Transportation Leadership Education

Nathan McNeil, Portland State University

Summary:

The Portland Traffic and Transportation course serves a number of different purposes. On one hand, it is designed to develop citizens who are informed about the transportation system, including how it got where it is today, what agencies and actors play a role in its operation and development, and how they, as citizens, play a role in its future. In this sense, there is a goal of broadening and deepening the existing knowledge about the system among the general population. On the other hand, there is an implicit goal of encouraging participation in the system with the understanding that doing so is in some way good for advancing a transportation system that works for citizens of the city. People may not consider themselves advocates, but if they are concerned about a certain issue, know how decisions get made around that issue and how to be involved in the decision-making process, they are more likely to be effective in advocating for the change they wish to see. This project is intended produce a course curriculum and implementation handbook to provide transportation education and leadership skills to community residents, activists and leaders. It will first document the effectiveness of the existing course by conducting a case study of the course over time and use that information to provide a blueprint for other communities to replicate the course for their local citizenry. The study will examine the underlying motivations for the course, content, delivery methods and outcomes, including knowledge and skills gained and used by past participants. The project also will identify and assess the current gaps in citizen knowledge and skills that could be incorporated into future courses. A secondary objective of this project is to identify other populations, especially for those typically under-represented in traditional transportation planning processes, who could benefit from such a course and to make recommendations for course content and delivery method. This project will be an updated model course curriculum and handbook for implementation that can be used in cities across the country, with special attention to traditionally underserved populations. The intended outcome is to provide a way to impart knowledge and skills to local residents and activists so they may become more informed and active leaders in their local transportation planning efforts. 17. Key Words Transportation education, community, outreach, leadership 18. D

Impacts:

It is anticipated that the case-study will be a unique documentation of the experience of Portland in educating its citizens to be more informed and involved in transportation decision-making.  Discussions with professionals, advocates and academics around the country confirmed that the Portland Traffic and Transportation Course is unique in its approach to providing a general and utilitarian base of knowledge about the city's transportation system.  It is anticipated that this approach, which has yielded over 1,300 graduates over its 20+ years of existence, has resulted in a unique network of educated citizens.

Project Details

Project Type:
Education
Project Status:
Completed
End Date:
December 31,2015
UTC Grant Cycle:
Tier 1 Round 1
UTC Funding:
$39,000