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STEM Education - Increasing awareness about Intelligent Transportation Systems and Connected Vehicle Technologies for High School Students


This topic exposes students to real world transportation problems to demonstrate how transportation planners, technicians and engineers contribute to solving our nation’s environmental and livability challenges. 


A recent report noted that nearly 60 percent of the nation's students who begin high school interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) change their minds by graduation.  "Tying education to the workforce needs is critical to the future of the nation," said STEMconnector CEO Edie Fraser.[1]  Science and engineering careers are expected to grow more than 20 percent by 2018, twice the rate of the U.S. labor force.


This topic is designed to attract and keep middle and high school students’ interest in STEM education by linking their classwork to well-paying jobs in intelligent transportation systems (ITS).  This topic will provide innovative, hands-on, problem based learning to give students the experience of using their education to meet real-world challenges.  Lesson plans are sought that: (1) engage middle and high school students; (2) relate to solving real-world problems in transportation; (3) develop skills needed by the future transportation workforce; (4) deliver internet-based educational resources using innovative media applications such as interactive games; (5) provide awareness and training into the expanding technologies involved with Connected Vehicle research.


The following provides guidance on potential ITS-related lesson plans and/or activity kits, though proposals are not limited to this list:


  • Proposals should focus on STEM lesson plans and hands-on activities to provide an introduction to ITS and Connected Vehicle technologies while focusing on careers for middle and high school students.
  • Proposals should include innovative, interactive, hands-on activities such as:
  • Citizen science:  Collect and analyze traffic data, then propose strategies to improve safety and increase traffic flow in their community. The solutions could be high-tech, low-tech or no-tech.
  • Design contest to alleviate a transportation problem such as distracted driving.
  • Design parking applications for large special events. 
  • Brainstorm methods for reducing fuel consumption or reducing emissions from vehicles.
  • Proposals should include a plan for introducing high technology transportation fields such as, computer simulation and modeling, transportation design engineering, GIS design, automotive and infrastructure electronics.


Expected Phase I Outcomes:


Outcomes expected from Phase I funding include detailed lesson plan(s) for introducing careers in advanced transportation technology for middle and high school students.  The topic should include a framework for creating a collection of lesson plans that is aligned with academic standards and provide opportunities for students to apply contextualized knowledge in real‐world settings.   The lesson plans should be created according to the guidelines maintained by, a NSF-funded collaborative project sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education.  The outcomes will include the identification of the potential market size and customers for the STEM education lesson plans.


Expected Phase II Outcomes:


Future Phase II work may include, but not be limited to, design, deployment, and maintenance of a collection of transportation lesson plans for middle and high school STEM education programs.  This collection would include development of goals for high school and postsecondary completion and entry into the workforce for students in the ITS field.  It would include a plan for integrating the lessons plans with outside guests and extra-curricular activities. As part of Phase II, the commercial viability (business plan) for the STEM ITS/Connected Vehicle lesson plans and any related products will be updated and further detailed.

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