TRAC™ & RIDES, AASHTO's educational outreach programs, are designed for use in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) classes. The hands-on activities introduce students in grades K-12 to the work world of transportation and civil engineering and inspire them to consider careers in those fields. Both programs are aligned with national standards and are currently being aligned with Core Curriculum Standards of Learning. State departments of transportation work with schools in their state by providing the curricula and resources for the schools and providing engineers to visit the classrooms to serve as speakers, teach a hands-on activity, and/or talk to students about the importance of math and science in preparing for their future.
TRAC™ (Transportation and Civil Engineering) is a hands-on, educational outreach program of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The TRAC™ program is designed for integration into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). State Departments of Transportation provide the program free of charge to middle and high schools in their state.
Vision: To deliver educational outreach programs that connect students to the world of transportation while enhancing math, science, and technology skills.
Mission: To introduce students in grades K-12 to the working world of transportation, especially civil engineering, and inspire them to consider careers in those fields.
TRAC has eight modules which engage students in solving real-world problems while connecting them to the work world of transportation. Students design bridges, build magnetic-levitation trains, plan a city or learn about environmental issues that impact transportation.
In addition to providing a tool for teachers to improve math and science instruction in middle and secondary schools, TRAC improves work force diversity which helps to resolve one of the most pressing problems faced by the transportation today: a critical shortage of civil engineers.
RIDES (Roadways Into Developing Elementary Students) is an AASHTO/Mississippi education outreach program designed to interest K-8 students in transportation careers while improving their math and science skills. Students utilize critical thinking skills to solve real world problems and learn about careers in the transportation industry especially civil engineering. The curriculum is aligned with the National Standards for Math and Science. STEM, 21st Century Skills and Core Curriculum Standards. Teachers attend two days of high energy training conducted by National Board Certified Teachers. This module contains a curriculum as well as a large trunk of resources for the teacher to use in the classroom to conduct the activities.
The AASHTO Special Committee on TRAC™ was established to provide guidance and administrative oversight to the TRAC™ program. Composed of a chair, vice-chair, secretary and one member from each of AASHTO's four regions, the committee meets at least annually. This committee ensures that participation levels in TRAC™ are monitored, prepares TRAC's™ budgets, oversees staffing and contracts for TRAC™, and guides the development of TRAC's™ business plan.
Committee officers (chair, vice-chair and secretary) serve the usual term for AASHTO committee officers, and the four regional members serve four-year terms, with reappointment possible. For more detailed information about the responsibilities and duties of the Special Committee on TRAC™, see Administrative Resolution AR-2-93.
The Regional Center Director runs the TRAC™ Program within each member state. The Regional Center Director receives training and assistance from TRAC™ National Headquarters and is the point of communication between AASHTO/TRAC™ Headquarters and the TRAC™ Staff and Volunteers within a state.
The Advisory Board was established to provide guidance and administrative oversight to the TRAC™ & RIDES programs. The board ensures that participation levels in TRAC™ & RIDES are monitored, prepares budgets, oversees staffing and contracts for TRAC™ & RIDES, and guides the development of the TRAC™ strategic plan.
Randy Battey, Mississippi
Julie Vanportfliet, Michigan