Education - Page 6 - Keeping us on the move

- Page 6
Keeping us on the move
Transportation programs aim to meet changing needs

By Carol Sorgen, Contributing Writer

For Jeremy Weiss, Morgan State University offers the opportunity to pull together his many disparate interests that range from city planning and urban transportation to social justice and human rights. In addition to his graduate studies in city and regional planning, Weiss, 28, is further pursuing those interests by working as a research assistant in Morgan’s newly formed Urban Mobility and Equity Center (UMEC).

UMEC is the lead member of a three-university consortium funded by a $1,402,200 U.S. Department of Transportation grant that has established a second University Transportation Center at Morgan. UMEC will focus on research to improve the mobility of people and goods in an environmentally sustainable and equitable manner. In addition to Morgan, the consortium includes the University of Maryland, College Park, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). All three institutions have strong track records in transportation research.

Weiss is particularly interested in non-motorized transit in urban areas such as bicycles and pedestrian walkways.

“Transportation is so integral to the economic viability of a city,” says Weiss, who is originally from Westchester, N.Y., and has seen first-hand how access to public transportation plays a vital role in the personal and professional lives of residents.

“Many low-income urban residents in the United States experience a spatial mismatch between affordable housing and jobs,” says Andrew Farkas, Ph.D., director of the National Transportation Center at Morgan, who also directs UMEC. “They contend daily with poor access to economic opportunity. Baltimore and other urban areas are constrained by aging infrastructure and congestion, and transportation of goods can burden nearby residential areas.”

UMEC’s research focus is “Mobility of Goods and People,” with a particular emphasis on improving access to jobs through such transportation means as ride-sharing and car-sharing, and improvement of transit systems that better meet the needs of people traveling for economic opportunities.

The Center will also establish a public interest research and community technical assistance program to develop problem-solving projects that address citywide and community concerns, such as employment access and economic development. UMEC also will promote education and research opportunities for minorities and women to prepare them for transportation careers.

Onsite and Online Studies at University of Maryland

The University of Maryland’s Transportation Engineering Program (TEP) provides its students with in-depth knowledge of the range of topics that are of importance to the field of transportation, from the more traditional areas of transportation planning, travel behavior, traffic operations, safety, and design to system optimization, transportation economics and policy, infrastructure vulnerability and protection, emissions estimation, and sustainability analysis.

With expertise in all modes of transport, TEP students are trained to tackle problems involving both passengers and freight that arise along our roadways, airways, railways and waterways. “The problems that arise in the interdisciplinary field of transportation are complex and continue to change in character with changes in society, technology and the environment,” says civil engineering professor Ali Haghani, who coordinates the Transportation Graduate Program. “TEP recognizes that to develop professionals who are capable of analyzing and solving these difficult problems, students must master material in many disciplines, including mathematics, computer science, architecture and urban planning, operations research and management science, logistics, economics, and psychology.”

On the College Park campus, students can pursue both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in transportation engineering; the online program offers a master of engineering. The programs are supported by the National Transportation Center and the Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies, both housed in the University’s department of civil and environmental engineering.

The job outlook is good for students pursuing degrees in transportation engineering, according to Haghani. “Transportation is an important sector of our economy,” he says. With the training TEP provides and an emphasis on both academic education and professional development, graduates have found jobs as professors and researchers at universities and research institutes in the United States and abroad; as industry experts in local, national, and international firms; and in local, state and federal governments.

Training for Transportation Jobs at CCBC

Through its Transportation, Distribution, and Maritime Logistics Institute, Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) is providing the type of education and training needed to fill jobs in the local community, now and in years to come.

The Institute is a “one-stop resource” for transportation-related courses, both credit and non-credit, according to Institute Manager Nancy Kukay.

With the development of Tradepoint Atlantic, a 3,100-acre multimodal industrial site that features a combination of access to deep-water berths, railroads and highways, Baltimore is poised to become the leading port on the East Coast.

“We want to ensure that employers have access to a trained workforce and that employees have the skills needed to pursue their chosen career path in the field of transportation,” says Kukay.

Students can pursue either an associate of applied science degree in transportation, distribution and maritime logistics (TDML), or certificates and continuing education courses in TDML or related fields such as commercial vehicle operator and supply chain management.

A broad range of positions are needed in the transportation industry, according to Kukay, from workers who are required to keep equipment running to those who move, store, schedule, and deliver the goods and services our economy depends upon. Just as important are the workers and managers who manage the complete supply chain that companies need to reach their endconsumer, from air, rail, water, and truck transportation to urban transit and ground passenger transportation, warehousing, and storage.

Specific jobs that students can train for include drivers, diesel mechanics, pilots, forklift operators, supply chain specialists, schedulers and dispatchers, warehouse technicians, port and terminal workers and many more.

“Transportation is a growing field and not just in Baltimore,” says Dean of Instruction Dennis E. Seymour of the School of Business, Education, Justice, and Law. “How to provide goods and services better, cheaper and faster is our challenge today and for the future.” •

Where the jobs are

The favorable outlook in Baltimore for jobs in the transportation industry is driven by several factors, including the development of Tradepoint Atlantic and the Port of Baltimore.

Tradepoint Atlantic, privately owned by investors Hilco Global and Redwood Capital Investments and located in Sparrows Point on the former site of Bethlehem Steel, is expected to generate thousands of jobs. It is working with Maryland’s Department of Transportation to ensure that employees from inner city Baltimore have convenient means of transportation for employment at Sparrows Point.

Another plus for Baltimore’s role as a leader in the transportation field is the Port of Baltimore, whose productivity is ranked as best in the nation by the Journal of Commerce.

The Port of Baltimore currently handles 71 containers per hour, per berth, and employs 13,000 workers. With its designation as the country’s fastest port, expectations are high that even more new business will be attracted, leading to additional job openings.

The potential for more jobs comes from more ships coming through the expanded Panama Canal and ships destined for Tradepoint Atlantic. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has said that he is confident that Baltimore will see 10,000 direct jobs within the next decade along with 7,000 indirect jobs. In addition to jobs, the Port of Baltimore now generates $310 million in state and local taxes. •