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Engineering team to compete in Collegiate Traffic Bowl Championship

Mon, 07/28/2014

LAWRENCE — A team from the University of Kansas School of Engineering has earned a spot among the top minds in traffic engineering who will compete next month for the Collegiate Traffic Bowl Grand Championship. Nine teams will gather from Aug. 10-13 in Seattle for the event, sponsored by Institute of Traffic Engineers.

Civil engineering graduate students, Shivraj Patil, Vishal Sarikonda Reddy and Mazharali Udaipurwala, all of India, and undergraduate student Allison Bruner, Topeka, qualified for nationals by winning the Midwestern district traffic bowl earlier this summer.

“Our win at regionals was a true team effort,” said Patil, who serves team captain. “Each person knew the material and made substantial contributions. We’ll be well-prepared for nationals, and we expect big things are still ahead for us.”

Teams in the Traffic Bowl compete in a "Jeopardy"-style quiz in which they are given a traffic or transportation-related fact and must answer in the form of a question. See sample questions here.

The Federal Highway Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is the source material for the competition as well as one category focused on the ITE. Traffic signals serve as the buzzers, which teams can activate at the conclusion of the question. The first team to buzz in gets 5 seconds to discuss their response before answering.

“The competition is designed to cover the basics, but it’s a big manual. They aren’t extremely difficult, but it can still be tricky,” Patil said. “For example, we had one question about how many faces a traffic signal can have. The answer is five, but you still have to think about it for a second, and in the heat of the competition, it’s easy to get tripped up if you’re not careful.”

A team from Toronto is among the finalists slated to compete at nationals, so in addition to combing through the U.S. version of the MUTCD again to ensure they’re properly prepared, the KU team also must study Canadian traffic guidelines.

“The team has divided up all the manuals to review, and we get together once a week to go over everything,” Patil said. “We stand a good chance of doing well. We know the answers, so buzzing in at the right time is a big part of the equation, and we did well with that at regionals.”

KU previously won the regional competition in 2009 and 2011, advancing to nationals three years ago. The Traffic Bowl grand champion claims a $2,000 prize.

The Western and Midwestern regional competitions were combined this year, with each group sending a winner to nationals. Through a chance encounter at a conference mixer the night before the Traffic Bowl, KU wound up with a strong showing in a separate event, known as the Kell Competition, a tradition in the Western district.

According to the ITE website, the Kell Competition is intended to give student members at the annual meeting an opportunity to apply transportation and traffic engineering classroom knowledge to a specific “real-world” problem. 

This year’s event focused on constructing the seating layout of a bus, based on ADA compliance, aisle space and other requirements. Teams had five minutes to physically lay out their design with chairs inside a taped outline that served as the bus. The teams were a mixture of students from all schools attending, and KU had a student on each of the top three finishers.  

“We had no idea (this competition) was happening,” Patil said. “We just went to a mixer for all the teams and we were invited to enter. It was a great way to get to know some of the other teams, and each of us wound up with a little prize money, too.”



When looking to tackle the issue of obesity in rural America, where should we start? The answer is not what you might think. Empathy, says Christie Befort, an associate professor at KU who has just won a $10 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to investigate solutions to rural obesity. Many physicians are embarrassed talking about weight—especially in a small town where everybody knows each other, Befort says. By providing obesity treatment options in rural primary care, she plans to start a conversation, and maybe a revolution, in rural health care. For more details on Befort's efforts, check out the 2015 Chancellor's Report: http://bit.ly/1D5A5MO and her video: http://bit.ly/1C5xYZa Tags: #KUcommunities #Obesity #Health #Rural #Midwest Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute - PCORI

Whistling the night away. #exploreKU shot by saamanthathomas on insta. http://t.co/JFZcj31X8h
Explore KU: Experience a KU Men's Basketball tradition It’s explosive. It’s dramatic. It’s intimidating. It’s a KU tradition (see more at http://bit.ly/KUtraditions) simply known as the Confetti Toss. But it creates a primal eruption of fan enthusiasm at the opening of every KU men’s basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse. It starts as the visiting team is introduced on court. The KU student section is visibly bored and unimpressed. The entire section under the north basket holds up University Daily Kansans — making the point they’d rather read the newspaper than even look at the other team. They shake and rustle the student newspapers. Then the moment they were waiting for arrives — the Jayhawks enter the court. All Rock Chalk breaks loose. Newspapers, confetti and thousands of thundering voices soar into already charged atmosphere of KU’s hallowed basketball arena. The confetti hits its high point, near the banner on the north wall reading “Pay Heed, All Who Enter: Beware of the Phog.” And the confetti rains back into the stands, onto the court and into the memories of all at hand. It’s time to play.


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