Hi! My name is Michelle Henriques and I am a third year Civil Engineering undergraduate. I grew up in the very small town of Roselle Park, New Jersey - so small that we can walk from one end of the one square mile town to the other in a half hour. Although Roselle Park itself did not have its own public transportation system this does not mean I was a stranger to public transportation. Roselle Park is a fifteen minute car ride from one of New Jersey’s biggest cities, Newark, and approximately a 45 minute train ride to New York Penn Station. For these reasons Roselle Park was easily incorporated into many large, robust bus and train routes for commuters into New York City. Growing up in close proximately to Manhattan and visiting often gave me the opportunity to learn about the New York City subway system. Before leaving for college and traveling abroad in Europe I thought the NYC subway system and the New Jersey/New York connection by train was as good as it got when it came to public transportation systems. Despite its many downfalls, it still intrigued me.
2017 truly opened my eyes the most about transportation because of my travels. I had traveled to Portugal to visit family many times before but we always rented a car. Participating in Georgia Tech Lorraine gave me the opportunity to travel to Paris, Munich, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Nice, Monaco, Barcelona, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Vienna, Budapest, and London all by train from the relatively small city of Metz, France. Metz itself had a strong bicyclist population and individual bus lanes that made getting from my dorm to downtown fast, easy, and incredibly reliable. After arriving in Europe I quickly realized how much more efficient and sustainable public transportation could be when cities don’t just focus on vehicles.
I willingly admit I have a lot to learn from the Dutch! I hope this course will not only enrich my knowledge on safe, sustainable multimodal systems but give me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone of math classes and equation based design into a world of systems thinking approach with case study analysis and application. I am excited to learn about the Netherlands and their approach to transportation infrastructure and apply it to Atlanta.