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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Transportation Systems Engineering

Teacher Resource Center

Lesson Overview
Lesson Title:
Why can't they all be green?

Teachers:
Mrs. Michelle Vulgamott (Primary)

Brief Description:
Students will use d = rt to determine when lights should turn green for continuous traffic. They will also solve systems of equations to determine when a light needs to be red to avoid collision.

Topics Introduced:
timing of traffic lights

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Curriculum Framework Components Addressed:
Transportation Systems/ Infrastructure Planning, Management and Regulation
Suggested Grade Levels:
8th Grade
9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade

Subjects:
Mathematics
Standards Taught:
12.6.2 Math 2006
12.6.3 Math 2006

Lesson Information
Learning Expectations:

Students will use map scales, measurement, proportions and distance = rate x time to determine the sequencing of lights when traveling on Dodge Street for 14 blocks.  Students will then consider a cross street, 13th street, and determine what conditions result in both vehicles reaching the intersection at the same time.


Plan Of Action:

Transportation systems engineering will be introduced to the students.  Students will calculate the time intervals that traffic lights need to change so that a driver will have all green lights as he drives down the street.

Give students an over view of what they are to be doing for the lesson.  Distribute the "Timing Traffic Signals" handout. Split students into groups to work out the problem.

Data Set Used:

Data will be gathered from a Google Map of downtown Omaha.


Materials Needed:

Rulers, 4 function calculators, pencils, paper, map of downtown Omaha


Preparation Period:

Preparation will involve projecting a copy of the map on the board.


Implementation Period:

The lesson can be implemented after the first chapter which involves solving equations.

Science, Math, Engineering and / or Technology Implications:

This lesson involves learning how traffic engineers operate and control the flow of traffic on a daily basis.
Students will also apply the mathematical distance formula to calculate distances.

Considerations for Diversity in Education:

The area under consideration is near the school so all students, regardless of their background are familiar with the area.



Lesson Files
Timing Traffic Signals Handout
Handout for students to use with the lesson.
[size: 67012] [date uploaded: Jun 22, 2008, 1:25 pm ]

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