Background and Transportation in My Hometown
Hi! My name is Laura Kelly and I am a third-year undergraduate Civil Engineering student with a focus in Transportation. I grew up in the town of Lawrenceville, Georgia, and have lived in the same place my entire life. I did not have much exposure to the many modes of transportation I now know about as a youngster; beyond traveling via automobile, I only saw biking as a hobby I would never be really immersed in, and public transportation as an ineffective way to travel when I had a car available to me. As far as traveling went, my family typically stayed in Georgia excluding a few automobile trips to South Carolina or Florida. During the summer of 2018 I interned in the Roadway Design group at the Georgia Department of Transportation. The juxtaposition I witnessed daily was palpable: all my life I had believed cars were the only way to travel, however getting to work I took public transportation and walked, never once relying on my car. And yet, every day at work I solely worked on roadway projects that would benefit cars, and was even told to overlook the complete streets guidelines since it was not a current priority for the department. Since that experience, and during the last two years at Georgia Tech, I have become an avid walker, and most weekends I enjoy going on 6-9 mile walks around Midtown and Downtown. I love thinking about how a high-school Laura would have never considered walking to school just because it seemed so far away, however now I walk double that distance just for fun!
Goals for the Course
I have never been very far outside of Georgia, much less the United States, and have never studied abroad, so I am both excited and nervous for this trip to The Netherlands! As mentioned previously, I really enjoy walking, yet (while I know how to) have never been very big into biking, besides recreationally at parks by my house and at the beach. I really hope this course changes my mind on that and encourages me to bike around campus and to locations outside of campus. I also hope to learn about how The Netherlands’ policies encourage biking in urban areas. I am very excited to learn more about the signing and marking of the streets of Dutch cities, as that is one of my favorite things to learn about within transportation.
I hope to make a lot of friends in this course and improve my communications skills through interactions with transportation professionals and public officials. Lastly, I am looking forward to examining a corridor that is in Atlanta using design guidance from The Netherlands, since I really enjoy working on projects near to my location that I have a personal experience with and genuinely want to improve.