SummaryStudents are introduced to the concept of design criteria. Specifically, they determine what functionality the trains on the west corridor must meet to satisfy customer and owner needs. Students discuss what criteria need to be met and use the Mass Transit Living Lab—a web portal to interactive train traffic data for a major metropolitan city.
Transportation engineers are responsible for designing and operating the transit systems that deliver people and goods, including rail, highways and roads, and air traffic. Transportation engineers aim to design efficient systems that move people and goods quickly, safely and cost-effectively. Students become fully immersed in transportation engineering during this activity.
After this activity, students should be able to:
- Explain the concept of design criteria.
- List design criteria for transit service.
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Students evaluate whether a particular section of a transit system is functioning in an efficient manner and whether it is meeting design requirements. Then, they suggest design improvements and evaluate whether the changes make positive impacts on the transit system performance.
Students go through the process of identifying possible solutions to the design problems that the existing west corridor transit system faces. Students combine what they have learned from the three previous activities to come up with possible solutions to the design problems faced by the system.
Students go through the logical process of quantitatively analyzing real-world transit data. They gain experience identifying problems with the current design based upon their earlier observations and experiences in activities 1 and 2.
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Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science,
technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN),
a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics;
within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
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Students each need a worksheet and pencil.
teams each need a computer with Internet access.
How do you know if something is successful? In order to evaluate and possibly improve transit performance, engineers need to know what is considered "good performance" and what is considered "bad performance" or "unacceptable performance." Understanding design criteria enables you to determine whether the west corridor is operating the best it can to meet the system's expectations.
- Go to http://www.teachengineering.org/livinglabs/index.php > and click to enter the Mass Transit Living Lab to reach the main page of the Mass Transit Living Lab website (see Figure 1)
- Distribute to students the Establish the Design Criteria Worksheet (for activity 1).
- Present the Introduction/Motivation content to students.
- Divide the class into teams of three or four students each.
- Ask students to work through the worksheet questions.
- As a class, discuss the answers agreed upon by the individual groups. Then reach consensus on the design criteria.
TIP: In engineering challenges, more than one right answer exists, so encourage different answers. The important learning aspect is the discussions that different answers generate in the class.
TIP: While you can have each team move forward after this activity with its own design criteria, we recommend that you reach a consensus on one set of criteria that the entire class will use. This permits more meaningful class discussions during the later activities.
Grade the completed worksheets, reviewing student answers to gauge their comprehension of the concepts.
Other Related Information
This activity is designed around the Mass Transit Living Lab, a real-time simulation of FasTracks—a real, high-speed rail transit system in the Denver, CO, metropolitan area, as an example for analyzing data about how a light rail system works.
ContributorsMike Mooney; Stuart Fehr
Copyright© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Colorado School of Mines
Supporting ProgramCivil and Environmental Engineering Department, Colorado School of Mines
This curriculum was created with support from the National Science Foundation. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Last modified: May 25, 2017