One Woman’s Journey Into Transportation

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Transportation engineering gripped Margaret-Avis Akofio-Sowah’s interest as a small child in Ghana. Like many cities in developing countries, her hometown Accra in Ghana is characterized by heavy traffic congestion, poor road and infrastructure conditions, and disorderly driver behavior. She remembers questioning the state of transportation in Ghana, even wondering why the roads lacked something as simple as signs to indicate street names. As Margaret began to understand the broader effects of poorly planned and mismanaged transportation systems and their obvious solutions during college years, she developed a passion for the field and made the decision to build a career in transportation engineering and planning. Her first personal interaction in addressing real life transportation issues was in her undergraduate thesis work where she modeled congested intersections in Accra using the Highway Capacity Software (HCS) and Synchro and developed potential design solutions. Since then, her passion has continued to fuel her enthusiasm for transportation, and she is determined to positively influence communities with innovative, contextualized, and yet, sustainable solutions to transportation problems.

Margaret received a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology at the end of this summer where her research on transportation asset management implementation addressed an important aspect of sustainable transportation which emphasizes the consideration of infrastructure preservation during the early stages of planning, design, and policymaking. Margaret has since joined the Strategic Consulting group in WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff, working as an Associate Consultant on asset management and business process projects.

Margaret has been a member of WTS for several years, serving as Vice-President, and then President of the Georgia Tech student chapter. She also served as Co-chair and co-coordinator of the WTS Atlanta Chapter Transportation YOU program at Grady High School after having been involved as a mentor for the program from its inception.

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