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Around the World in XX Days Using YY Ways

  • Postponed: More details will be posted soon.

    A Student Competition developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Transportation & Development Institute (ASCE/T&DI).

    Jules Verne - Portrait
    Inspired by the 1873 adventure novel penned by Jules Verne, where the main character, Phileas Fogg of London, accepts a £20,000 wager (£2,221,600 in 2018) set by his friends to circumnavigate the world in 80 days. It was believed that with the completion of railroads in India and the United States, global travel was possible in 80 days. Phileas accepted the challenge and so the adventure began.

    The planned itinerary and selected modes of transportation provided in Verne’s story are provided below. My how times have changed. The automobile hadn’t made its debut yet, and flight hadn’t taken off yet.

    Think about how quickly we can span the globe now. The world has truly gotten smaller, and advancements in technology have played a major role. With the industrial revolution first, ushering in automobiles and airplanes in the early 1900s, then the computer revolution followed by the network and communications revolution, there now are many modes of transportation to choose from. Trips can be planned to minimize time, minimize cost, minimize energy consumption, while at the same time maximizing the thrill of the adventure.

    Jules Verne - Planned Itinerary - Courtesy Wikipedia

    The Concept for this Competition

    Your adventure will be similar, and your challenge will be to minimize the number of days to circumnavigate the world/globe using as many modes of transportation as possible. The only restriction you have is the mode of transportation must be suitable for the terrain (i.e., bicycles cannot traverse across the Mediterranean Sea). In addition, there are a few locations or checkpoints you must travel through on your journey. Other than that, you are free to choose your route, mode of transportation used along the way and other pertinent details to compile for judging and scoring your adventure.

    This is a planning and logistics competition: You need not physically complete the travel and prove it with a stamped passport! You can work individually or in groups, but if you work in groups, your journey should reflect only 1 person traveling.

    How it Works

    XXYY Competition - Start End Point GlyphStarting Point and Ending Point
    Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island – New York, NY (USA)

    XXYY Competition Touch Point GlyphTouch Points
    Shown graphically with the arrow symbol on the map

    • Seoul, South Korea
    • Santiago, Chile
    • Mumbai, India
    • Antananarivo, Madagascar
    • Hammerfest, Norway
    2020 XXYY Competition Map

    Competition Metrics

    There will be three mandatory requirements for this competition. No points will be awarded, but each must be satisfied. Your entry will be automatically dismissed if any of these requirements are not satisfied. Points will either be added or deducted based solely on the extras that are achieved. The following scoring system will be utilized:

    • Start and end in New York at the Statue of Liberty. Day 1 will begin at 1500 (3PM EST) on (we want you back no later than so you can accept your award at the International Conference on Transportation and Development, to be held in Seattle)
    • Arrange to pass through the 5 touch points—demonstrate travel around the world (must cross the Pacific Ocean or Bering Strait to do that)
    • Use a minimum of 10 modes of transportation

    Once your adventure has been authenticated as meeting these minimum requirements, the following scoring system will be assessed:

    • Visit a location on the 6thand/or 7th continent not required by the itinerary (500-point bonus awarded for each continent visited).
    • Each mode of transportation beyond the minimum of 10 will be given 100 points each. The mode chosen must be realistic for the terrain (i.e., do not try to bicycle across the Mediterranean Sea). Recognizing the possibility of using numerous modes of transportation within an urban area in a very short distance, minimum travel distances must be adhered to for various modes (see Table 1).
    • Visit a project listed as an ASCE Historic Landmark and receive 100 bonus points for each location visited.
    • Complete your trip in less than 20 days and you will receive 50 bonus points for each day under 20 days. You will be penalized 500 points for every day beyond 20 days.
    • You must research and budget for each commercial mode of transportation (airline, long-haul bus, train, ship) used in your journey. Other modes of transportation will be available to you 24-7, but the distance traveled (minimum distances will apply, see Table 1) and the time of travel should be accounted for in your documented journey (diary and Excel summary, see Submittal requirements below). The submittal with the lowest cost will receive the greatest point total and the submittal with the highest cost will receive the least point total. All others between these extremes will receive proportionate point totals. [total cost of the journey – all costs must be converted to $US -- will be qualified by the judging panel, and the contestants will be scored with the lowest cost receiving the highest point score].
    • You must arrive 2 hours prior to departure for any mode of transportation used that is run by a commercial company (i.e., airline, long-haul bus service, rail line, cruise line) and a receipt is required to show:
      • date
      • time of departure
      • time of arrival
      • departure city
      • arrival city
      • cost
      Exceptions to early arrival are MaaS (taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc.), mass transit (bus, light rail) and other services that are convenient and available around the clock for rent (cars, scooters, bicycles, animals, etc.); cost and time of travel can be computed using Table 1 information for these other modes.
    • You are considered super-human; that is, you require no food or drink, nor do you require sleep or rest. As such, costs such as lodging and meals are excluded and can/should be ignored.


    Your submittal is required to be in a Word document and completed Excel travel template. Entries should contain:

    • Title Page: Name, email address, College or University, year of study (Fr/So/Jr/Sr-undergraduate, MS or Ph.D. candidate) for each member of your team (up to 6 students – show which member of the team is traveling the fictitious journey)
    • Show your trip path on a suitable World Map. Annotate where on the map you will be at the end of each day
    • Provide a daily diary – trip journal – documenting each day of your journey. Make it interesting for the reader, and highlight the modes(s) of transportation used (e.g., landed at 09:15 at _______ International Airport, took an Uber to the train station, and boarded the train for a 13:45 departure to _____. The highlight of the day was a visit to a 180-year old covered wooden bridge in _____ and a hydro dam in ______.)
    • Summarize your trip in tabular form using this Excel template.

    Submission Deadline

    Submittals are due by (6 p.m. EDT). Questions may be asked through ASCE Collaborate up to March 20, 2020. Submittals shall be electronically submitted to Debi Denney ( Students must include their ASCE membership number in the email. Student membership is free; sign up here


    It is anticipated that 3 finalists (individual or team) will be selected from the entry pool, based on a total point scale, as well as any WOW-factor the judging panel considers pertaining to the thrill of the adventure and the creative use of transportation modes integrated into your journey. These finalists will be notified by email of their selection by . Each of these 3 finalists will be invited to the ASCE T&DI flagship conference (ICTD) held in Seattle, Washington on May 26-29, 2020, and a $1,500 award fee provided to each finalist team to help offset the conference registration fee, travel, lodging and meal expenses.Note 1

    Note 1: If a team-entry is selected, the team is challenged to determine how many can represent the team at ICTD2020 with the $1,500 Award money.

    Finalists' Presentations and Award Ceremony

    2020 ASCE ICTD 2020 Hero Image

    View Cancellation Details

    Jointly organized by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the International Conference on Transportation and Development (ICTD) 2020 offers a unique opportunity for public agencies, private industry, and research institutes to share their vision, exchange experience, collaborate on research, and showcase practical solutions on smart and integrated mobility solutions.

    A special session will be arranged at the ICTD 2020 Conference to allow each of the 3 finalists to provide a 15-minute presentation (PowerPoint and Poster or Video) and a final vote will be made for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Failure to accept the conference invitation will result in an award made to the next highest scored/rated entry.


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    About T&DI

    TDI ShieldThe Transportation & Development Institute (T&DI) is a specialty membership organization focused on transportation and development professionals and the transportation and development industry. T&DI is one of the American Society of Civil Engineers' 9 specialty Institutes.

    T&DI combines the talents and perspectives of its members to promote professional excellence in all aspects of transportation engineering, urban planning, and development.