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KNOXVILLE — Fifteen area high school juniors and seniors will gather in Knoxville next week to learn how police reconstruct traffic accidents, how roads are designed and how alternative fuel vehicles work.

The students will be participating in TransWeek 2007, an educational program offered by the University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research in conjunction with the federally funded Southeastern Transportation Center.

The conference, to be held June 18-22 at the National Transportation Research Center in Knoxville, will give the high school students a chance to hear from industry professionals about the latest developments in transportation. The students also will learn about career options in the transportation field.

“One of the most interesting things we do at TransWeek is the accident reconstruction session that will happen on Monday,” said Lissa Gay, technology transfer coordinator for the Center for Transportation Research. Through this exercise, students will learn how examining debris from a car wreck can help determine who caused the accident. Jack Humphreys, UT professor emeritus in civil and environmental engineering, will lead the session.

On Tuesday, the TransWeek group will travel to Chattanooga.

“Our first stop will be the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, where we’ll learn about the history of rail transportation and ride a train,” said Matt Cate, senior research associate for the Center for Transportation Research. “After lunch we’ll visit a Chattanooga Area Regional Transit Authority facility to learn about electric buses and other alternative fuel vehicles from staff at the Advanced Transportation Technology Institute.”

The group also will have the opportunity to take a behind–the–scenes tour of the cargo systems at McGhee–Tyson Airport, to visit a traffic signal laboratory to learn about signal timing techniques with UT Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Tom Urbanik and to participate in trust- and team-building exercises at a ropes course.

“It’s an action-packed week with a lot of fun activities,” Cate said.

Students chosen to attend TransWeek had to submit applications, send in copies of their high school transcripts and have teachers write letters of recommendation.

“I feel that we have an outstanding group of students to work with,” said Cate, who collected the students’ submissions. “It is a diverse group representing 10 area high schools from as far away as Morristown. The students have a wide range of outside interests, including athletics, music and community service activities.”

The participants come from the Christian Academy of Knoxville, Grace Christian and Austin-East, Bearden and Karns high schools in Knoxville; from Heritage and William Blount high schools in Maryville, Tenn.; from Campbell County High School in Jacksboro, Tenn.; from Morristown East High School in Morristown, Tenn.; and from Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

TransWeek is free for the participants, and each receives a $300 stipend for educational needs.

More information about the program can be found online at

The Center for Transportation Research was created in 1970 and oversees various programs associated with the educational, research, training and industrial aspects of the transportation field.

For more information about the Center for Transportation Research, visit


Lissa Gay, Office-(865) 974-8760, Cell-(865) 748-0871,

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