Updating the Case Study for Complex Engineering Infrastructure Problems


Decision making and risk analysis are critical components of infrastructure management problems faced by today's engineers and are frequently introduced to students through the case study, a common tool for encouraging student learning on real-world engineering problems. However, case studies can be artificial, incomplete descriptions of an issue without adequate context or connections to the "big picture" faced by engineers and engineering managers. This paper explores the value of creating integrated case studies for use in undergraduate engineering courses. Using data from a project partially funded through the Missouri Department of Transportation, a sustainable infrastructures case study is developed for use in engineering economy. LED luminaires technology is of increasing interest for roadway lighting solutions to state DOTs and local communities due to proposed benefits in fiscal and environmental stewardship, as well as safety and useful life. The case details the implications of LED technology across two of the three pillars of sustainability (economic and environmental) and provides opportunities for analysis by student teams. This paper seeks to promote the use of real-world engineering projects within courses in order to improve learning outcomes and critical thinking skills.

Meeting Name

62nd IIE Annual Conference and Expo (2012: May 19-23, Orlando, FL)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Case Study; Engineering Education; Infrastructure Management; Learning Objectives; Transportation; Decision Making; Environmental Technology; Exhibitions; Light Emitting Diodes; Research; Students; Sustainable Development; Critical Thinking Skills; Engineering Problems; Environmental Stewardship; Missouri Department Of Transportations; Undergraduate Engineering Course

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





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