01/29/10

Shout Out to St. Olaf Shout Out to St. Olaf

TLC Bike Walk Staff would like to extend a hearty thanks to the senior math students at St. Olaf College. As part of the NTP program, we are working with our pilot partners to develop a model for estimating biking and walking at the community level. No such model exists. While there are very accurate models for estimating vehicular traffic and transit, good models don't exist for biking and walking. Developing a model is a key part of our program measurement.

Last fall St. Olaf Professors Steve McKelvey and Urmila Malvadkar invited us to submit a problem for their math department winter Practicum. We jumped at the chance to hand off the issues we had with a bike/ped model to the senior students for the "Ole" college try.

Happily, our problem was accepted. During the first week of January, we presented data and a summary of our concerns regarding the model to the young students. We wondered if the complex issues with the model would be too much for the group to tackle. When the students came to TLC offices in late January to present their solution, we were very pleased.

We arranged a web conference to allow our colleagues at USDOT and the other pilots to listen in and question the students. The five students provided a thorough presentation of all problems we had previously identified, and a few we had not. Furthermore, they provided a menu of options to improve the model, including additional counts and surveys that will certainly benefit the measurement efforts this year.

TLC Bike Walk Twin Cities wish to recognize Briana Griffin, Jonathan Woolums, Bryant Torkelson, Ian Gacheru and Diedre Kiefer for demonstrating outstanding collaboration and analytical skill while formulating a fresh solution to our practicum problem. Each of them will soon graduate from St Olaf, so keep an eye out for these rising stars.

 

St. Olaf senior math students (from l to r) Ian Gacheru, Bryant Torkelson, Briana Griffin, Diedre Kiefer and Jonathan Woolums. (Photo credit: Tony Hull)