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QUEST Students Tackle Brisbane Ferry Challenge

QUEST Students Tackle Brisbane Ferry Challenge

From left to right: Roy Zhu, Linda Lin, Zachary Zweig, Summer Legambi, and Michelle Robertson
From left to right: Roy Zhu, Linda Lin, Zachary Zweig, Summer Legambi, and Michelle Robertson

Brisbane, Australia has a problem. The city is growing quickly, and traffic congestion is on the rise. But residents seem uninterested in getting off the road and onto a CityCat ferry.

It’s a problem the international engineering consultancy Arup is working to solve with support from Clark School students. Through the Quality Enhancement System and Teams (QUEST) honors program and the University of Maryland’s Global Classrooms Initiative, civil engineering student Summer Legambi and Zachary Zweig, an alumnus of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, teamed up with students at the University of Queensland in Spring 2017 to provide recommendations for how to increase ferry ridership and improve the city’s public transportation system broadly.

TF2 Consulting, as the student group was called, analyzed the city’s Go Card records to determine peak public transportation travel times, track passenger movements, and isolate unfrequented ferry terminals along high-trafficked bus lines.

“The opportunity to analyze a city's public transportation data meant this was bigger than a project. We could make a real impact on Brisbane," said Legambi.

The results, along with qualitative profiles that made it possible to visualize terminal demographics, revealed prime locations for Arup to focus their efforts to increase ferry ridership.

Legambi and Zweig traveled to Brisbane in May to present their findings to Arup. At the same time, the group shared a plan to raise public awareness of the ferry and encourage usage with increased signage, clearer transfer announcements on buses, and the creation of park-and-ride facilities.

TF2 also provided Arup with a tool to analyze future data sets as they continue to search for solutions to the city’s congestion concerns.

“Being part of international work like this is something really special,” said Zweig. “Learning and working with students from other cultures is incredibly valuable. What QUEST is doing with these projects is really important.”

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August 16, 2017


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