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TRAC Student Event at 2019 TAC Spring Technical Meetings

Thursday, May 2, 2019

On April 5, 17 Ottawa students from Gloucester and Sir Robert Borden High Schools attended a Magnetic Levitation education event held as part of TAC’s Spring Technical Meetings. The activity was planned by TAC’s Education and Human Resources Development Council and funded by donations to the TAC Foundation from Englobe Corp Consulting Engineers and the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories (CCIL).

The event was based on a module from the Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) student outreach program developed by the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The goal of the TRAC program, currently used by 36 U.S. states, is to encourage students from grades 7 to 12 to consider careers in transportation and civil engineering by providing teachers with curriculum enhancements to demonstrate engineering and transportation principles.

The grades 11 and 12 students who participated are part of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program. They were divided into four groups to design and construct MAGLEV cars out of Styrofoam® blocks and magnetic strips with adhesive backing, using the TRAC MAGLEV materials, tools and software. At the end of the session the cars were tested on aluminum tracks fitted with magnetic strips of the opposite pole to that installed on the cars, to determine velocities and acceleration due to gravity at various grades.

The event was led by Kevin Bell, a senior TRAC trainer and high school teacher, from the state of Michigan. Kevin and the TRAC event were extremely well received by the students, their teachers and school board representatives. The two schools were provided a MAGLEV module to share with other students.

Funding is required to support a similar event planned for the 2019 TAC-ITS Canada Joint Conference & Exhibition in Halifax. Ultimately, the successful example of these events can be used to encourage agencies or educational bodies to implement the TRAC program in Canadian jurisdictions, as it has been in the U.S.

If your organization would like to get involved in or sponsor the event this fall, or learn more about the TRAC program, contact Linda Clifton lclifton@aashto.org or Keith Foster keith.foster@englobecorp.com.

The Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories (CCIL) awards scholarships annually, including funding Canada-wide scholarship awarded through the TAC Foundation, for post-graduate study in the field of Materials Engineering (Concrete or Asphalt Technology) and though it’s various partners across Canada. Learn more about CCIL’s scholarships and how to apply, by visiting their website: www.ccil.com/inside/scholarships.