• August 01, 2019

    Looking to K-12 for the future of transportation

    Transportation employees are met with stress and struggle in response to the shortage in transportation work versus the ever growing demands of our current market. One way to solve it: get kids excited about careers in transportation. 

    A PacTrans project, titled, “Inspiring Transportation Careers with K-12 Transportation Curriculum Activities,” led by WSU’s former Research Operations Engineer, Michelle Akin, was presented at Garfield-Palouse STEAM Night late last January. 

    This project brings a broad range of transportation topics to STEM fairs, classrooms, after-school programs, and summer camps, in an attempt to grow transportation knowledge, and interest in transportation education and careers in elementary, middle, and high school students.

    By equipping the next generation of potential transportation workers with a diverse background in multi-modal transportation, and new, innovative, and sustainable ideas, will open the doors to more accessible maintenance, operations, and expansion decision options. 

    With a focus on multi-modal transportation and isolated communities, and through the inclusion of diverse communities, this project aligns with PacTrans’ special topic areas, “Access for All” and “Improved Reliability Across Modes.” 

    Outreach events in Pullman, WA, Moscow, ID, and Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation feature hands-on, transportation-themed activities. Young participants are taught the positive impacts of the mobility, safety, and economic opportunity that will likely come with the future of our transportation system, while being encouraged to pursue a future in transportation. 

    The project was also displayed at Franklin Elementary STEAM Night last October, and the 9th Annual Nez Perce Tribe STEM Fair, pictured above, in Lapwai, ID last December.