CRP Studio Wins National Planning Award

(Ohio State University, College of Engineering)

Eleven Knowlton School students won a 2016 AICP Student Project Award from the American Planning Association (APA) for their work in City and Regional Planning Lecturer Chad Gibson’s (MCRP '97) autumn 2014 Columbus Rail Studio course.

The students received the Award for Application of the Planning Process - Undergraduate Program on April 6 during the APA’s National Planning Conference in Phoenix.

The city and regional planning studio course focused on assessing the feasibility of a light rail transit system for Columbus. The 11 students who took part in the studio are Aubrey Wilson, Dan Boberek, Levi Koehl, Ryan Dittoe, Will Hughen, Jevonna Morris, Stephen Orange, Michael Bickley, Luke Gerken, Alex Swift and Aaron Smith.

With just 15 weeks to study the issue and present their findings to the mayor’s Jobs, Expansion and Transportation (JET) Task Force Transportation Working Group, the students analyzed transit systems in comparable U.S. cities, studied public interest surveys and specific route ideas, and performed site visits to explore possible light rail maintenance yards and measure city streets. 

Ultimately, they proposed two light rail lines—at a cost of $741 million. One line running along High Street from The Ohio State University’s campus to downtown Columbus and a second line connecting downtown to Port Columbus International Airport (now John Glenn Columbus International Airport).

Public outreach was a major component of the project. The students designed website columbusrail.today, collected 2000 public interest surveys to assess the development of the transit system model and publicized their work on Twitter. At the end of the semester, they presented their findings at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and via a 119-page final report. Their efforts also generated local media attention. 

“Most classes don’t generate that kind of attention,” said Gibson. “The students did an outstanding job and the feedback from our clients was overwhelmingly positive. What they produced in just a few months was pretty wonderful.”

In addition, the Columbus Rail Studio previously won the 2015 American Planning Association Ohio Chapter Award for planning students. 

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the American Planning Association's professional institute and provides leadership in certification of professional planners, ethics, professional development, planning education, and the standards of planning practice.

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