CIVL 441


Course Title and Number

CE 270 - Transportation Engineering

Catalog Description

Transportation systems planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance.  Pavement design and traffic engineering fundamentals. Laboratory includes field studies, design activities, and modeling/forecasting tasks.



  • CE 11 Introduction to CE Design


  • CE 102 Materials Testing Laboratory
  • CE 250 Soil Mechanics
  • CE 121 Engineering Economy

Textbook and Other Required Material

Transportation Engineering Basics
Transportation Engineering Basics Laboratory Workbook

Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are to:

  • Introduce students to the 1) basic transportation functions by mode and in a systems context, and 2) transportation concepts and terminology.
  • Provide students with a good background in transportation characteristics, operations, design, planning, and maintenance.
  • Teach students principles, concepts and methods unique to transportation, i.e., demand modeling, capacity analysis, traffic engineering, geometric design, pavement design, and maintenance management systems.
  • Provide students experiences with the collection and analysis of transportation data for use in design.  In addition, students will gain experience in statistical analysis, use of computers, and computer programming.
  • Improve students' ability in preparing formal reports and describing complex design procedures.
  • Provide students with a capstone design experience-integrating material from this course and from other courses.  Students will need to make judgments throughout the design experience and work with substantial independence.
Topics Covered
  • Highway Geometric Design
  • Highway Traffic Operations, Capacity, and Control Systems
  • Airport Runway and Taxiway Design
  • Transportation Pavements
  • Harbor Design  
  • Public Transportation
  • Transportation Planning
  • Safe Pedestrian Practices
  • Maintenance Systems  
  • Transportation, Energy, and Air Pollution
  • Financing Transportation Improvements
  • Administration of Transportation Functions


The expected outcomes for students in CE 270 include the 11 following areas:  (The numbers are related to Criterion 3 of ABET 2000.)

  • Apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering. Course work includes four derivations from dynamics and two from mathematics.  Additionally, a travel-forecasting laboratory requires students to calibrate and apply a modal split model.
  • Design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data.  Four laboratories require students to collect field data and then to analyze and interpret that data.
  • Design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs.  There are four design laboratories requiring students to design a highway, an interchange, an airport runway and taxiway, and a harbor channel.
  • Function on a multi-disciplinary team. The term project (design report) requires each student team to conduct geometric design and payment structural design.  Students also are required to collect data from local public agencies for their design project.  The students are required to divide the duties among themselves.
  • Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems. The term project (design report) require students and to identify and formulate, based on collected data, at least one transportation engineering problem, which they are to solve.
  • Understand professional and ethical responsibility. Early in the course, a distinction is made concerning working in groups and plagiarism.  The importance of maintaining integrity as a civil engineer is stressed.
  • Communicate effectively.  The first homework assignment required short essay responses.  The first view laboratories require rather elaborate formal laboratory reports.  When students attain 90 percent, they can then write more abbreviated, letter laboratory reports.  The term project (design report) requires considerable writing.  For the last laboratory of the semester, each team will make an oral presentation for their term project.  Each student is required to give part of the oral presentation.
  • Understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context. The course work includes discussions about how transportation facilities and systems affect societies.
  • Recognize the need for and to encourage lifelong learning.  Several topics in the course, i.e. pavement design, include an overview of the historical development in order to give the students an appreciation for continued development of the profession, including lifelong learning.
  • Understand contemporary issues. The course material includes a section dealing with transportation and energy/environment.  The issues all energy availability and alternative fuels is covered.  In addition, there is a substantial section on air quality, which identifies the major pollutants and strategies to reduce air pollution.
  • Develop skills, tools, and knowledge needed for engineering practice.  The design exercises and activities require the students to utilize state and national manuals and other professionally recognized documents.

Class/Laboratory Schedule

One hundred-fifty minutes of lecture per week
One hundred-seventy minutes of laboratory per week

Contribution of Course to Meet the Professional Component

Engineering Science: One unit, Engineering Design: Three units

Relationship of Course to Program Objectives

The course supports the achievement of the following program objectives:

  • 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
  • Homework  8 graded assignments.
  • Laboratory  13 graded assignments.
  • One graded major team design project
  • Two  50 minute tests
  • Two-hour comprehensive final exam
  • Survey of student's perception of outcome assessments  
  • Instructor assessment comments
Prepared by

A. Reed Gibby