Big data and the future of travel modeling

Friday, March 3, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST

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New technologies such as smart phones and web applications constantly collect data on individuals' trip-making and travel patterns. Efforts at using these "Big data" products, to date, have focused on using them to expand or inform traditional travel demand modeling frameworks; however, it is worth considering if a new framework built to maximize the strengths of big data would be more useful to policy makers and planners.

In this presentation Greg Macfarlane will present a discussion on elements of travel models that could quickly benefit from big data and concurrent machine learning techniques, and results from a preliminary application of a prototype framework in Asheville, North Carolina.

Dr. Macfarlane is an analyst in the Systems Analysis Group of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, developing and applying advanced travel demand models. His research and expertise includes trip-based models, activity-based models, integrated land-use/transport models, and micro-simulation of both travel...

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Student Presentations from TRB, Week 3: Positive Utility of Travel & Impact of Bike Facilities

Friday, February 24, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST

View Patrick Singleton's Slides

View Wei Shi's Slides

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Exploring the Positive Utility of Travel and Mode Choice

Civil & Environmental Engineering: Patrick Singleton

Why do people travel? We traditionally assume traveling is a means to an end, travel demand is derived (from the demand for activities), and travel time is to be minimized. Recently, scholars have questioned these axioms, noting that some people may like to travel, use travel time productively, enjoy the experience of traveling, or travel for non-utilitarian reasons. The idea that travel can provide benefits and may be motivated by factors beyond reaching activity destinations is known as...

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Webinar: Integrating explicit and implicit methods in travel behavior research: A study of driver attitudes and bias

Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 10:00am to 11:00am PST

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Car crashes are still a leading cause of death in the United States, with vulnerable road users like bicyclists and pedestrians being injured or killed at rates that outpace their mode share.

Planners, engineers, and advocates are increasingly adopting Vision Zero and Tactical Urbanism approaches and trying to better understand the underlying causes of dangerous roadway interactions. However, existing research into crash causation has focused on instrumental factors (e.g. intersection type, vehicle speed) while little research has probed the role of attitudes or socio-cognitive mechanisms in interactions between roadway users.

Social psychology suggests that attitudes and social cognitions can play a role in conflict. Drivers’ attitudes toward bicyclists, and how those attitudes may affect drivers’ behavior, are a largely unexplored area of research, particularly...

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Using Fuzzy Cognitive Maps to Model Policy Issues in the face of Uncertainty and Limited Data

Friday, February 17, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST

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Planners and policymakers are often faced with the need to make decisions about issues for which there is uncertainty and limited data. For example, transportation planners are now faced with the prospect that new transportation technologies such as autonomous vehicles could greatly alter future transportation system needs. Decisions about these types of issues are difficult to reason about and consequently are likely to be ignored or made on the basis of simplistic logic. Although modeling could be helpful, especially for issues involving complex systems, it is rarely used because models usually require large amounts of data and and handle uncertainty poorly.

This presentation is about how a fuzzy systems dynamic model (FSDM) may be used to model policy issues involving uncertainty and limited data. The FSDM is a type of fuzzy cognitive...

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PhD Dissertation Defense: NITC Fellow Steven Gehrke

Monday, February 13, 2017, 3:00pm to 4:00pm PST

Location: Engineering Building 315

The Portland State University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is pleased to announce Steven Gehrke's PhD Dissertation Defense: "Land Use Mix and Pedestrian Travel Behavior: Advancements in Conceptualization and Measurement."

Adviser: Dr. Kelly Clifton

Urban policies encouraging pedestrian travel are often rooted in land development strategies, which are intended to promote greater efficiencies in the built environment. Land use mix, an important smart growth tenet, is one such strategy beholding of lasting urban planning and public health benefits. Still, no consensus exists about the conceptualization and measurement of land use mix or the magnitude of its connection with pedestrian travel. This dissertation is comprised of three empirical studies that explore this topic in detail.

NITC dissertation fellow Steven Gehrke is a Ph.D. candidate and graduate research assistant in the department of civil & environmental engineering at Portland State University. Steven's doctoral research centers on an improved understanding of the relationships between nonautomotive travel behaviors and the temporal mixing of activity locations. He previously received a master’s degree in community planning from the...

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Individual decision making in online public-participation transportation planning

Friday, February 10, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST

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The empirical evaluation of complex decision support systems is often limited to the self-reported satisfaction of the systems’ users.

Such an approach is problematic due to the conflation of the user's satisfaction related to the decision support system and the decision making process and its outcomes.

In addition, it bears limitations that are common among most techniques that solicit participant-stated feedback.

In this talk, based on data that was gathered by a web-based participatory system for transportation planning in the Puget Sound region, I present analytical methods for the empirical evaluation of decision support systems based on human-computer interaction. In addition, I discuss the extent to which self-centered and selfless decision making expressed itself in the transportation project choices of the users of the participatory system.

The observed...

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Empty Spaces webinar confronts parking at transit-oriented developments

Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:00am to 11:00am PST

Smart Growth America hosted a webinar Jan. 31 on NITC research finding that standard guidelines lead to a drastic oversupply of parking at transit-oriented developments. That restricts the supply of housing, office and retail space while driving up the price.

The webinar marks the release of Smart Growth America's lay summary of the NITC report, called "Empty Spaces," which will be available to webinar attendees.

Watch the recorded webinar here.

The research, led by Reid Ewing of the University of Utah, is one of the first comprehensive data-driven reports to estimate peak parking and vehicle trip generation rates for transit-oriented development projects, as well as one of the first to estimate travel mode shares for TODs. Ewing analyzed data on actual parking usage and total trip generation near five transit stations: Redmond, Washington; Rhode Island Row in Washington, D.C.; Fruitvale Village in Oakland, California; Englewood, Colorado; and Wilshire/Vermont in Los...

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Student Presentations from TRB, Week 2: Travel-Time Reliability and Equitable Bike Share

Friday, January 27, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST

View Travis Glick's slides

View Steven Howland's slides

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Civil & Environmental Engineering: Travis Glick

Estimating Reliability Indices and Confidence Intervals for Transit and Traffic at the Corridor Level

As congestion worsens, the importance of rigorous methodologies to estimate travel-time reliability increases. Exploiting fine-granularity transit GPS data, this research proposes a novel method to estimate travel-time percentiles and confidence intervals. Novel transit reliability measures based on travel-time percentiles are proposed to identify and rank low-performance hotspots; the proposed reliability measures can be utilized to distinguish...

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Webinar: Improving Walkability at Signalized Intersections with Signal Control Strategies

Thursday, January 26, 2017, 10:00am to 11:00am PST

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The goal of signal timing at an intersection should be to maximize efficiency for all users. In many jurisdictions, however, traffic signals are timed mostly with the goal of reducing vehicular delay.

Other road users, such as pedestrians, deserve similar focus. In legacy transportation systems, pedestrians experience delays much in excess of those that would be deemed acceptable for a motor vehicle at the same location.

Excessive delay can lead to pedestrian frustration, non-compliance and ultimately decreased safety.

In the North American context, implementation of strategies to address pedestrian service varies greatly across jurisdictions, and there has been limited research on incorporating alternative pedestrian treatments at signalized intersections.

Recent updates to the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM 2010) have included specific...

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Student Presentations from TRB, Week 1: Smart Growth Neighborhoods & Real-World Cycling

Friday, January 20, 2017, 12:00pm to 10:00pm PST

View Steven Gehrke's presentation slides

View Alvaro Caviedes' presentation slides

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Civil & Environmental Engineering: Steven Gehrke

A Pathway Linking Smart Growth Neighborhoods to Home-Based Pedestrian Travel

Land development patterns, urban design, and transportation system features are inextricably linked to pedestrian travel. Accordingly, planners and decision-makers have turned to integrated transportation-land use policies and investments to address the pressing need for improvements in physical activity levels via the creation of walkable communities. However, policy questions regarding the...

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