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WTS Central PA Chapter- Girl Scouts Transportation YOU Club- March 2018 Event

April 5, 2018 05:37 AM
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The WTS Central Pennsylvania Chapter and Girl  Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania TransportationYOU club met on Monday, March 12 to discuss highways and traffic. The evening started with a high energy demonstration of how congestion works by sending all of the attendees on a short path around the room. As more scouts, parents, and volunteers travelled along the path, traffic began to slow and we eventually had a real-life demonstration of gridlock.

Volunteer presenter Chris Kavulich discussed highway engineering and interchange design with the girls. They learned that safety is the number one priority for roadway design and how intersections and interchanges have to change as they experience more and more traffic. Chris showed the girls a wide variety of interchange types and discussed some of the benefits and drawbacks of each. One highlight for the girls was learning how interchange design is a little like Mrs. Potato Head – you can mix and match various ramp configurations until you get a design that fits the project needs. 

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The presentation ended with a discussion of one of the largest interchanges in the country – the girls asked insightful questions such as: Why would you put baseball fields right next to the highway? Why is there more than one way to go from each road to the other? What happens if there is an accident that closes one of the ramps? and Why don’t we put sound walls along every road? The girls were amazed to learn that this interchange is designed so that the entire population of the city Pittsburgh could drive through it every day!  

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After the presentation, the girls broke into small groups to cycle through the highway and traffic activities for the evening:

  • One activity challenged the girls to build their own interchanges with cardboard roadways, dixie cup structures, and ramps made of string. Thegirls individually sketched their designs on engineering paper and then worked in teams to construct their designs. The girls were able to visualize the flow of traffic traveling through their interchange and they learned how changes in roadway elevations affected their ramp designs.

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  • Another activity gave the girls an introduction to roundabouts. The girls learned what a roundabout is, discussed points of conflict in intersections, and talked about how roundabouts can be used in some situations to reduce the number of conflict points and improve intersection safety. The girls then used pipe cleaners and toy cars to visualize the conflict points in a roundabout and in a four-way intersection.

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  • The third activity built on the girls’ considerable knowledge of road signs. They learned some basics about pavement markings, were introduced to a variety of signs, and learned about the road sign “rainbow” and the meanings of the various colors used on road signs. They then cut out road signs and glued them to plans to help direct traffic through either a four-way intersection or a curve on a two-lane highway.  

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If you are insterested in volunteering, sponsoring, or participating in any of our future Girl Scouts Transportation YOU Club events: please check out our Transportation YOU Club page for more information!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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