TREC's Jennifer Dill, standing, and John MacArthur, far left, present their research at the 2016 annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board. The nation's largest transportation research conference brings 12,000 people to Washington, D.C.

NITC research shines at major national transportation conference

posted on Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 4:45am PST

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Proponents of advanced bikeways will point out a growing body of research on these facilities’ safety and benefits for cycling. They can now add another benefit: higher home values.

Research led by Jenny Liu of Portland State University looked at property around advanced bikeways in Portland, defined as bicycle boulevards, protected bike lanes and buffered bike lanes. She found positive effects on property values close to one of these bikeways and an even stronger effect where the network was denser.

Liu presents her research Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Learn more or download the research paper.

For single family home sales, being a quarter mile closer to an advanced bikeway translated to a $686 premium, while increasing the density by a quarter mile represented a $4,039 premium. For multi-family homes, the effect of being close to a bikeway wasn’t statistically significant on sale price, but increasing the density of bikeways translated to $4,712 of value.

The research can inform policymakers who may question how much residents value bikeways and provide insight into siting decisions. “My results don’t...

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Saddling transit-oriented developments with parking requirements better suited to typical suburban developments can make housing and office space near transit scarce and overly expensive. That’s one implication of a NITC research report examining driving and parking at these centers.

It makes sense that transit-oriented developments—dense, walkable centers close to transit that combine residential, commercial and office uses—would generate fewer car trips and need less parking than other development types. But until now, no one has found out how much less parking.

NITC researcher Reid Ewing of the University of Utah took up the challenge and reveals the answer in a report: a lot less. The developments Ewing’s team studied generally generated less than half the driving, and required fewer than half the parking spaces, than standard guidebooks predict. They presented some of their findings iJan. 10 during the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Learn more about the conference or download the paper.

Ewing’s team studied transit-oriented developments in five United States metropolitan areas and found the...

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Tara Goddard, a doctoral candidate in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, has been selected as the 2016 NITC university transportation center student of the year.

NITC takes pride in the development of tomorrow’s transportation leaders, involving students in research and supporting student transportation groups.

Goddard is the 11th student of the year since Portland State established its university transportation center in 2006. She is being recognized at the Council of University Transportation Centers 2017 Annual Awards Banquet in Washington, D.C., where she's also attending the Transportation Research Board annual meeting.

Goddard’s dissertation research explores drivers’ attitudes and behaviors toward bicyclists. This reflects her broader interest in the intersectionality between transportation and the social sciences, and how professionals in both disciplines can work together to improve upon public spaces and the ways that people interact within them.

This research focus comes with exciting opportunities for future work, a future which is still being determined: Goddard has applied for academic positions in different parts of the world and is waiting to hear what country she will be living in next year. Meanwhile, she is staying busy.

“I am vigorously trying to wrap up my PhD in the next two months, and...

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Pedestrians often have to wait longer than drivers for the light to change. Increased delay for pedestrians can lead to noncompliance, which can have a negative impact on safety.

Most planning efforts geared toward those on foot have tended to focus on safety, but pedestrian efficiency is also important.

NITC researchers will present on this topic at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Learn more and download our guide to the conference.

Sirisha Kothuri, a research associate in civil engineering at Portland State University, is the principal investigator on this NITC research project, an extension of her doctoral dissertation work.

Kothuri and co-investigator Edward Smaglik of Northern Arizona University will present their work Sunday, Jan. 8 in a workshop at the TRB conference. Their research looked at pedestrian strategies around the country to determine if they were primarily safety or efficiency measures.

“Generally, pedestrian strategies, if they exist at all, are safety based,” Kothuri said.

So the first task was to identify efficiency-based strategies for pedestrians. Then the research team undertook a...

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Seniors make up a large percentage of transit riders, yet their experience isn’t always comfortable or convenient. Researchers from the University of Oregon sought to address those problems from a product design perspective.

Their work was accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Learn more and download our guide to the conference. 

The work stems from a NITC education project, Design for an Aging Population, led by product design assistant professor Trygve Faste. Faste's design studio course learned about problems that people with disabilities face using transit and developed design solutions. 

Working with the local Lane Transit District, Faste and the student researchers surveyed and interviewed bus riders, held focus groups, accompanied riders on trips and rode as observers. They found that older riders faced obstacles every step of the way: from reaching bus stops to finding seats and riding, to ending their rides. Those obstacles vary between riders and whether they use a walker or wheelchair or have sight, hearing or other disabilities.

Sometimes the needs of riders conflict, Faste pointed out. A wheelchair user may want...

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Portland State University has secured a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for transportation research, education and outreach. Portland State’s Transportation Research and Education Center, TREC, will administer the grant, which is expected to total $15.6 million.

The grant names TREC's National Institute for Transportation and Communities program, or NITC, as one of five national university transportation centers. TREC will expand the NITC program and add new partners University of Arizona and University of Texas at Arlington. Existing partners University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology and University of Utah remain partners in the Portland State-led program.

The NITC program will focus on four research areas: increasing access to opportunities; improving multi-modal planning and shared use of infrastructure; advancing innovation and smart cities; and developing data, models and tools. Among the 11 projects funded in the first year of the grant are:

  • A smart platform for connected vehicle infrastructure and signal control;
  • A multidisciplinary look at how the concept of walkability has left out disadvantaged neighborhoods and how to address those gaps;
  • Two innovative efforts to help transit connect people with jobs and opportunities;
  • An examination of the economic and business effects of converting infrastructure for nonmotorized...
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TREC research takes center stage in Washington, D.C. at this week’s University Transportation Center Spotlight Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The conference spotlight topic changes each year. This, the 10th annual conference, focuses on pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Conference chair Jennifer Dill, director of TREC and its NITC program, opens the program Thursday by defining the safety threats for people walking and bicycling in our communities. She will then task attendees with addressing the problem.

“I’m pleased to have the leading researchers on these issues together,” Dill said. “This conference provides opportunities for collaboration and synergies that advance the state of research.”

TREC’s John MacArthur and Christopher Monsere moderate a breakout session on bicycle infrastructure that includes a presentation from Monsere and NITC researcher David Hurwitz on right-hook crashes. Portland State researchers also present topics including pedestrian crossing enhancements, the psychology of roadway interactions,and developing an online tool for pedestrian and bicycle...

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Vanessa Garrison, co-founder of national walking movement GirlTrek, gave the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture October 19 at Portland State University. Her simple, powerful message has mobilized more than 75,000 black women and girls since 2011 to start changing their lives and their communities for the better.

“Change starts with one woman,” she said. That is GirlTrek’s change theory: start with one woman, and there is a ripple effect.

Every time one woman is inspired by GirlTrek to commit to a daily habit of walking, so the theory goes, she can begin to motivate her friends, family or neighbors to walk with her and the movement gains another focal point around which to build momentum.

It's about health, but so much more.

In improving her own health, each GirlTrek walker gains the strength to effect other positive changes in her world.

With a group of women walking together every day, the neighborhood becomes safer. Then, depending on the needs of the community, more change begins to evolve. Are there safe sidewalks? Does traffic speed down the streets of the neighborhood? Should there be more destinations to walk to? What forms of social injustice can be addressed at the local level? These are questions that GirlTrek staff members love to help trekkers answer.

“Whatever it is that a women needs, to go back into her community and create change, we help bring her there,” Garrison said...

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The Portland State University Urban Sustainability Accelerator’s “New Thinking for a New Era” symposium on transportation investment decision-making Sept. 21-22 equipped participants with new ideas, tools and approaches to making transportation investment decisions. The event, held on campus, aimed to show that the best solutions consider a spectrum of issues—ranging from environmental, social justice, and economic development—while also being cost-effective.

Lynn Peterson, senior transportation advisor for Smart Growth America and former head of the Washington State Department of Transportation (and a graduate of PSU’s Masters in Urban Planning program), presented one of these approaches in her breakout session, ‘Practical Solutions: Least-cost planning and performance based design.’ She described several ideas that are important to implement when planning or vetting transportation projects, in order to achieve the best outcomes.

At the onset of a project, she stressed the importance of knowing the problem and having a consensus. Community involvement is key in this step. As she put it:

“Problem solving can only be...

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A new NITC report introduces an important tool for safety analysis: a naturalistic method of data collection that can be used to improve the cycling experience.

Before now, most naturalistic studies (studies where data are collected in a natural setting, rather than a controlled setting) in bicycle safety research have been captured by stationary cameras and haven't followed cyclists along a route.

Researchers in this study used first-person video and sensor data to measure cyclists' reactions to specific situations.

Safety research in general has advanced significantly through naturalistic driving studies, which gather data from real drivers to illuminate the causes of traffic incidents both major and minor. For motorized vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been developing portable, vehicle-based data collection technologies since the early 1990s.

Portland State University researchers Feng Liu, Miguel Figliozzi and Wu-chi Feng sought to capture the cycling experience with physiological sensors and helmet-mounted cameras.

Their report, Utilizing Ego-centric Video to Conduct Naturalistic Bicycling Studies, offers a successful method for integrating video and sensor data to record...

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