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Villanova Civil Engineering Students Partner with PennDOT

In an effort to promote the use of public transportation and generate revenue in the community, students in Villanova University’s Civil Engineering Senior Transportation Capstone course are working to transform the Coatesville, Pa., Amtrak train station and its surrounding area. Students will create design plans for the development of the station’s growth, which is part of an initiative to bring high-speed rail to Pennsylvania and upgrade Amtrak’s Keystone Line.

The class is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Amtrak to generate creative and pragmatic ideas to solve this real-world problem. Five teams are developing design solutions for railway, road, and context-sensitive designs, as well as land development, mobility, parking, and security concerns. The groups will present their findings on April 15.

The Villanova team has visited the train station; met with PennDOT, Chester County, and the City of Coatesville officials; and attended lectures on topics specific to the scope of their work. The students were also invited to an open forum in the community to ask questions, and heard directly from the city planners and PennDOT design team.

“They got a hands-on and first-hand view of the engineering and social challenges involved with renovating both the station and the area around it,” said Dr. Leslie McCarthy, P.E., assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering who specializes in transportation engineering. “This experience is priceless. We also strive to provide some networking opportunities for our seniors, as they look forward to their careers after graduation in May.”