Cassandra Stacy, ‘13

Environmental Engineering, Music Minor

Traversing the Labyrinth: A Comprehensive Analysis of Pedestrian Traffic in Venice. The purpose of the project was to contribute to the development of a pedestrian computer model to assist the city of Venice in the management of the ever-increasing influx of tourists. To validate the model, the team quantified pedestrian traffic at bridges, gondola crossings, and waterbus stops, and also compiled data regarding demographics, public transport usage, and tourist attractions within the district of San Marco. In collaboration with the Santa Fe Complex, the team confirmed the feasibility of the model by producing a prototype that effectively simulates pedestrian mobility in the study area.

Why I chose this project:
The Venice site greatly appealed to me because of the historic aspect of the city and the travel opportunities around Europe. I thought the pedestrian mobility project was interesting and could have a lasting impact on the city. If the computer model were extended to the entire city of Venice and pedestrian travel data were continually collected, major congestion spots could be identified and dealt with. In the long run, this project could help the municipality of Venice maintain the integrity of a beautiful city.

What I learned from my IQP:
The value of communication between team members, advisors, and sponsors is incredibly important. To accomplish the best end result of any project, the goals and objectives must be clear to everyone involved from the beginning. As the project changes, as it is bound to, communication is necessary to accommodate and continue high-quality work.

I also learned a great deal during my time abroad separate from the project: I traveled to places I had seen in postcards; I learned details of cultures completely foreign to me; and I grew as a person.

How I have benefitted from my IQP as a person and a student:
IQP certainly strengthened my teamwork skills. Working with a group of very different people from the first week of A-Term through the end of winter break taught the entire group how to deal with varied personality types and work styles. Technical writing and presenting abilities were constantly challenged and improved upon during the two-term period.

How this experience made me stronger in my field:
The project helped my professional path by improving my presenting and writing abilities, as well as exposing me to the type of team projects I’ll be participating in during my career. Collaboration with others is as important as a high standard of individual work in any field, and an IQP requires both.

What I accomplished:
My team contributed to a computer model that, when expounded upon by future teams, could mitigate pedestrian traffic in the city of Venice. A methodology was developed to effectively monitor traffic in multiple ways, and a proposal for a camera network was established. Our work was acknowledged in a local newspaper–thousands of Venetians read about the project that four WPI students had completed to help city officials solve a perpetual problem.

Additional comments about the project system in general at WPI:
The project-based curriculum at WPI is an incredible opportunity for students who want to make a difference in the world by utilizing their classroom learning in the real world. Problems are solved at WPI every day, and the students, through their schoolwork and projects, have a direct impact on society. WPI allows students to use real-world problem-solving skills to find a solution to a prevalent issue anywhere on the globe. I wouldn’t want to be at any other school!

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