Internships Win-Win for Students and Employers Alike


Internships are vital to connecting students with real-world practitioners and applying what they learn in the classroom. For student Stefan Bussey, this real-world experience was gained through working with the Signals, Street Lighting, and ITS Division at the Portland Bureau of Transportation. His assignment during his internship was to evaluate the pedestrian delay at 47 pedestrian crosswalk signals (also known as half-signals) across the city of Portland. 

He assisted in reviewing and modifying the signal timing at half-signals to make them more responsive to pedestrians. The changes he helped implement resulted in an overall 25.3% reduction in maximum pedestrian delay for the signals adjusted. The reduction in pedestrian delay at these crossings may help to increase foot trips and higher rates of pedestrian compliance. When asked about his experience working at the city of Portland, Stefan said, “What I got most out of the internship was a better understanding of how to time signalized intersections to better serve non-motorized modes of transportation while maintaining an acceptable level of service for motorized vehicles.” From the employer perspective, Peter Koonce expressed, “The internship was a great example of a student having a positive impact on the surrounding community by solving a real world problem. The City of Portland is fortunate to have the partnerships in place to have PSU work collaboratively to improve the sustainability of the transportation system.“ To read more about his study, you can download his report here.

Stefan Bussey is currently in his final year at Portland State University pursuing a post baccalaureate degree in Civil Engineering and interning at the Signal Engineering Division of Clark County's Department of Public Works. There he assists with configuring, testing, and installing traffic signal-related software and components. After completing his degree, he intends to pursue a career in transportation engineering. When not spending his time working or studying, Stefan enjoys biking, reading, cooking and spending time with his family.

Stefan's internship was supported by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation, the Institute of Sustainable Solutions at PSU, and OTREC.

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