IBPI Study Abroad: Sustainable Transportation in Denmark and Sweden

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Portland State University presents an introduction to sustainable transportation and land use applications in the context of Denmark and Sweden through a spring 2022 term course (1 hour/week) that culminates in a two-week study abroad program in the summer.

Interested in potential study abroad opportunities in 2023? Sign up here to be notified.

The 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 and Sweden in terms of 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 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.

We've been hosting a similar university student course in the Netherlands for several years. See photos from the 2022 course2019 course2016 course and 2015 course

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


This program is open to college seniors and graduate students from any university. 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 four-credit course (CE 495 / 595) in civil engineering, cross-listed with urban planning and studies courses. New to this year, this program has two components:

  • A spring term seminar from March 28 - June 5, 2022 for 1 hour per week (delivery: attend anywhere) to discuss readings and prepare for the trip.
  • A two-week study abroad travel component to be held at the end of the term from June 18 - July 2, 2022.

Learn more about the 2022 study abroad program:


Applications are now open: apply here by February 18, 2022.

  • 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).


Program Fee: $5,460
Additional Estimated Costs: $1,940
Total Estimated Costs: $7,400


  • 4 credits (USP or CE 495/595)
  • Housing
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Bike rental in Copenhagen
  • Transport passes in Stockholm
  • Round trip train tickets
    • Copenhagen - Stockholm
  • Two day-trips to nearby cities
  • Guest lectures, site visits and cultural excursions
  • Education Abroad service fee
  • International Health Insurance
  • 24/7 on-site support


  • International round-trip airfare (estimated at $1,300)
  • Airport transfer in Copenhagen ($40)
  • Additional meals (estimated at ($396)
  • Personal spending money (estimated at $200)
  • Passport or visa 
    • US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program


Are you a Portland State University 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, TREC at Portland State University

John MacArthur is the Sustainable Transportation Program Manager at TREC at Portland State University. 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. Contact John if you have any questions about this program: macarthur@pdx.edu

Hau Hagedorn, Associate Director, TREC at Portland State University

As the Associate Director of TREC, Hau seeks to increase diversity across the transportation workforce and improve the impact of transportation research. She manages several TREC programs: research through PSU’s USDOT-funded UTC; the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation; high school transportation camps; and a national bicycle and pedestrian transportation data archive. Hagedorn is co-chair of TRB’s Innovation Implementation Committee, serves as chair of the Governor-appointed Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and is a member of the TriMet Crash Advisory Committee. She just completed her service on the City of Portland’s Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility committee.

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:

"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)


Watch a recording of an info session that was held on November 12, 2021. Contact us at asktrec@pdx.edu if you have any questions.

What is the withdrawal and refund policy?

Below is the policy from the 2020 course. When applications open for 2022, this may be changed.

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 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.

Is language study required? Do the Dutch speak English?

No language study is required for this course. School is taught in both Dutch and English in the Netherlands.