Students form transit-focused CTEDD Student Council

Ahoura Zandiatashbar, Center for Transportation, Equity, Decisions and Dollars Student Council president, top right, research lead Yalcin Yildirim, top left, ambassador Tahereh Granpayehvaghei, bottom left, coordination lead Somayeh Moazzeni, middle, and ambassador Sheida Khademi, form the CTEDD Student Council executive board. Not pictured: Event lead Hamid Hajjafari. 

After a year of planning, a student organization centered around transportation has formed.

The Center for Transportation, Equity, Decisions and Dollars has sponsored a new student organization, CTEDD Student Council, which became an official student organization on Nov. 10.

Membership is free and open to all students, faculty and staff, regardless of major or classification.

“We are looking for all programs or departments to join this organization,” said Yalcin Yildirim, organization research lead and urban planning doctoral student.

Students who work at the center are provided with numerous opportunities, and we want to bring those opportunities to the rest of UTA, said Ahoura Zandiatashbar, council president and urban planning and public affairs graduate student.

The organization is planning a free symposium with keynote speakers and awards on Dec. 1.

It is a multidisciplinary field, and Zandiatashbar wants the organization to reflect that.

Everyone should be concerned with transportation, said Tahereh Granpayehvaghei, organization ambassador and urban studies graduate.

The field isn’t about maintaining current infrastructure but innovating and creating new solutions.

“It’s in the process of changing, and it’s changing fast,” Granpayehvaghei said. “We need more ideas from different backgrounds.”

It affects more than how to get from point A to point B, Zandiatashbar said. It affects health, wealth, the economy and upward mobility.

“I think any of the students from any of the colleges can relate themselves or their activities to these areas,” he said.

The organization is hosting a multimedia competition with cash prizes open to all council student members. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31.

The council will advocate solutions for local transportation problems, as well.

If Arlington does not provide adequate transit, then it is the organization’s role to advocate for those issues, Zandiatashbar said.

“It’s a part of our mission, actually,” he said.

UTA and Arlington want to brand the university as an urban university, but to do that, non-car transit options need to be available for students, he said.

When Hamid Hajjafari, organization event lead and urban planning graduate student, first arrived at UTA, he did not have a vehicle. He said he quickly realized how car-dependent the area was, and he had limited options for groceries, food and amenities.

This experience has motivated him to pursue the field of transportation and in a leadership position for the council.

The short-term goal for the organization is to get as many students involved as possible.

The long-term goal is to help members find jobs in the transportation field and advance the group to a national and reputable organization.

Zandiatashbar said he wants to eventually expand the council to other Center for Transportation, Equity, Decisions and Dollars sister universities.

@reeseoxner

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Managing Editor

Reese Oxner is The Shorthorn managing editor.

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