1. Students in the class provide a needed service: The Millcreek Lions Club and the County of Salt Lake have approached me requesting that I work with them to address traffic control problems in the Millcreek neighborhood. Traffic routed improperly has become a safety issue and has greatly contributed to the deterioration in the neighborhood especially for seniors and children. Too much traffic on neighborhood streets has cut off access by foot and isolated parts of the neighborhood from what used to be a more cohesive unit.

2. The service experience relates to the subject matter of the course: In traffic engineering, you teach students that you need to inhibit speed and flow of traffic in residential areas. The opportunity to apply these concepts will teach students how to go about getting into the community, how to work with residents, community organizations and governmental entities. There aren’t classes in engineering that teach students how one goes about talking to people in a community about their needs. But engineering graduates need to be more than just fine technicians. They need to understand that their design solutions will influence human beings and affect the character of a neighborhood and this is part of what the service in this class will do.

3. Activities in the class provides a method or methods for students to think about what they learned through the service experience and how these learning related to the subject of the class: Preliminary classroom designs will be compared with those developed after contact with the community. Students will be required to write about how their designs have been influenced by community concerns.

4. The course offers a method to assess the learning derived from the service. Credit is given for the learning, and its relations to the course, not for the service alone: Students will assess the learning derived through peer group evaluation of projects and presentations. These presentations will be given in a community forum and critiqued by other students in the class, the County Engineer and the community.

5. Service interactions in the community recognize the needs of service recipients, and offer an opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of the service: The community first came to me, presenting the needs. Students will work continuously with the residents to understand the problems, then to design traffic solutions. Finally, students will present their findings and solutions to the Community and the County in public meetings and will get feedback from both as to how to improve their projects.

6. The service activities are aimed at the development of the civic education of students: Civic education will be enhanced through the exposure of the students to the complex interaction between small local groups and local governments. Community residents have expressed dissatisfaction with the County Engineer’s Office and the County has expressed frustration that it does not have the resources to deal with traffic problems at the neighborhood level. Students in this course will serve as a liaison, helping both the neighborhood and the County to understand and solve these traffic problems.

7. Knowledge from the discipline informs the service experiences with which the students are involved: Students will see firsthand how a decision about street A will affect street B, and they will have the opportunity to get the resident’s response to their design solutions. Cold, hard engineering principles will be tempered by the practicalities of dealing with the community. Students will learn the technology in the classroom and apply it to the community, but they will come to understand that there’s much more to traffic engineering than technology.

8. The class offers a way to learn from other class members as well as from the instructor: Students will work together in small groups. These groups will then work on different aspects of the traffic engineering problems and solutions. Each group will do presentations in class as well as at community forums, coming together to create the entire project. There will be de-briefing sessions back in the classroom afterwards.


CVEn 571 Traffic Engineering
Prerequisites: It is assumed that each of you have completed CvEn 370 and CvEn 420. These courses dealt with:
CvEn 370 Transportation Engineering – An introduction to planning, design and operation principles and practices of transportation systems.
CvEn 420 Urban Systems – An introduction to urban land use planning, urban system models and various quantitative planning techniques.

Course Objectives
Transportation studies encompasses a wide variety of disciplines. The Traffic Engineering course has been designed to provide you with an insight into traffic control and management techniques. The syllabus states: Application of traffic control devices and management techniques for improving traffic flow and safety.

The learning should equip you to:
1. Have a basic understanding of the principles of traffic flow theory
2. Acquire a critical view of traffic design guides and manuals.
3. Develop your own independent analyses of simple traffic problems.
4. Acquire an understanding of the way traffic engineering relates to community issues

Your Instructor
If you have a problem that troubles you enough to want to seek help from your instructor, the best and quickest way to communicate is through electronic mail, so try that first.
Dr. Peter T. Martin
MEB 4104

Course Text: The course will adhere closely to the following text:
Adolf D. May, Traffic Flow Fundamentals, Prentice Hall, 1990
(I strongly advise you to have access to your own copy for the duration of the course). The book should be supplemented with your own notes. There are several other good texts which may be useful for supplementary reading:

Garber NJ & Hoel LA, Traffic and Highway Engineering, West Publishing, St Paul. MN.
1988 Yhisti, C. Jotin, Transportation Engineering: An Introduction, Prentice Hall, Engellwood Cliffs, NJ, 1990.
Morlok, E.K., Introduction to Transportation Engineering and Planning, McGraw Hill Inc., New York, 1978.
Oglesby CH & Hicks RG, Highway Engineering, (4th Edition) John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1982
Wright PH & Paquette RJ, Highway Engineering, (4th Edition) John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1982
Wright, P.H., and Ashford, N.J., Transportation Engineering: Planning and Design, (3rd Edition) John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1989.

Your grade will be influenced by how well your reports meet the following requirements:

  • Write clearly, and don’t be afraid to state the obvious
  • Use the third person passive in the past tense
  • Write your reports so that a Freshman Civil and Environmental Engineering student could understand them.
  • Don’t ramble or repeat yourself (waffle)
  • Remember: “Quality triumphs over Quantity”
  • Don’t make things up.
  • Avoid slang.
  • Be your own editor – check your reports yourselves and don’t let your Instructor be the first to read them.
  • Staple or bind all sheets together.
  • Words are tools. Use the correct tool for each job.
  • All reports must be typed
  • Clearly state the goals and objectives of the report.
  • Describe the background to the subject matter, i.e. put the report into context.
  • Provide a brief historical review
  • Numerical work should be tabulated where appropriate, e.g. if more than one set of similarly obtained or treated figures are being dealt with. Ensure that tables are not spread over two pages – start a table on a fresh page, if necessary, to avoid this.
  • Number and title all tables, and refer to them by number in the text of your report, e.g. when discussing your results.
  • State clearly your units in all numerical work. State clearly, in the appropriate section, what graphs have been plotted and/or used.
  • The Discussion section shows how you interpret your findings. It is the place where you demonstrate your understanding of the field and how the views and feelings of the local community influence your recommendations.
  • The Conclusions section addresses the introduction by stating the outcome of the exercise. This section is provided to answer the reader question: “what does it all amount to?”
  • State plainly the answers to the objectives, posed in the introduction
  • The References part enables readers to follow-up your work. All material referred to should be listed giving chapter, author, date, full title and publisher. Here you show where you located the source of your expected results.
  • The Appendix is a collection of all the miscellaneous items which should be in the report, but which would spoil the flow of the main sections.
  • The grading will be a two stage process. An initial draft will be submitted and criticized. The better the initial draft, the more incisive the suggestions will be, so strive to submit your initial draft in its most mature form. Failure to submit an initial draft will inevitably result in a lower score for the final report. A ceiling score of 75% will be applied to final reports that have not been preceded by initial reports.
  • Late final reports will not be graded.
  • Append your annotated interim report to your final report.

Community Project Brief
Speed Problems in Millcreek

The good people of East Evergreen Avenue, Millcreek have a traffic problem. A posted speed limit of 25 mph seems to be consistently ignored by drivers making speedy short-cuts.

The Salt Lake County Engineers Department measured speeds along the road using pneumatic tube detectors. Their data is attached.

Analyze the data and write a technical report, which shall be submitted to the Millcreek- Lions Club. You must address the following general issues:

  • Is the speed limit being broken?
  • Has there been a change in speed and volume since the 1986 survey’?

    Your analysis should take the form of:

  • Graphical representation of the data – plotted distributions, cumulative frequency plots
  • Time Mean Speeds
  • Space Mean Speeds
  • Modal Speeds
  • Median Speeds
  • Standard Deviations
  • Comment on the nature of the speed distributions
  • Assess the adequacy of the 3 sample sizes assuming a confidence level of 95% and bound on error of +/-I mph

Report Format
1. Title Page – This should include the assignment number, the title, the class name the due date and your name.
2. Executive Summary – Succinctly identify the nature of the study, the motivation for the study, the general characteristics of the methodology, and the principle conclusions and recommendations. (3-4 paragraphs)
3. Background – Describe in more detail the nature of the study, the questions being addressed, the theoretical basis for the analysis, and any other pertinent background information. (About a page)
4. Approach – Describe in moderate detail what you did, with specific reference to the theoretical justification for your work. (About a page)
5. Results – Present your results in summarized form that is easy to follow, using summary tables and charts where appropriate. Detailed work sheets and voluminous interim results should be banished to an appendix, or omitted altogether, if this helps to improve legibility. Include any recommendations and their justification. (About a page of text, plus any tables and figures)
6. Appendices (if needed).

The first part of this project addresses the technical aspects of the traffic problem. You are required to provide a detailed typed report. You will have to research the topic thoroughly by a library study and by making contact with industrial and comniercial organizations in the field. You should review and reference all published material. You may wish to contact manufacturers for trade literature. In essence, your report will:

  • review the historical development
  • describe current techniques
  • point to the future

The second part of this project will expose you to the effect of introducing your designs to the local community. The product of this exercise will be a report that has been modified by those non-technical issues so important to traffic engineering.

If you discharge this assignment effectively, you will:

  • have learned how to gather technical and commercial information from a variety of sources
  • be skilled at using a contemporary ‘electronic’ library
  • understand how and why there is so much more to traffic engineering than just engineering

There follows a list if topics and issues which are provided to guide you in the compilation of your reports. Although wide ranging, it should not be considered exhaustive.

Speed categories and classifications
Accident records

When did the ‘problem’ emerge?
What attempts have already be made’?

The Community Group
How do community pressure groups work’? What are their resources?
What is their status?
How effective have they been in the past What drives them?
How are they constituted?
Who are the officers?
What are the characteristics of the organization?
How many people?
Where do they live?
Where do they work?

The Government Engineers
How does the Engineering Department function?
What are their resources?
What is their legal status?
What is their budget?
How are they constituted?
Who are the officers?
How do they relate to City and State organizations’.’

Data Accuracy and Precision
What degree of error is associated with the systems?
What are the variables that influence control?
How repeatable are the measurements?