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Travel Mode


  • Pricing
  • Combining Dissimilar Factors

MEA Description: The Travel Mode Choices MEA requires the teams of students to develop a generalized procedure to rank a student's preferred travel mode based on a set of parameters. The University of Central Florida is developing a master development plan and is trying to determine which modes of travel will be utilized most as the university grows. Based on survey results from students, the university would like a mechanism for determining which mode of transportation a student is most likely to take to get to campus. Among other things, the survey results contain such diverse information as how far a given student is from bus stops in numbers of blocks, bus frequency in minutes, how much parking would cost if the student were to drive, and whether that student owns a car. Students must develop a mechanism for taking information with a wide variety of units and assimilating that information into a ranking system.

Implementation Strategy:

  1. Individual Activity � Individually, students read a page from the student handbook and an internal memo from the client which establishes the need to create a procedure to predict a student's preferred travel mode based on the results of a brief survey. Students individually begin to explore why an individual would select various travel options. The focus is on establishing what options are available and why an individual would choose one option over another.
  2. Team Activity � In teams of 4, students develop a procedure for converting survey results into a rank ordered list of preferred travel methods. This procedure is expressed in the form of a memo to the client describing the ranking process.

Six Principles:

Principle Description How the principle is addressed in the MEA?
Model Construction Ensures the activity requires the construction of an explicit description, explanation, or procedure for a mathematically significant situation
Describe the mathematical model the students will be developing when solving this MEA:
  • What are the elements?
  • What are the relationships among elements?
  • What are the operations that describe how the elements interact?
Elements – Factors (Own car?, Cost, Freq) and available modes of transportation
Operators – Add/subtract/weighting of factors
Relationships – Ranking of subsystems
Reality Requires the activity to be posed in a realistic engineering context and be designed so that the students can interpret the activity meaningfully from their different levels of mathematical ability and general knowledge
Describe the context. What is the story?
What knowledge will students need to bring to this problem?
What background information must be provided?

Describe how the problem is open-ended.
Transportation – mode choices
Public transit organization
University planning
Self-Assessment Ensures that the activity contains criteria the students can identify and use to test and revise their current ways of thinking
What is provided in this MEA that students can use to test their ways of thinking?
Using their procedure on the sample cases to provide rankings for 3 test cases.
Model-Documentation Ensures that the students are required to create some form of documentation that will reveal explicitly how they are thinking about the problem situation
What documentation are the students being asked to produce in this MEA?
Memo to the client
Construct Share-Ability and Re-Usability Requires students produce solutions that are shareable with others and modifiable for other engineering situations
What will indicate to the students that a sharable, reusable, or generalizable solution is desired?
Sharable – produce a model that the board and LYNX can use for planning.
Generalizable – Should be able to use for other cases
Effective Prototype Ensures that the solution generated must provide a useful prototype, a metaphor, for interpreting other situations
What are other examples of structurally or conceptually similar problems that would required a similar solution?
Choice models and Trade-offs
Utility – also applicable to business

Author Information:

  • Original Author(s):
    • Euridice Oware
  • Assisted by:
    • Tamara Moore
    • Carla Gerberry
    • Irene Mena
    • Matthew A. Verleger


Tested in ENGR106 - Spring 2006 Originally written - Spring/Summer 2005