UMass Team Wins Grand Prize at Northeastern Regional Traffic Bowl


A team of well-prepared members of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter took home the grand prize at the ITE Northeastern District Traffic Bowl. Our UMass team of Francis Tainter, Alyssa Ryan, and Chris Lyman (a recent alum) from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department will head to Austin, Texas, to compete in the International Traffic Bowl Championships on July 21 to 24.

The ITE hosts a Jeopardy-style competition for students in each district, or region, of ITE every year.

Follow UMass team on Twitter: @UMassITE

“Our region consists of university chapters in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, and northern New Jersey (the Northeastern District),” explained Ryan. “Teams of three students compete in the competition, and in this year's district competition, hosted at New York University, we competed against NYU, UConn, and Cooper Union.”

Examples of questions included:
the year that ITE was founded;
word scrambles, or mixed-up transportation words on a screen – for instance "crashes" presented as "eschras";
the agency that is responsible for creating transportation plans for a region.

Lyman added that “They generally ask questions in categories like traffic signs. A question could be, ‘What sign has the sign code R1-1?’ And we buzzed in and answered ‘stop sign.’ Another question could be, ‘What type of intersection reduces the number of conflict points?’ And the answer would be ‘roundabout.’”

As Ryan observed, “I'd say our success was due to great pre-practice sessions in Marston, fast buzzer skills (thanks to our President Chris Lyman), and quick, consistent communication before we answered any question. I know we plan to have the same strategy going into the international competition in a couple of weeks.”

Each year ITE student chapters from Canada and the United States participate in the ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl, which features teams comprised of up to 3 students testing their knowledge of ITE, transportation planning, and engineering topics, as well as some fun categories. Since 2009, when the traffic bowl was introduced throughout Canada and the United States, a total of 112 student chapters have participated in at least one traffic bowl at either section or district events.

The winners of the ITE district competitions advance to compete in the Collegiate Traffic Bowl Grand Championship, which is conducted annually at ITE’s International Annual Meeting and Exhibit. This year’s Grand Championship will be held at the Joint ITE International and Texas District Annual Meeting and Exhibit, July 21–24, in Austin.

Founded in 1930, ITE is a community of transportation professionals, including transportation engineers, transportation planners, consultants, educators, technologists, and researchers. They network through meetings, seminars, publications, and a system of more than 15,500 members working in more than 90 countries. (July 2019)