MNTRC Newsletter Vol 20, Issue 2: Fall 2013

Summer camp engages future transportation leaders


Hualiang “Harry” Teng, PhD, Director, Railroad, High Speed Rail, and Transit Initiative

Summer camp attendees enteering museum.

Summer campers tour Nevada railroad museum.

UNLV News – The University of Nevada Las Vegas Transportation Engineering Summer Camp was part of the two-week camp held on the Reno (UNR) and Las Vegas (UNLV) campuses. The program recruited 11 boys and 9 girls. During their week at UNR, they took lectures on traffic engineering and transportation planning, and they visited local airport and highway facilities.

The activities at UNLV covered many modes of transportation, including highway, public transportation, trucks, railroad, monorail, and airport. But first, the students were treated to a VIP tour of Hoover Dam, the biggest dam in the world at the time of its construction. They were amazed at the magnitude of construction and engineering work. As part of the tour, they also saw the new Hoover Dam bridge, a major highway connection between Arizona and Nevada, making possible the economic expansion from Las Vegas into Arizona.

Talks from transportation professionals

Students touring Hoover Dam.

Students given VIP tour of Hoover Dam and the new Hoover Dam bridge.

The next day, the students rode the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) bus to RTC, where the resident professionals gave a great presentation. The students visited other sites, including a major public transportation terminal in downtown Las Vegas, a hub that has state-of-art facilities for buses and bicycles. They also visited the Freeway and Arterials System of Transportation (FAST) that monitors and controls traffic for the Las Vegas Metropolitan area.

On the third day, professionals from the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) gave presentations on their regular duty and current project. They discussed why safety is important to everyone, and how I-11 is important to the economic development in Nevada. The students also were taken to the famous Las Vegas Monorail, where they observed operation, maintenance, and development.

From there, the group visited Con-Way Logistics, one of the most successful trucking companies in the nation. Here, they learned about the complex operations involved in moving commodities efficiently from place to place and how important trucking is to the nation’s economy.

Behind-the-scenes transit tours

The fourth day, the students visited a Zappos.com project, where they learned how a company can be a major driving force to revive a downtown in which transportation is a major component. The group stopped at the UNLV architecture school for a historical perspective of the connection between transportation and land use.

These tours were followed by presentations, one on multi-culture in engineering and health, and another on public works, including transportation engineering in the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. From these presentations, students learned about possible career paths.

For the fifth day, students had a tour of the Las Vegas airport, the seventh busiest airport in the nation. This included a tour of the airfield, where they learned about airport operation. The most interesting part of the tour was in the new terminal, where the new design concepts were presented, coupled with new airport technologies. After the tour, UNLV researchers presented their research results in an unmanned flying vehicle, driver simulator, and image processing for traffic. The students demonstrated tremendous passion on these new developments.

Transportation careers pique interest

Finally, students gave presentations about their solutions for transportation problems, such as congestion and safety, which they based on their experience in the two-week camp. Transportation professionals judged those presentations and gave awards. The general manager of the RTC discussed the contribution of transportation profession to the local and national community, leading the students to expect a successful career in transportation engineering.