Introducing Civil Engineering Students to Ethical Infrastructure Development: Toll Road Design Exercise

Per the American Society of Civil Engineer's (ASCE’s) ethical code, civil engineers are expected to respect the infrastructure sustainable development needs of involved stakeholders while upholding the profession’s integrity. There is a great need to design civil engineering curriculum to prepare students to address the challenges of future ethical decision dilemmas. This paper presents the development and implementation of a group-based infrastructure development exercise where students apply life-cycle analysis principles to design and plan a toll road project under challenging ethical vignettes. The students were formed in groups to act as a private JV company to propose a toll highway design and life-cycle plan with highest benefit-cost ratio while maintaining a profitable private company. Also, the groups were challenged with five main ethical vignettes that tie the public and private financial viability to hard decisions related to social justice, law compliance, honest competition, and labor relations. Exercise results analysis revealed that students were inclined to utilize higher public benefits to justify taking varying levels of unethical project decisions. The proposed exercise supports civil engineers ethics training by challenging them to adhere to professional ethical standards in hard decision-making situations.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 99-109
  • Monograph Title: Construction Research Congress 2016: Old and New Construction Technologies Converge in Historic San Juan

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01605941
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784479827
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: May 24 2016 3:01PM