Moreover, the department is developing a new certificate program in rail that would be offered to undergraduate and graduate students, says Pasi Lautala, Michigan Tech's RTP director and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.
"We're definitely seeing an increase in students who are interested in rail," says Lautala
, adding that not all those students are enrolled in the engineering program.
When the RTP was launched seven years ago, about 10 to 15 students took a course or were involved in a rail project or extracurricular activity through the school's American Railway Engineering and Maintenance Association (AREMA) chapter; today, that number is closer to 75, Lautala says.
Through NURail grants and matching funding from the rail industry, Michigan Tech students completed senior design and enterprise projects over the past two to three years, Lautala
Also under NURail
, the coalition has worked to share rail course content online with other colleges and universities, now known as "NURail
About 14 universities are involved in the program, resulting in more campuses offering a full course in rail engineering or at least integrating a few sessions on rail into their basic transportation programs, Lautala
"There's no doubt there are many more universities interested in the rail field" as a result, he
Another way to gauge the interest: the increase in AREMA student chapters.
was among the first schools to establish one.
"There's been an explosion in interest in forming AREMA chapters over the last three or four years.
And starting a new chapter requires more than just student interest; you have to find a faculty member who's interested in advising the chapter," says Lautala