By Grayson Cates, BUPD 2023

This past summer, I was an intern for WSP where I worked at the Indianapolis office in their planning group. WSP is an international civil engineering and consulting firm based with over 66,000 employees worldwide. The company works on projects related to buildings, energy, geology, and the environment, but my office primarily focuses on transportation projects. I have always been interested in transportation issues and was excited to learn more about the field of transportation through this internship.

I gained this opportunity because of my involvement in the Student Planning Association at Ball State. The planning group lead at WSP came to a SPA meeting to give a presentation on his career path and projects. I had never heard of WSP before he presented and wanted to learn more. I asked to tour the Indianapolis office over winter break last year and was offered an internship from that.

During my internship, I assisted the planning group with writing grants for various local governments and public transit agencies. These grants ranged in length from 12 to 200 pages. I worked on researching and writing as well as creating maps on ArcGIS Pro and renderings in Adobe Illustrator. Some grant projects I assisted with include:

  • IndyGo’s Blue Line BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) route in Indianapolis
  • Road diet and multi-use trail installation for Keystone Avenue south of 38th Street in Indianapolis
  • Pedestrian bridge over 82nd Street for the Nickel Plate Trail in Indianapolis
  • Two new BRT lines for Hamilton Avenue and Reading Road in Cincinnati

I also was given the opportunity to conduct my own research project and present it to the Indy office staff. I conducted a feasibility study for a commuter transit service connecting Indianapolis suburbs to downtown utilizing a park-n-ride model with routes along major highways. I used a software called Replica to determine the suburbs where most people traveling to work downtown reside. This helped me prioritize suggested routes and predict ridership.

I had a great time meeting the other employees and interns at my office. WSP provided many opportunities to develop professionally and socialize. There were several webinars for interns to learn from professionals in the company about their projects and share advice. My favorite event was attending an Indians baseball game, which was a short walk from my office building downtown.

I will continue working for WSP full-time as an assistant transportation planner after I graduate this month. I am very grateful to WSP and look forward to continuing my work there in January, 2024.