April 13, 2009
2009 APTA - TRB Light Rail Conference Issue
APTA Sponsors Maryland Student Team in Symposium on Sustainable Transportation
APTA sponsored a team of eighth-grade students from Redland Middle School in Rockville, MD, that participated March 25 in the 9th Annual Garrett A. Morgan Sustainable Transportation for the 21st Century Videoconference Symposium at the U.S. DOT offices in Washington. Teams backed by APTA have won this event, sponsored by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) in San Jose, CA, three times in the past seven years.
The competition brings together transportation experts and middle school students from across the nation to discuss the importance of sustainable transportation.
“Public Bus Safety” is the title of the Redland students’ presentation, which focused on ways to improve safety effectively and efficiently both on and off the bus. The team identified possible changes that could help passengers feel safer while riding the bus and also prevent the accidents that occur outside it.
Other schools with teams participating in the videoconference were George Flamson Middle School, Paso Robles, CA, eighth grade; Loleta Union Elementary School, Loleta, CA, seventh and eighth grades; Riverside Meadows Intermediate School in Plumas Lake, CA, seventh and eighth grades; Riverview Middle School, Oakland, CA, eighth grade; and School of International Studies at Meadowbrook, Norfolk, VA, sixth and seventh grades.
The competing teams delivered presentations and demonstrations on a range of sustainable transportation topics such as alternative energy and fuel sources; fuel conservation; innovations in public bus safety; and passenger transportation. The presentations were followed by a moderated question-and-answer session during which student teams quizzed each other about their projects and sought the advice of experts about preparation for transportation careers and the critical issues they will face in the future.
In his opening remarks at the event, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood spoke about the transportation field and answered questions on national sustainable transportation as a result of President Barack Obama's recently-passed stimulus package. Also speaking at the program were APTA President William W. Millar, MTI Executive Director Rod Diridon, and Caltrans Director Will Kempton.
The participating schools each receive a $50 gift certificate for school supplies. MTI will select and announce the winning project in May; the winning school will receive $1,000, and a teacher, student, and parent from that school will have an expense-paid trip to San Jose for the MTI annual scholarship banquet in June.
Garrett A. Morgan was an African-American inventor honored by Congress for his contributions to transportation and public safety, including the development of the stoplight. The purpose of the program is to introduce students to future career opportunities in transportation and to inspire them to take the high school and college courses that will prepare them for professional careers.
More information about the symposium is available online from MTI, or by contacting Starleetah Gaddis.