for us to give future community leaders an understanding of what’s required to do so.”
During the workshop, students worked in groups to apply best-practices to design a full-fledged public transit network in a random Canadian city. The results were then presented to the full group and the workshop facilitators for feedback.
Fourth-year civil engineering student, Alexandra Haag, says she enjoyed the design exercise component of the workshop “it provided us with an opportunity to apply the transit planning theory we’ve learned in lectures in a practical context.” Eric Ma, a fourth-year civil engineering student shared that sentiment. “As a student who’s interested in working within the public transportation industry after graduation, this workshop gave us an idea of current transit planning practices, as well as provided us with an opportunity to experience the real-life needs in transit planning.”
As the course comes to an end, Idris says the success of the workshop speaks for itself. “I know students are leaving this course with a greater understanding of the tools and mechanisms transit planners utilize to build healthy and thriving communities”.