Students outside the LDS Guanajuato Branch.

Students in the field discussing data collection.

A student taking data on the streets of Guanajuato for further analysis.

Transportation Challenges

Location of Program: Mexico      Year: 2013
Program Director(s): Mitsuru Saito
Participating Major(s): Civil and Environmental Engineering


In this program students work with students and faculty from partnering institutions in Mexico to solve transportation problems existing in the communities where partnering institutions are located, by applying knowledge and skills they acquired in transportation courses they have taken at BYU. The program helps students develop team work and leadership skills in a global work environment. They begin collaboration through the Internet to prepare for the trip. While in Mexico they collect data, prepare alternative improvements, and create models necessary for in-depth analysis after returning. Through communication with their counterparts, they complete the analysis, prepare a final report and present their work through video conference.


Recap of the Year:

The 2013 program was the first one for this program since it was recognized as a stand-alone separate program from the water resource group programs run by Dr. Nelson and Dr. Hotchkiss. Seven students participated in the 2013 program, 3 graduate and 4 undergraduate students. It’s an improvement because only 4 students participated in the 2012 program. This year’s team was well prepared for the tasks we had to perform while we were in Guanajuato. Nineteen students participated from the University of Guanajuato. There was none from the University of Zacatecas. Besides CEEn 361 Introduction to Transportation Engineering course, six students have already taken CEEn 562 Traffic Engineering, which was vital for this year’s project. We had two native Spanish speakers, one returned missionary from a Spanish speaking mission, and one returned missionary who had 3 years of high school Spanish. Each student was assigned certain task(s) to be eventually included in the project website.

This program’s schedule coincided with the one run by Dr. Hotchkiss. This year, the trip to Guanajuato started on Friday, February 1st and ended on Monday, February 11th. It was filled with cultural experiences through pyramids and museums beside the hard work on the project. Before the trip, students made preparations both cultural and technical. Since there was only about three weeks to prepare for the trip, language practices were not done adequately; nevertheless, native speakers were great help in this matter. After the trip, the BYU students worked on modeling and analysis of the project and completed the final report and poster both in English and Spanish. The final report was revised several times until the program director was satisfied with the content and quality of the report.

On the patio of the University of Guanajuato in Guanajuato, Mexico.