IBPI Study Abroad: Sustainable Transportation in Denmark


Portland State University presents an introduction to sustainable transportation and land use applications in the context of Denmark through a two-week study abroad program in summer 2024 term.

Program dates: June 22 - July 6, 2024
Application deadline: March 15, 2024


Watch a recorded information session from February 2024 to learn moreThe course creates an immersive experience to explore these approaches to cycling, transit, innovative mobility, and land use. The curriculum will feature material that provides a comparison between the U.S. and Denmark in terms of problems, priorities, and solutions. Specific emphasis on planning and engineering principles, policy, and practice will be explored through field trips, tours, and guest lectures, while visiting near by areas. Students completing this course will develop a broader understanding of sustainable transportation issues and expand their toolkit for context-sensitive solutions. Taught in a study-abroad format in a European nation, this course examines how the urban areas and transportation systems of that nation have been designed to promote transportation by foot, bicycle, and public transportation. Through design projects, offers students an opportunity to apply lessons learned to the U.S. context. You'll learn:

  • 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.
  • No previous language study required.

If you have specific questions, please email John MacArthur.

We've been hosting sustainable transportation study abroad courses for several years, in the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. Read a recap of the 2023 course, or see photos from past years. Interested in future study abroad opportunities? Sign up here to be notified.

This course is offered through our Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation program.


This program is open to college juniors/seniors and graduate students from any university and professionals. Capacity is limited to 15 participants, so apply early! Not a student, but a transportation professional interested in joining this study abroad? Contact John MacArthur at macarthur@pdx.edu to inquire.

This is a Portland State University five-credit course (CE 495 / 595) in civil engineering, cross-listed with urban planning and studies courses.


Apply by March 15, 2024

  • PSU Students: $50 application fee
  • Non-PSU Students: $50 application fee. 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 non-degree student fee).

An online information session was held February 20, 2024. Watch the recording here.


Program Fee: $6,200
Additional Estimated Costs: $2,675
Total: $8,945

Note: There will likely be scholarships available for the first 10 PSU students who submit their applications and are offered spots on the program. More details to come!

Program Fee Includes:

  • 5 credits (USP or CE 495/595)
  • Housing
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinener
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Bike rental in Copenhagen
  • Transportation Passes where necessary
  • One 3-day/2-night study tour within Denmark by train
  • Guest lectures, site visits and cultural excursions
  • Access to DIS classroom facilities, library facilities, computer lab and printing services
  • Education Abroad service fee
  • International Health Insurance
  • 24/7 on-site support

Additional Estimated Costs Includes:

  • International round-trip airfare (estimated at $1,500)
  • Airport transfer in Copenhagen ($40)
  • Additional meals (estimated at ($234)
  • Personal spending money (estimated at $200)
  • Passport or visa 
    • US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program

Scholarship Highlights:

ScanDesign Scholarship: More info to come!

All students can apply to the PSU Education Abroad Scholarship of $500. The application for this scholarship is included in the application for the program.




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

John MacArthur is the Sustainable Transportation Program Manager at TREC at PSU. He is active in research related to sustainable and equitable transportation, particularly in the areas of emerging technologies, e-bikes, bike share, transit, and the relationship between transportation and public health. Mr. MacArthur is the Section Chair for Transportation Research Board’s AME00 Transportation and Society and a member of Innovative Public Transportation Services and Technologies (AP020). He received his BS in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University and a MS in Environmental Health Sciences from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.



Aaron Golub, Professor, Urban Studies & Planning, Portland State University

Dr. Aaron Golub is a professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University (PSU). He has twenty-five years of experience working in the advocacy and academic arenas on issues of transportation equity and justice. His research focuses on who wins and loses from transportation plans and investments, how we measure those disparities, and how academic research can assist communities to advocate for more equitable transportation systems.



Drusilla van Hengel, PSU Adjunct Faculty and Principal at Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associations

Drusilla van Hengel, PhD, understands how the natural and built environment affect health and decision making related to behavior. Dru has taught at major research universities, led nonprofit organization boards, and served as both the Mobility Coordinator and Supervising Transportation Engineer for the City of Santa Barbara. As the national lead of Nelson\Nygaard’s active transportation sector, she is an expert on Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School, and bicycle and pedestrian planning and design. Dru helps make walking and bicycling viable options for people from one to one hundred by eliminating the cultural, organizational, and design gaps and barriers institutionalized by 70 years of planning for auto-mobility. 

Program Alumni

We've been hosting this study abroad program nearly every summer since 2011, and have introduced 71 students to international concepts in sustainable transportation. Here are just a few of the things our program alumni have to say about their experience:

"I am incredibly excited for the ways this time abroad will serve as a source of inspiration and contribute to an ethos that will guide my future career as a planner."
- PSU Master of Urban and Regional Planning (2023 student)
"I wanted to see Scandinavia’s multimodal sustainable infrastructure in action, to increase my knowledge so I can improve transportation design in my work as an engineer. What I found was a biking paradise in Copenhagen and a pedestrian's dream in Stockholm. From biking to and from the suburbs to five-minute cities; a train every three minutes to e-bike share; a power station run off of recycling, and so many ways to be sustainable. I found that the public transportation system was accessible to all, sustainable, and reliable."
- Transportation Engineer (2022 student)

"The Dutch use the bicycle in a very different way than we do in the US. Without helmets, without spandex, they use the bike as a functional means of moving, rather than for sporting... One of my goals for this trip is to bring some Dutch inspiration back to Portland and to the US. In particular, I'm interested in how road design for bicycling can appeal to not just the "strong and fearless" spandex riders, but to every day people making every day trips."
- Active Transportation Planner (2019 student)

"Riding and experiencing the cycling infrastructure was so important to understanding why it is so successful as was meeting residents and professionals in the Netherlands. As a planner, I found this course very useful for understanding how engineers, both American and Dutch, understand the street. I've also been able to bring back my experience to my practice not just for bicycle infrastructure but forward-looking research on micro-mobility as Europe has some very interesting light vehicles. This was definitely a trip I'd recommend to anyone interested in learning more about bringing cycling infrastructure back to North America."
- New Mobility Planner (2016 student)

"I’ve been Amsterdam and Copenhagen before; so I thought I absorbed most of the advanced pedestrian/bicycle facilities through walking or biking around. But then, I studied abroad with IBPI to The Netherlands and put my previous self-learning experience to shame. With IBPI, you’ll not only look at world class bicycle facilities, you’ll meet some fantastic American colleagues on your trip, live a high quality of life like the Dutch, and begin to accumulate an amazing photo library. If you are own the fence about going, jump off the fence and onto a Dutch bike with IBPI!"
- Transportation Engineer (2013 student)


Contact us at asktrec@pdx.edu if you have any questions.

What is the withdrawal and refund policy?

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. Non-refundable fees include: $50 app fee + $250 Ed Abroad fee

Is there any financial aid available?

There are some financial aid options for Portland State University students. See the PSU Education Abroad Scholarship Resources page for more information.

Why is a recommendation required for my application?

The recommendation (from a faculty member or professional reference) helps us determine if you're academically ready for an immersive education experience abroad. It's not a letter, but rather a fairly quick form that your reference can complete in 10 - 15 minutes. The bulk of the electronic recommendation are drop-down ratings to confirm qualities like "reliability", "adaptability", "motivation" - plus one or two open-ended questions.

What work will students be expected to complete?

It is a five credit class, and so taking notes, reflecting, sketching, and daily summaries 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.

Is language study required? 

No language study is required for this course.