Yung Koprowski is a transportation engineer in Mesa, Arizona. Her job is to help drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians move around the Phoenix area as safely and efficiently as possible. "Discovering You: Engineering Your World" is produced by NBC News Learn in partnership with Chevron, the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Science Foundation.
Discovering You – Engineering Your World - Yung Koprowski
YUNG KOPROWSKI (Transportation Engineer):
There’s a bicyclist there crossing at the light rail, so we’re going to see if that person pushes the button or not.
My name is Yung Koprowski and I am a transportation engineer.
I was born in Penang, Malaysia and I ended up coming here to Mesa, Arizona. My dad was an electrical engineer so that was a big influence. As a transportation engineer, we have to help people move, whether that's walking or bicycling or taking transit or by car. We need to consider the environment and how we build our infrastructure to enable those people to be able to move around their communities and get to where they need to go.
So this is the TMC video wall.
We're here in the city of Mesa Traffic Management Center. This is essentially a place where the city staff has their eyes on the road. They manage over 400 traffic signals from this location. This wall is where they can project different videos so they can continually monitor these intersections.
This is the signal cabinet that you use to test…
I work with the city of Mesa as a consultant to help them with their regional travel time map. That map is developed using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology that they actually install at the signal cabinets. And what that technology does is it senses people's cell phones. When cell phones are broadcasting out searching for a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signal, it can detect that and just record the location. And then when that person drives further down the street and passes the next signal, it picks it up. What they're looking for are unusual traffic patterns. And so when they know that a roadway is normally always green during the morning peak hour and then it turns yellow or red, then that might give them the indication that there's a backup or a problem because then they can change that signal timing and get those cars through.
Engineering is fun and definitely challenging. We are solving problems every day and so that's the great part of engineering, is that we get to design those solutions. And now it fits into the right of way. I was really worried about their four lane road going down to two lanes. There are times where there isn't a solution that I can come up with, but it's really important to collaborate with other people. There are a lot of great minds out there and being in engineering means that you're just one piece of a puzzle.
Hi everybody. My name’s Yung and I’m a transportation engineer and I focus on the roadway.
As a transportation engineer, Yung Koprowski makes sure our roads and intersections are safe. Will the arrival of self-driving cars change how transportation engineers work? Learn more about self-driving cars in this TIME for Kids story.
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