undergraduates have been helping towns in England solve
their local transport problems and plan for the future,
as part of final year projects for the four-year MEng
in civil engineering.
in North Yorkshire and St Neots in Cambridgeshire have
benefited from the students' projects, with help from
their tutor Professor Tony May, also a consultant
in urban transport policy.
government provides councils with money through local
transport plans, but only for implementing changes,
not for research into which changes would be most effective,"
said Professor May. "Working with us and opening
the research to our engineering students provides a solution."
May normally works for towns and cities with populations
of over 250,000, running computer models of their transport
systems to determine the influence of different transport
initiatives. Providing something similar for towns as
small as 4,000 inhabitants, without the luxury of a computer
model, proved quite a challenge.
was back to basics, with spreadsheets and graphs,"
said Professor May. "One problem was a lack of data
to apply to the model, but despite the limitations, the
students came up with some concrete suggestions for the
Hudd has developed proposals for restructuring Thirsk's
bus services and changing how parking is provided and
managed in the town.
Neots has benefited from two student projects. In the
first, Karen Evans assessed the viability of options which
had gained the highest votes during a local consultation
process: her recommendations are now being implemented,
including red routes, better traffic signals and improved
Wright is looking at options for a new road bridge across
the river. His findings will enable Cambridgeshire county
council to decide whether the bridge is a viable option
to include in the next round of bids for government funding.
May said: "With students conducting research as part
of their studies, councils can get the information they
need, and students are given the opportunity to apply
the knowledge gained from their degree courses to make
a real contribution."