Student Paper Competition

Deadline:  February 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm (noon) CST

The Transportation Planning Division (TPD) is looking for outstanding student papers on current trans­portation planning or policy issues. The purpose is to recognize and reward work completed for courses in accredited graduate planning programs. Please nominate and encourage your students to participate in the contest. Winners will be announced at the APA National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, April 2-5, 2016.


Awards will be given as follows for the three best papers:

Grand prize — $1,000
Second place — $750
Third place — $500

Winning papers (or summaries) will be published in the TPD's quarterly newsletter. The TPD may also submit full versions of the winning paper for peer review and possible presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board and for publication in APA's Planning Magazine.

Criteria for Submission

  1. Papers must have been originally written by a single author for a class in a PAB-accredited graduate planning program during calendar years 2014 or 2015. The program chair, a faculty member, or the AICP liaison may nominate a paper by indicating when and for what course the paper was prepared; students may not nominate their own paper. Doctoral students are not eligible for this award.
  2. Each accredited program may submit a maximum of two papers.
  3. Exceptions:  A paper may be submitted only once; papers may not be revised and resubmitted in a subsequent year. Master's theses, terminal profes­sional reports, internship projects, and student group projects are not eligible.
  4. Content: Papers may be no more than 25 pages long, including an abstract (no more than 250 words), tables, maps, other diagrams, and references. Papers must be double-spaced with margins of one inch using a minimum 12-point font. Title page should include student name, address, school and degree program, date when paper was originally submitted, and phone number. Name and/or other iden­tifying information is to be omitted from succeeding pages. Headers and/or footers on the pages containing the text should only contain the paper title and page number.
  5. Papers will only be accepted via e-mail; PDF format is preferred. Please submit the title page as a separate document from the paper. The deadline for receipt of the papers is Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 12:00pm (noon) CST. No late papers will be accepted.
  6. Contestants are highly encouraged to join the TPD. Per the APA 2008 bylaws, students can join APA divisions for free.


A subcommittee of planning faculty and practitioners will read all papers using blind review.  Papers will be judged on:

  1. Relevance to major current issues in transportation planning or policy
  2. Insight and significance of discussion
  3. Quality of the writing, argument, and documentation. 


Send papers to:  Laurel Land at

Papers must be received by Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm (noon) CST.

See the guidelines or more information

Previous Winners

Paper Competition Winners