Student Study Abroad 2019: Sustainable Transportation in the Netherlands

2019 Netherlands Study Abroad Banner - PROGRAM.png
Sunday, June 23, 2019, 8:00am PDT to Saturday, July 6, 2019, 5:00pm PDT
John MacArthur, Portland State University and Aaron Golub, Portland State University
Program Fee: $4,840
Utrecht, Netherlands and surrounding area
4 Credits at Portland State University

Offered through the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation at TREC, this four-credit PSU study abroad program (CE 495 / 595) presents an introduction to sustainable transportation and land use applications in the Dutch context.


Before you apply for the program, check out some frequently asked questions or watch the recent Jan 11, 2019 information session:

PROGRAM OVERVIEW (June 23 - July 6, 2019)

The course creates an immersive experience to explore the Dutch approach to cycling, transit, innovative mobility and land use. The curriculum will feature material that provides a comparison between U.S. and the Netherlands problems, priorities, and solutions. Specific emphases on planning and engineering principles, policy, and practice will be explored through field trips, tours and guest lectures, while visiting Utrecht, Amsterdam, Delft, and Houten. Students completing this course will develop a broader understanding of sustainable transportation issues and expand their toolkit for context-sensitive solutions.

This study abroad program will examines how the urban areas and transportation systems of that nation have been designed to promote transportation by foot, bicycle, and public transportation.

Topics will include:

  • Design of bikeways, safe pedestrian crossings, and transit systems;
  • Urban expansion and land-use policies to promote travel by foot, bike, and public transport; 
  • Smart cities programs and projects;
  • Roadway system design for safety and to prevent roads from becoming barriers to walking and cycling; 
  • and design for transit priority on roadways and for high-quality rail, tram, and bus service.

Through design projects, offers students an opportunity to apply lessons learned to the U.S. context. Come rent your fiets and experience some of the best biking infrastructure in the world!

Learn more about previous years, check out photos from the 2016 course and photos from 2015No previous language study required.


The daily itineray is subject to change.

Sunday, June 23Arrive in Utrecht Welcome Dinner
Monday, June 24Morning Activity: Get bikes! Orientation & bike safety.  Take a tour of the city and watch welcome presentations from the instructors.
Tuesday, June 25Lecture: Urban Transportation in the Netherlands—Biking, Bike Infrastructure, and Policy 

Bike Tour (featuring bike parking, car-free zones in the center city, road diets, rails to trails, and a new bridge)

Bike Tour (featuring case studies of retrofit projects to accommodate more cyclists, and problem intersections)

Wednesday, June 26Bike Tour: Houten (featuring Vision Zero, bike infrastructure and unique land use)
Thursday, June 27 Bike Tour: Houten (featuring Vision Zero, bike infrastructure and unique land use) 
Friday, June 28Bike Tour: Amsterdam (featuring transit facilities) 
Saturday, June 29 Bike Tour (Optional): The Hovenring (a suspended cycle path roundabout between the localities of Eindhoven, Veldhoven, and Meerhoven) 
Sunday, June 30 Day Off 
Monday, July 1Lecture at University of Applied Sciences Utrecht on Land Use Planning, Sustainable Development and other topics Work on projects
Tuesday, July 2Tour Delft 
Wednesday, July 3Lecture at University of Applied Sciences Utrecht on Pedestrian Planning Work on projects
Thursday, July 4 Tour Amsterdam - Smart Cities and New Mobility 
Friday, July 5 Present design projects Farewell Dinner
Saturday, July 6 Departures  



This program is open to college seniors and graduate students from any university, as well as professionals. Capacity is limited to 15 participants, so apply early! Students studying transportation engineering, urban planning, transportation program development, aspiring policymakers, and anyone interested in nurturing cycling in their communities are welcome to apply.

  • PSU Students: Students will need to complete an online application through the PSU Education Abroad site.
  • Non-PSU Students and Professionals: You will need to complete the same application process as PSU students. Once accepted, you will need to enroll as a non-degree seeking student at PSU (additional $25 fee).


The application deadline is March 31, 2019. Contact us at if you have any questions. Requests for reasonable accommodations are made through the application process.


Program Fee: $4,840.00
Additional Estimated Costs: $2,290.00
Total Estimated Costs: $7,130.00


  • 4 credits (CE 495/595)
  • Housing in a centrally located hostel
  • Bike rental in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Delft
  • Round trip train tickets
    • Amsterdam --> Utrecht
    • Utrecht --> Rotterdam
    • Utrecht --> Delft
  • One day Amsterdam public transportation pass
  • Two guest lectures by local experts on the following topics: Smart Cities expert session on "Smart Mobility", Transportation Planning and Bike Infrastructure in Rotterdam
  • Transit Infrastructure tour of Amsterdam (including the main rail and transit station)
  • Day trip to Rotterdam: a major port city known for its ship history and modern architecture
  • Education Abroad service fee
  • International Health Insurance
  • 24/7 on-site support


  • International round-trip airfare 
  • Additional meals
  • Personal spending money
  • Passport or visa (US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program)

Are you a PSU student looking for financial aid to take this course? See the PSU Education Abroad Scholarship Resources page for more information.


John MacArthur
Sustainable Transportation Program Manager, Transportation Research & Education Center (TREC) at PSU

John MacArthur currently manages a complex Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant to Develop and Test an Emergency Transportation Recovery Plan for the Portland, Oregon Region. This project requires close coordination and collaboration with a variety of public agency partners including city of Portland emergency management and transportation bureaus in addition to transit and other agencies critical to the region’s emergency transportation recovery efforts. MacArthur is the Principal Investigator for TREC's electric bicycle research initiatives. His research also includes low-/no-emission vehicle infrastructure in Portland metro, as well as a climate change impact assessment for surface transportation in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. 

Aaron Golub, Ph.D.
Director, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at PSU
Urban Studies and Planning at PSU
TwitterTREC Researcher Profile | Portland State Profile

Aaron Golub is an associate professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University (PSU), moving to PSU after eight years at Arizona State University and ten years studying and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work focuses on the social contexts of urban transportation systems, explored in three ways: 1. the effects on social equity of current transportation planning practices – how people participate in planning, and who wins and loses from transportation plans, 2. planning, research and advocacy in support of alternatives to the automobile (especially public transportation and bicycles), and 3. the historical roots of automobile dependence in the United States. At PSU, Dr. Golub teaches courses on urban transportation policy, planning research methods, transportation finance and public transportation.


(Non-refundable fees: $50 app fee + $250 Ed Abroad fee)

Students may officially withdraw from a program by providing written notification of their withdrawal to the Education Abroad Advisor in the PSU Education Abroad Office.  Students are not considered withdrawn from a program until written notification is received. Withdrawing from a program does not, however, absolve you of your responsibility of covering program costs.  If the student withdraws from a program after they have changed their online application status to “committed” they will be billed the non-refundable fees, as stated above, as well as any non-recoverable program costs, as determined by each program refund policy.


Will there be a visit to TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)?

The trip will most likely visit there. If for some reason we are unable to, it would be possible to schedule a visit after our day's sessions.

What work will students be expected to complete?

It is a four credit class, and so taking notes, reflecting, sketching, and daily summarizes are expected on the trip. A long term project will also be assigned. This would include at least three options from a variety of disciplines. Past topic examples include: analyzing U.S. challenges in urban design and applying a dutch strategy, analyzing Portland Intersections, answering policy land use questions, and urban development.

Are laptops required?


What has been the size of past groups?

The groups have been about 12 students in size and the program caps at 15 students. Students are generally from urban planning or engineering backgrounds. All majors and fields of studies are encouraged to apply. Geographically most students come from Oregon with some from California, Washington, and Canada.

Do the Dutch speak English?

Yes, school there is taught in Dutch and English.

Photo taken by participant Richard Sparks.