By Maya Bouchet, USC Price School, BS PPD 2018
On February 10th, 2018 four students from University of Southern California (USC) headed to UC Irvine to defend their title as prior year champions of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Annual Traffic Bowl. I was a member of the four-person USC team. The competition also included student teams from PSR partner universities California State University Long Beach (CSULB), University of California Irvine (UCI), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and from local universities Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) and California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). These student competitors represented various courses of transportation study, including planning and engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
The judges, in true Jeopardy spirit, asked participants to model their answers in the form of a question: “What is…?” The first round split up the six teams into two sections. The first section included UCLA, USC, and CSULB, and in the second section were Cal Poly Pomona, UCI, and Cal State Fullerton. Students answered questions pertaining to transportation-themed trivia: alternate modes; ITE facts, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highway (MUTCD), acronyms, and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design. As a team member, I am proud to say that USC team beat UCLA in their round, but unfortunately could not exceed Cal State Long Beach’s impressive bank of technical knowledge.
Photo courtesy of Eric Shen
All the participating students watched the second section, anticipating who would advance to the final round with Cal State Long Beach. It was a close race during the general trivia questions. All teams had positive scores, making them eligible to move into another round that asked the groups to name 10 of the 13 colors recognized in the MUTCD to be appropriate for traffic signs. Ultimately, UC Irvine dominated the other teams and landed its spot in the finals against Cal State Long Beach. The final round was another close one, and ended with the final question: name 10 of the ITE districts, and Cal State Long Beach was announced the winner and proud owner of the Traffic Bowl 2018 title.
While our USC team was saddened to give up the Traffic Bowl this year, we walked away ready to strategize for next year’s competition. With fresh faces and excitement at the event, including brand new USC ITE Chapter President Rachel Krusenoski we believe that next year will be a successful one for USC!
About the Author: Maya Bouchet
Maya Bouchet is a Policy, Planning, and Development student and an avid rider of the Los Angeles Metro. After graduation this May, she plans to work in Downtown Los Angeles at an engineering / planning consulting firm. Feel free to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org