U of T student team competes at “Traffic Bowl”

group of nine seated on stage at long table

Round 1 of the 2019 CITE Traffic Bowl, Canadian District in Ottawa, June 3, 2019. (L-R) Three students from University of Alberta, three from McMaster University, and three from University of Toronto (L-R: Marc Saleh, Patrick Loa, Alaa Itani)

Three graduate students in transportation engineering represented U of T at the annual Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers (CITE) Canadian District Traffic Bowl June 3 at the CITE Annual Conference in Ottawa.

The Jeopardy-style transportation trivia game pitted three teams of three against each other over three rounds. The U of T team competed with the University of Alberta and McMaster University during Round 1, and was eliminated.

After winning Round 3 against York University and the University of Manitoba, the University of Alberta team was declared the Canadian District champion.

About the U of T Team

three seated at table

L-R: Marc Saleh, Patrick Loa, Alaa Itani. June 3, 2019.

Alaa Itani, Patrick Loa and Marc Saleh were approved by U of T’s ITE student chapter (UT-ITE) in January to form a team for the Traffic Bowl.

The three are 2nd year MASc students working under different supervisors: Alaa is supervised by Professor Amer Shalaby;  Patrick by Professor Khandker Nurul Habib; and Marc by Professor  Marianne Hatzopoulou.

None of them had participated in a Traffic Bowl competition before.

They practised trivia questions using online resources provided by the competition organizers. “We used to practice every week as a team, and almost daily ten days prior the competition,” said team member Alaa Itani.

UT-ITE also held a Trivia Night in May to give the team a friendly but realistic practise competition with students from McMaster University, Ryerson University and York University.

About the Traffic Bowl

Prior to the competition, informational or reference sources for clues and responses (answers and questions) for are made available to competitors for study. Included are: Traffic Engineering HandbookTransportation Planning Handbook, Highway Safety ManualUSDOT Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada, Highway Capacity ManualCanadian Capacity Guide, and the ITE website.

During the Traffic Bowl competition, clues are provided on a variety of topics related to transportation planning and engineering, for example:

  • the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)
  • transportation engineering
  • transportation planning
  • general transportation knowledge
  • rules of the road
  • current events in surface transportation
  • popular cultural topics (movies, music, sports, etc.) that are related to to transportation planning and engineering

Clues are read by an MC and displayed to the teams. After the MC has completely read the clue, teams have ten (10) seconds to signal in to give an answer. The first team (or individual) that operates their signal/ buzz are recognized by the MC and  have the first opportunity to respond. After being recognized by the MC, teams have ten (10) seconds to confer and give their response.

The ITE has ten districts in North America. The winning team from each district will compete in the ITE Traffic Bowl during the ITE Annual Conference, held this year in Austin, TX July 21-24.