VILLANOVA, Pa. – The results of a Civil and Environmental Engineering senior capstone design project focusing on transportation engineering could leave a lasting impact on the University campus. Together, the 20 students participating in the current project created a multi-pronged design solution to transform the Villanova Train Station and surrounding area.
"The best part of this project is that students are getting an opportunity to be creative and provide real design recommendations to be considered by the University in the implementation of its future campus master plan," says Leslie McCarthy, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She and Seri Park, Ph.D., P.T.P., Visiting Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, co-instruct the transportation capstone course that challenges students to generate designs for various modes of transportation, including railways, bicycles, pedestrian, and challenging traffic circulation analyses.
Jeffrey Knueppel, Chief Engineer and Assistant General Manager, and Robert Lund, P.E., CE ’78, MSCE ’81, Manager of Structural Engineering, for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), as well as Robert Morro, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management, served as “clients” for this comprehensive senior design project.
Morro taught the first session of the course and outlined project deliverables. Working within a $26 million budget parameter, five groups of four students developed a comprehensive set of design plans for the following scope of work.
In each set of plans, students included options to address any environmental remediation, mitigations for disruption of Amtrak or SEPTA service, and historical preservation issues that may arise as a result of their recommendations. They will also benefit from access to industry experts, such as Gerald Solomon, Director of Project Development and Environmental Review for the Federal Highway Administration.
"In the transportation capstone, we are applying what we have learned previously in conjunction with the massive quantity of additional resources available at our disposal. These resources are the exact guidelines used by professionals to design the roads we drive and walk on every day," says Vanvi Trieu CE ‘12. "The capstone has allowed me to obtain a practical experience in the engineering design world that closely simulates a real job in the profession. It has connected all the bits and pieces of information we have learned over the years. In the end, we were able to fit these pieces together and systematically redesign the entire station and local area."
Students present their findings and recommendations at the annual Civil and Environmental Engineering Day celebration on April 27.