Webinar: Transportation Academy: Lessons from the Portland Traffic and Transportation Course

Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 10:00am to 11:00am PST

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Community involvement and outreach is an important part of any planning effort, but as planners often find, many times the conversation is a difficult one to carry on. Residents may lack the technical knowledge to understand the intricacies of the system, or they may show skepticism toward the planning process in general. “Transportation Leadership Education,” a NITC education project, offers a guide for communities to stimulate the development of a more involved, educated citizenry.

The Portland Traffic and Transportation course is taught each year to 30-40 Portland residents who want to learn more about how the local transportation system developed and how it functions. The course is operated by the Portland Bureau of Transportation in conjunction with Portland State University. It helps participants understand local transportation agencies and their decision-making processes, and how to be involved. Over 1,200 Portland residents have taken the course over more than 20 years.

This webinar will present findings from a case study about the course derived from interviews with the people involved in launching the course,...

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Choropleth Mapping of Estimates and Errors of Estimation from the American Community Survey

Friday, November 13, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST

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Demographic and socio-economic information provided by the American Community Survey (ACS) have been increasingly relied upon in many planning and decision making contexts due to its timely and current estimates. However, ACS estimates are well known to be subject to larger sampling errors with a much smaller sample size compared with the decennial census data. To support the assessment of the reliability of ACS estimates, the US Census Bureau publishes a margin of error at the 90% confidence level alongside each estimate. While data error or uncertainty in ACS estimates has been widely acknowledged, little has been done to devise methods accounting for such error or uncertainty. This talk focuses on addressing ACS data uncertainty issues in choropleth mapping, one of the most widely used methods to visually explore spatial distributions of demographic and socio-economic data.

Ran Wei is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Utah. Wei received her PhD in Geography from the Arizona State University in...

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Model-Based Analytics and Processes for Transportation Investment Alternatives Analyses: From Least Cost Planning to Multi Criterion Evaluation

Friday, November 6, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST

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Many public and private organizations that make decisions regarding whether and how to invest in transportation assets or programs do so via a structured decision-support process. This talk will address the technical aspects of the family of such processes that use travel demand model outputs—and other sources of quantified performance data—as inputs to analytic tools including benefit cost analysis (BCA) and multi criterion evaluation. Example applications of this framework have included tolling and pricing studies, capital investment alternatives analyses, and programmatic evaluations. Example processes include "Least Cost Planning" frameworks borrowed originally from the power generation industry.

The talk will also address some of the "process" requirements necessary for successful deployment of the analytics for actual decision applications, and will include an open discussion of potential criteria for both technical and process success in the Portland metropolitan area. Come prepared with your thoughts on questions such as: are these techniques valuable for regional stakeholders? What technical features are particularly important to this region...

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Examining the right to bicycle: Synergies and tensions between human rights, civil rights, and planning for cycling

Friday, October 30, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT

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Securing and expanding the broad right to bicycle, including the right to adequate and safe street space and related infrastructure for cycling along with other policies and protections for cyclists, is the obvious goal of cycling advocacy efforts in their various forms. All rights are situated within frameworks for promulgating and insuring they are honored, and the right to cycling is no different. This project investigates how the right to bicycle falls within various rights frameworks, focusing on broad human rights and civil rights frameworks while reflecting as well on traffic safety codes and transportation planning frameworks. While certain aspects of the right to cycle find support in particular aspects of these frameworks, there are tensions among them as well. The right to cycle, for example, does not find significant support as a civil right as clarified in civil rights laws and directives, while it does however correspond more broadly to human rights conceptions of the right to bodily integrity and mobility. This project then reflects on these findings, exploring advocacy strategies for the right to bicycle and their tensions and synergies with other...

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Webinar: Transport Cost Index: A New Comprehensive Performance Measure for Transportation and Land Use

Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 10:00am to 11:00am PDT

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Recent federal and state policies are placing increasing emphasis on using comprehensive transportation performance measures to guide transportation decision making processes covering policy areas ranging from mobility, safety, economy and livability, to issues of equity and environment. While it is relatively easy to build consensus on mobility measures that center on the transportation system alone, it is much harder for performance measures to incorporate both transportation and land use, loosely defined as accessibility measures, even with continuous efforts to catalog and design such measures.

Two projects at PSU sponsored by Oregon DOT and National Institute of Transportation Communities (NITC) aim to to develop and evaluate Transport Cost Index (TCI), a comprehensive performance measure for transportation and land use, in order to fill important gaps in popular accessibility measures: 

  1. TCI is a composite indicator that is able to present an overall picture of a community’s accessibility, while at the same time is relatively easy to interpret for...
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The Trade-offs between Population Density and Households' Transportation-housing Costs

Friday, October 23, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT

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As metropolitan area governments and others promote density-promoting “smart growth” policies, finer analysis is needed to quantify the impact of such policies on households' transportation and housing costs. Existing research suggests that households in urban areas trade-off between housing costs and transportation costs, but does not explore how policies to increase urban densities might explicitly impact this balance. Furthermore, the research does not adequately distinguish between the effect of urban area density and the effects of other factors associated with urban area density (e.g metropolitan area size and household incomes) on housing costs. This research uses the 2000 Census Public Use Micro Sample (PUMS) person and household data from 23 of the nation's most densely populated states to identify the impact of increased population density on three housing cost measures: household rents, housing unit values, and monthly mortgage payments. Log linear models were estimated for each housing cost measure using least-squares regression. Dependent variables included household, housing unit, and geographic area characteristics, including population density. The models were found to be very similar to one another in terms of the...

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Exchange with Scott Bernstein

Monday, October 19, 2015, 3:30pm to 5:00pm PDT
Please join us on Monday, October 19, 2015, for an exchange with

Scott Bernstein

President, Center for Neighborhood Technology  

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Scott led the development of the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index, the Location Efficient Mortgage, and GIS-based maps showing the location of transportation-related carbon emissions — online tools that can be used to advance key policy goals, including affordable housing, active transportation, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Scott was a founding board member of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Center and co-founded the Center for Transit-Oriented Development...

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The backstory: How LivableStreets advocates changed Boston

Friday, October 16, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT

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Local grassroots advocacy organizations play a critical role in shaping the future of cities but receive very little attention in research, especially insofar as understanding the most effective tactics that should be used by these organizations to achieve their objectives. When LivableStreets Alliance was founded in 2005, The City of Boston had 3/8 of one mile of bicycle lanes. Over the past decade, we have seen a sea change. Boston has published a nationally-recognized Complete Streets Guide, MassDOT has incorporated cycle-track designs into several federally-funded projects, and highway overpasses are slated for removal. What is LivableStreets’ role in shifting policy, politics, design, and public opinion? What are lessons to be learned for future transportation planners and engineers? Get the inside scoop on what actually happened behind the scenes.


Jeff co-founded LivableStreets Alliance, an urban...

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Location-efficient affordable housing as a pre-requisite for a safe, healthy, and equitable transportation system

Friday, October 9, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT

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Mountains of research over the last several decades show that how we get around and how much physical activity we get are closely linked with the built environment of the neighborhoods where we live. This means that the health, economic, and environmental benefits associated with active travel and transit are place-based and that affordable housing in walkable, location efficient places needs to be thought of as a critical component of planners’ efforts to provide safe, healthy, and equitable transportation systems. This talk will provide an overview of the links between affordable housing and transportation planning and present research findings from a new national study of location efficiency within the Low-income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, the largest source of new affordable housing in the United States.

Arlie Adkins is an assistant professor of urban planning in the School of Landscape...

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Equity and Access in Los Angeles: Fostering active transportation culture in car country (Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 6:30pm to 8:00pm PDT

Seleta Reynolds, Los Angeles Department of Transportation

Despite its reputation as a city built for automobiles, Los Angeles has made huge strides toward promoting active transportation and transit. In a diverse city with a unique land use and transportation system, however, serving all residents poses a challenge.

It’s a challenge Seleta Reynolds, the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, is up for. In Los Angeles, equity and transportation are bound together and the city's transportation department must take on equity in a big way.

Heading an ambitious plan that includes doubling the number of people riding bikes, Reynolds encounters issues such as nurturing a walking and cycling culture in low-income communities and making sure the wave of transportation technology doesn’t leave some groups behind.

Before coming to Los Angeles last August, Reynolds was a manager in the Livable Streets team at the San Francisco Municipal...

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