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Like most New Jersey natives, Adam Brown ’02 (Pennsauken, N.J.) has a skill that’s rarely possessed by drivers in the remaining 49 states: He knows how to navigate a traffic circle without crashing or driving in a loop.

Brown, a civil engineering major, says that in his lifetime, he saw several circles near his hometown eliminated in favor of other traffic patterns, and he wondered why. During the spring semester, he set about finding answers as part of an independent study project titled “Commuter Helper or Commuter Headache? The Elimination of Traffic Circles in South Jersey.”

Brown looked at six circles, including three that had already been eliminated, and focused on one constructed in 1940 in Marlton, N.J., at the intersection of Route 70 and 73.

For Brown, finding research materials was easy. He spent his spring break poring through reports at Urban Engineers Inc. in Pennsauken, where he worked during the January interim session between semesters and where he’ll begin his first career position in June.

“I learned the circle was built as sort of a Band-Aid solution” to traffic problems, he says, adding that 60 years later, that solution has become dangerously obsolete, mainly due to massive increases in traffic volume.

Kristen Sanford Bernhardt, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and Brown’s research adviser, says he learned how to read engineering reports and talk to people involved in the situation.

“It’s not something you can just go to the library and look up,” she says, adding that she’s pleased with Brown’s work. “He raised some interesting questions.”

Brown says the research will give him an advantage in his new job, in which he’ll help to design an overpass to take Route 73 over Route 70 — and eliminate the Marlton circle.

Brown also conducted independent research during the fall semester on stormwater runoff concentrations in Bushkill Creek under the guidance of David Brandes, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

He is among 15 senior civil engineering majors who helped the borough of Alpha, N.J., decide what to do with its aging John Dolak Memorial Pool. The students developed proposals and presented them for a senior design project led by Roger Ruggles, associate professor and head of civil and environmental engineering, and Art Kney, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

“The biggest help I have received from Lafayette is the support of the faculty and staff,” Brown says. “I feel that the school has done an exceptional job of hiring highly qualified and genuinely nice faculty and staff.”

A graduate of Pennsauken High School, Brown is a member and former vice president of the campus chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. As co-project manager, he helped lead a team of Lafayette engineering students to a second-place finish in this year’s regional concrete canoe competition, sponsored by ASCE and Master Builders, Inc. since 1998. A reference assistant at Skillman Library, Brown served as an orientation leader last fall. This past summer, he interned at Taylor, Wiseman and Taylor’s Mt. Laurel, N.J., office. The firm specializes in the surveying, engineering and planning fields.

Categorized in: Academic News