Monday, 19 April 2010

Civil Engineering Service Learning project investigates student transport


Civil Engineering Students, enrolled in the extended programme, are investigating the possibility of establishing a shuttle service for students at the Bellville Campus.

This study, which forms part of a Service Learning Project, was initiated by Engineering Communication Skills lecturer, A. Neil Peffer.

Service Learning Projects, which are managed by the Service Learning Unit, see students working with the community on projects related to their courses. The students are evaluated and marks are allocated.

As part of the project, the group of 42 students visited the University of Cape Town (UCT) during April to investigate the Jammie Shuttle Service, which is one of the most successful student transport systems at a higher education institution.

During their first visit to UCT they conducted a survey to establish students’ views on the service. The second visit saw students interact with Jammie Shuttle Service officials, who gave insight into their daily operations.

With 30 buses on the road, operating from 6am to 1pm daily, the core purpose of the shuttle service is to transport students to and from residences and between the campuses. Operating from 12 routes, the shuttle transports 35 000 students daily.

Officials said setting up a shuttle service will benefit students. However, they warned that it was not an easy task as the shuttle service had to comply with national transport regulations. Peffer said the interaction with UCT students and the officials was “extremely valuable” for the purpose of the project.

“The students have a general picture of what is happening at another university,” he said.

During the next few weeks, students will conduct surveys at the Bellville campus to determine the transport needs of CPUT students and analyse their findings.

They will then compile a report, outlining their findings and recommendations on the development of a shuttle service for CPUT.

Peffer, who has initiated several Service Learning Projects in the Civil Engineering Department, said it is vital for students to interact with the community.

“One day as civil engineers they will have to work with the community. The community will be their clients,” he said.

Civil Engineering student Kelsi Jameson said the group has enjoyed interacting with the community and working on a project outside of the classroom setting.

By Candes Keating

Photograph: Civil Engineering students examine the student transport facilities at the University of Cape Town, in order to investigate how campus shuttle systems operate.

Written by CPUT News