Education Matters: figuring out new ways to get to school


FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The Fresno State transportation institute works to improve transportation issues all around the Central Valley. Now, the institute is helping kids imagine new ways to get to class.

“The number one issue that came up was safety, safety,” said teacher Efrain Tovar.

Students from Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Selma are among a group of students involved in a big project that could one day change how they get to and from school.

“We are really a student centered project so the challenge that we put out was how do you make walking to school safer,” said FSU Associate Professor Dr. Christian Wandeler.

Dr. Wandeler, a research professor, came up with the transportation challenge as a way to get young people involved.

“Get them involved around transportation related issues not only related to engineering but transportation equity how to make the community safer.”

Along with Selma Unified, west Fresno elementary and middle schools also participated in the challenge. The kids did the research and looked at traffic patterns around their school.

Students from Abraham Lincoln Middle School brought their projects to Fresno State and presented before a panel that included engineering professors.

Their ideas included an electric skateboard, a capsule that would transport students through a tube, and a cell phone app to help students map the safest route to school.

Participating in this project has opened up a whole new world for many of these students.

“It makes me more interested in engineering and science,” said student Jerry Perez. “More than I use to be, now it’s more fun to me.”

The students’ work doesn’t end in the classroom. They are now holding community meetings and bringing their concerns and solutions to the public.

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