Rachel McGoff '17, (civil engineering); Shyla Lintz '18, (civil engineering); and Meg Sangimino '17, (civil engineering)  

This summer, Professor Michelle Beiler led three civil engineering students in an investigation of sustainable transportation networks, focusing specifically on trails. The trail-related projects covered both local and regional objectives for promoting pedestrian and cycling mobility. 

Rachel McGoff '17
This summer, my research was centered on identifying collector pathways on trails as a way to expand trail networks. This project was based on past research by Professor Beiler on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, which is a 9.2-mile trail from Lewisburg to Mifflinburg. With the goal of determining travel demand, routes and access points, our research aimed to prioritize the pathways that are used to access the trail in order to provide pedestrian and cycling improvements to those pathway facilities. The methodology used in our research can be applied regionally by transportation planners in order to establish spurs and collector paths to extend and connect trail networks throughout the nation.

Shyla Lintz '18
My summer research focused on the infrastructure development process related to the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail. For my research, I utilized a sustainable rating system for shared-use path development called GreenPaths, which was developed as part of a previous summer undergraduate research project by Professor Beiler and Emily Waksmunski (CEEG '13). I applied this rating system to three different development phases on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail. Section I was the existing trail (post-development), section II was under development, and section III is a proposed section of trail. The results of GreenPaths provide insight into how to enhance the sustainability of the planning, design and construction phase of trail development.

Meg Sangimino '17
For my summer research project, I focused on trail networks at the regional level. With the establishment and growth of megaregions, large networks of metropolitan areas, infrastructure networks such as roads and rail are essential to mobility. I studied the pedestrian and cycling network connectivity in two megaregions: the Northeast Corridor and Northern California. Through a spatial comparison using Geographic Information Systems, I was able to correlate the trail network connectivity to spatial factors such as population density and road/rail networks. In addition, I aimed to determine the similarities and differences between the east and west coast megaregions with regard to pedestrian/cycling mobility.

These three projects aimed to promote trail development with the goal of supporting sustainable mobility within the local area as well at the regional level.

Advisor: Professor Michelle Beiler