PSTAT: Promoting Sustainable Transportation Among Teens

EPA Grant Number: SU835344
Title: PSTAT: Promoting Sustainable Transportation Among Teens
Investigators: Frymier, Paul , Cherry, Christopher , Irick, David , Tolbert, Leon
Current Investigators: Frymier, Paul , Bryner, Jordan , Cherry, Christopher , Chin, Yi Ying , Clark, Jeffrey , Irick, David , Patton, Candice , Patton, Rebekah , Stanfill, Christopher , Tolbert, Leon , Wheeler, Rick
Institution: University of Tennessee - Knoxville
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Green Infrastructure , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Our current transportation system is nearly 100% dependent on fossil fuels, a finite resource. Viable options that exhibit lower sustainability impacts for personal transportation exist, but the personal automobile is still the primary mode of transportation for commuting to and from work or school and local trips where lower impact alternatives could most easily be adopted. The objective of our project is to implement a project- and competition-based program to encourage new teenaged drivers to consider sustainability-related issues when selecting a personal transportation option.


We will form teams of students from three local high schools to be advised by undergraduate engineering students in the design and construction of electric bicycles. The students will prepare and orally defend project reports that detail the design process and compare the sustainability impacts of various transportation scenarios including an electric bike as a commuting option for school to the use of a personal automobile.

Expected Results:

All of the teams will participate in a final event at the end of the project at which the student reports and their bicycles will be judged and will compete at various trials to determine which of the bikes is the best at climbing hills, energy efficiency, speed on a prescribed course, etc. One of the teams will be selected as the competition winner based on its written report, the oral defense of their report, and the outcome of the various performance trials. Additionally, the student teams will be surveyed before and after the project to determine their attitudes toward and expectations for personal transportation. The results of the post-project survey will be compared to the pre-project survey to determine if participation in the project leads to attitudes that are expected to increase the use of personal transportation options that lower environmental, societal, and economic impacts.

Supplemental Keywords:


Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report