Hello, my name is Spencer Maddox, and my third year at Tech will start in the fall. I grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia about 30 miles north of Georgia Tech's campus. The only effective way to get around in Kennesaw is by car. The public transportation system is almost nonexistent and bike friendly travel ways and bike share facilities have only recently been added.
Being from the Metro-Atlanta area, I have experienced the terrible traffic first hand. This semester, since I live right off of campus, I have started to use MARTA. I have enjoyed it going to downtown Decatur, Little Five Points, and even going from train to bus to a mile walk to visit my grandparents in Stone Mountain. I think it is an underutilized system and does not deserve the stigma it receives. It frustrates me that MARTA has repeatedly been denied expansion into Cobb County because of the stigma surrounding it. Just living in Midtown Atlanta this year has really opened my eyes to the public transportation system Atlanta has to offer and contributed to my belief that it should be expanded (especially light rail).
Other cities I have traveled to include Washington, DC. Being a more concentrated city than Atlanta is, it is easier to walk to the downtown area and bike share programs have been in place. While shaped completely differently than Atlanta, DC still has shaped my thinking on transportation. Eliminating cars from the road will help alleviate congestion and lessen CO2 emissions. While Kennesaw or Marietta is nowhere near walking distance to Atlanta, light rail or buses could get commuters downtown effectively. And once in downtown Atlanta, there are plenty of things to do within walking distance.
My goals for this class is to observe the Netherlands transportation system and take ideas from it to see how Metro Atlanta's transportation systems can be improved. I hope to gain inspiration from the Dutch designs. I also have never been to another country for an extended period of time, so I am excited to experience the Dutch culture as well.
Hi, I’m Annie! I am a water engineer and part-time M.S. student in the Environmental Engineering program. You may be wondering what a water engineer is doing in a transportation course in the Netherlands…honestly, I happened across the opportunity when trying to find a summer elective but it couldn’t have been a better coincidence! I read about Dr. Watkins’ trip in 2016 when my boyfriend Matt (who is actually a transportation engineer) and I had recently returned from spending 10 days in the Netherlands bicycle-backpacking between Amsterdam, Haarlem, Lisse, Leiden, Den Haag, Gouda, Utrecht and back to Amsterdam, staying in Airbnbs along the way. Again this spring, we returned to Holland for the tulip festival, this time allowing train travel but taking our rental bikes with us everywhere. Needless to say, we are both taken with the Dutch way of life, especially their transportation. Also- the Netherlands is a fascinating country for water engineering
I am a Midtown Atlanta native. I have always loved Atlanta, but grew up with my 30+ minute interstate commute to school and taking I-85 another half hour to church on weekends. While not the Virginia Highlands of today, my neighborhood was walkable, but that was the extent of sustainable transportation in my life…until I went to college. I did my undergraduate degree in Pittsburgh, PA at Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh had a great bus transportation system. Sure, on weekends you’d wait 30 minutes for the highly desired bus to the Southside with it to only show up full, but this was a system that got people on their buses. CMU, the other universities, and most downtown businesses included bus passes in tuition and as job benefits, causing true bus rush hours, packed full of working professionals and students. It was truly unbelievable to someone who grew up with Marta in the 1990s-2000s.
I still visit Midtown often to enjoy the Beltline, Ponce City, and Krog Street and think it is great what the City has accomplished. While I think the Beltline is wonderful, it is currently more of a destination and not a mode of everyday, active transportation. It would take a more robust and safe network along our roads to provide daily commute options. I already treasure the Dutch infrastructure design methods and understand there are many differences and challenges with implementation back home. I hope that this course will provide a better understanding of how integrated transportation systems can be implemented in US cities like Atlanta.
I'm Alice, a teaching assistant for Sustainable Transport Abroad 2017. This is my second time TAing this course in the Netherlands and my fifth year as a PhD student at Georgia Tech. My dissertation research focuses on the use of quantitative metrics and analysis in urban transportation policy and planning, and I've worked on a number of projects examining planning, accessibility, and safety in the context of sustainable and non-motorized transportation.
I grew up in Chicago (South side, go White Sox!) where I walked, biked, or took the bus pretty much everywhere. There is also a great elevated rail system in Chicago that I rarely used since I didn't live near it. Now when I visit, I use it all the time. Actually, a lot has changed in Chicago in the last ten years, there is now a bike share system and a lot more bicycle infrastructure, the riverfront is now a pleasant, walkable park, and we no longer have a Mayor Daly.
After college I lived in the Spanish Pyrenees for a few years in a region called Catalonia. I didn't want to buy a car, but living in a semi-rural area meant limited transportation. Living in a small town is when I started biking everywhere. I could bike to neighboring towns and not have to rely on the busses that only came through once or twice a day. I soon found out that a lot of people in the region also relied on hitchhiking to fill gaps in transportation options, an option most of us would never think of in the US (plus, it's illegal here for safety reasons). Living in Spain gave me a view of how long distance transportation works in Europe, with lots of trains and buses and overall good, affordable connectivity between cities and countries.
I am excited to meet all of our students this year and looking forward to spending another two weeks in the Netherlands on bikes. My goals for the summer are to continue learning about sustainable infrastructure abroad, especially noting what designs we can bring back to the US; to learn from all of the students and professions joining us on the trip; to not get (too) lost; and to change a tire on a dutch bike as quickly as I can change one on my bike (or just not have to change any at all, let's keep air in those tires!)