Students Gain Real-World Transportation Experience in the Lewis Clark Valley


Student Interns Survey ADA Compliance

Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho provides an excellent example of long-standing public agency/college project partnerships in the area of transportation. The faculty lead for these project collaborations is Jenni Light, who has extensive experience in industry. In addition to teaching, she also works part-time for a local engineering firm, which allows her to keep abreast of local projects where the college/students might contribute through contracted services or through service-learning projects. Since 2015, Lewis-Clark State College has been implementing contracted student project work through an internship model in collaboration with the local MPO, local cities, and some local engineering firms.

Lewis Clark Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has been a key partner and many of the projects are transportation focused.  Students have contributed to ADA compliance reports, undertaken a downtown Lewiston parking utilization study, conducted a sign inventory for the City of Clarkston, and analyzed turn count movement on 186 intersections in the MPO area including the cities of Asotin, Clarkston, and Lewiston as well as Asotin and Nez Perce Counties and the State of Idaho. Students also staffed the MPO’s fair booth to obtain public input on transportation issues in the region. The feedback collected will help inform the Lewis Clark Valley MPO Long Range Transportation Plan update as well as local plans in development.

Lewis Clark Valley MPO Director, Shannon Grow, notes that she likes using student participation in transportation data collection efforts because it provides them with real world experience. “We try to make sure to let the students know when the work they did influenced decisions in the transportation network.” Shannon and Jenni are exploring additional ways to advance their partnership. They participated together in the WRTWC-sponsored Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) workshop in Spokane, Washington last November. Since attending the workshop, a framework is in development to better institutionalize and expand project partnerships of this kind at the college and in the region.

For more information, contact Jenni Light at Lewis Clark State College: