The thorny issue of transportation efficiency in the Washington, D.C. region could be solved by broadening bicycle sharing to include a pod car system, which would feature automated vehicles operating on a network of guide ways.

That solution, which is a long way from being put into place, was good enough to win a team from Howard University first place in the 2013 Partnership for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering and Education (PACE) Collaboration and Innovation Challenge.

The team will travel to the 2013 PACE Annual Forum held July 21-26 in Pasadena, Calif. to present their winning project and accept the award.

“I am elated about this win because the engineering students worked extremely hard on this project,” said Sonya T. Smith, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who participated on the team.

“Considering that two of the three engineering team members were freshmen during the last academic year, this win is a testament to the caliber of students Howard attracts and their preparation by the mechanical engineering program,” she added.

The competition is an annual challenge aimed at promoting collaboration between students in different majors with the intent of fueling innovation in the areas of engineering, industrial design, manufacturing and market research. The collaborators are General Motors, Autodesk, Hewlett Packard, Oracle and Siemens PLM Software.

The Howard team was lead by Grant M. Warner, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The team included Smith and Warner, along with Tony McEachern, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Art;; David Smedley, M.F.A., associate professor in the Department of Art; Atiba Brereton, graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering; Tyrone Clemons, M.F.A., a graduate student in the Department of Art; Matthew Clarke, mechanical engineering sophomore; Alicia Harris, a senior in the Department of Art; and Nicolas Hunter, a mechanical engineering sophomore.