Title

NEW MODEL FOR APPLIED UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: TREN URBANO PROGRAM

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2002

Subject Area

infrastructure - interchange/transfer, planning - education, place - urban, mode - rail

Keywords

University of Puerto Rico, Tren Urbano, Transportation industry, Transportation, Transport, Technology transfer, Research, Rail transit, Professional personnel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Internships, Education

Abstract

In preparation for operating its first modern urban rail transit system, Puerto Rico faces the challenge of creating the human resources knowledgeable in rail transit as well as the construction of the physical infrastructure itself. Because a rail transit system takes a generation or more to build, typically over several phases, professional development is aimed at the students currently in college at the start of their careers. Professional development and academic research have been implemented on the Tren Urbano program through technology transfer activities that develop local expertise in rail transit design, construction, and operations; promote research applicable to Tren Urbano and public transportation; and provide real work experience to university students supervised by practicing professionals. These goals have been pursued over the past 7 years through two programs: the Tren Urbano University of Puerto Rico-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professional Development and Research Program, and the Tren Urbano Student Internship Program. These programs are described and their potential to become a model for applied university research in the public transportation field featuring collaboration between universities, public agencies, and private companies is discussed. Although the initial impetus for the program was driven by the unique Puerto Rican situation, its design, implementation, and evolution have pursued multiple goals that are potentially much more broadly applicable.