School of Public Policy Expands Transportation Master’s Program

Posted: August 7, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

The School of Public Policy will begin offering its master’s program in transportation policy, operations, and logistics in Suffolk this fall. The program will be offered in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Hampton Roads District and will be broadcast via interactive television from the Arlington Campus. Classes begin in the new location on Aug. 29.

The program, which started in fall 2000 and graduated its first students in May, offers an innovative combination of subjects, with the objective of preparing students to become leaders in the highly competitive and integrated modern transportation industry. Faculty members are drawn from a broad range of academic disciplines, including civil engineering, economics, public policy, and urban planning. Students come from an equally diverse set of undergraduate backgrounds in business, engineering, and public administration, and work in all sectors of the transportation industry, including aviation, highway, maritime, public transit, pedestrian, and defense.

The addition of the new location continues the program’s commitment to using distance learning technology to extend its geographic reach throughout Virginia and beyond. “The use of interactive television technology adds enormously to the program’s ability to have a diverse group of students in the ‘classroom,'” says Jonathan Gifford, director of the program. “The transportation industry is so diverse that it is extremely useful to have students from a variety of backgrounds and industry sectors participating.” The program has three other distance learning sites in Richmond, Abingdon, and Blacksburg.

VDOT has been an invaluable partner in making the program available to its employees in locations throughout the commonwealth, says Gifford. “Some of our best students and most valuable in-class contributions come from the VDOT students’ extensive experience in the field, dealing with real world transportation problems.”

The Hampton Roads program is limited initially to employees of VDOT and other government agencies. Future plans include expansion of its availability to private sector transportation professionals throughout the region, potentially at another location. For more information visit the program’s web site or call (703) 993-8099.

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