The success of TREC’s first summer program for high-school girls shows promise for the future transportation workforce. The National Summer Transportation Institute, held July 11-22, gave 22 girls classroom and hands-on instruction with transportation experts in various fields and sectors.
While high school girls and boys enroll in higher science and math classes at the same rate, fewer girls persist in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. That carries into the workforce, where women still hold a small percentage of transportation-related jobs. Fewer than a quarter of transportation supervisors, and under 14 percent of civil engineers are women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
A goal of the summer institute was involvement of underrepresented groups, and more than half the students identified themselves as girls of color. The institute sought to inspire...
Vanessa Garrison didn’t set out to build a health movement. Growing up in Seattle’s Central District, a historically black neighborhood, Garrison just wanted her household and her community to be healthy.
“It was a challenge for me to develop solutions that work for the women I love,” Garrison said.
Those solutions, however, did set off a movement: GirlTrek, a community-based walking movement that has reached 250,000 black women and girls across the country. Garrison co-founded GirlTrek and serves as its chief operating officer.
“Seattle is one of the most active cities in the country, but my household was completely inactive,” Garrison said. “All the women in my family were really experiencing health challenges due to chronic disease.”
Those problems ran deeper than simply inactivity. Obesity and inactivity often have roots in concerns about safety and other community issues built on historical trauma and systemic racism. A fitness-only approach, Garrison reasoned, would fail to overcome these powerful forces.
With friend Morgan Dixon, who would become her GirlTrek co-...
Oliver Smith, a former NITC dissertation fellow with a Ph.D. in Urban Studies from Portland State University, published research findings last month in the Journal of Transport and Health.
The study includes evidence that walking and biking have a significant positive effect on wellbeing, and suggests that bicycling to work may benefit mental as well as physical health.
Read the journal article here: Commute well-being differences by mode: Evidence from Portland, Oregon, USA
The article grew out of Smith’s dissertation, a NITC-funded research project on the connection between commute modes and happiness or well-being.
Visit the project page to learn more: Peak of the Day, or the Daily Slog?
Smith created a measure of how individuals feel about their commute to work: CWB, or “commute well-being.” To quantify a person’s CWB, he used a composite measure based on seven questions that measure both emotional and cognitive responses to the commute.
He surveyed commuters traveling to work in central Portland...Read more
Cooperation. It’s the fundamental concept of a shared world, and it’s in evidence all over Portland, Oregon today as the 2016 International Open Streets Summit kicks off.
The Open Streets Project is an advocacy project led by The Street Plans Collaborative, and Portland was chosen to host its third Open Streets Summit this year. (The first was held in Los Angeles in 2014, and last year Atlanta, Georgia hosted one.)
The four-day conference is happening this year through a partnership between Street Plans, which is based in Miami with offices in San Francisco and New York, 8–80 Cities based in Toronto, Ontario, and locally the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation, IBPI and TREC. All are organizations dedicated to the idea of livable cities.Read more
For someone who refuses to make predictions, Brian David Johnson has a long list of examples of how the future he envisioned came true.
It’s his job, after all.
As a futurist, Johnson helps organizations imagine what they’ll be doing 10 years in the future and then models the steps they’ll need to achieve that vision.
Johnson will describe his work, and offer insights relevant to transportation professionals, as the keynote speaker at the Transportation and Communities Summit Sept. 9 at Portland State University.
Transportation figures heavily into both popular visions of the future and Johnson’s work—but not in the same way. “Cities and transportation and infrastructure are some of the most important parts of futurecasting”—Johnson’s name for this method of modeling—he said.
Although audiences raised on jet pack-based transportation science fiction don’t welcome this message, “the cities of the future are going to look like the cities of today,” Johnson said. “It’s one of the most unpopular things I tell people.”
But consider the alternative. “Culturally, we value the past, and our future will look a lot like that,” Johnson said. “I don’t think that’s a bad thing. ‘The Jetsons’ is a sci-fi dystopia.”
Finding a future that looks like the present, or even the past, is a surprising theme in Johnson’s work, which has included consulting for firms such as Intel and trade...Read more
Thanks in part to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge competition, the interest in data and technology among transportation professionals has never been higher. That's especially true in Portland, one of the competition's seven finalist cities.
PORTAL, the region's multimodal transportation data archive, is central to any detailed understanding of how our transportation system works now and will work in the future. Kristin Tufte, the director of PORTAL, looks beyond the data streams to the bigger question: what do we do with all this information?
Tufte addresses that question in a new blog post for the Intel Science and Technology Center for Big Data:
The list of data sources available to Smart Cities for use in urban analytics is almost endless: data from connected and automated vehicles, data from connected intersections, probe data from cell phones, crowd-sourced data, fixed-sensor data, air quality readings, and more. A critical question is: How can we use this vast store of data to improve people’s lives?
Read the full blog at ISTC Big Data
In the spring of 2015, with guidance provided by the NITC program, students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York created a pedestrian and bicycle plan for the City of Canandaigua, New York.
As part of their Sustainable Community Development capstone course, the students in environmental studies provided plans for a mixed use district along Route 332 in Canandaigua.
Course instructor Jim Ochterski credits PSU researcher Lynn Weigand’s NITC education project, Enhancing Bicycle and Pedestrian Education through Curriculum and Faculty Development, with providing essential resources for the course.
“Most of the students did not have any grounding in pedestrian planning and development, and [the NITC materials] made a huge difference,” Ochterski said.
Part of the mission of the NITC program is to enrich transportation education. One way our university partners do this is by developing curricula to advance transportation and livability goals in the classroom.
Weigand's project was intended for just this purpose. She created a module-based curriculum for bicycle and pedestrian planning and design that was designed to be adaptable for use in a variety of course offerings.
The HWS instructors took that curriculum and ran with it.
“We took on a major community project in ped/bike planning because we had these support materials from the program. It allowed us to...Read more
This summer, Portland State University hosts the 2016 Summer Transportation Institute Program for high school girls in a free two-week day camp, weekdays July 11-22.
This unique program, sponsored by the Civil Rights Division of the Federal Highway Administration and administered through Portland State’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), is designed to introduce underrepresented population to careers and educational paths towards the study of transportation. Read Bike Portland’s coverage of the Institute here.
What does all this mean?
A group of 22 diverse high school girls have been selected to participate in a program that not only teaches them about transportation careers, but gives them hands-on experience working with experts in the field, including leaders from the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Port of Portland and TriMet. In addition, women from private-sector transportation consulting such as Alta Planning, Kittleson & Associates, and Cambridge Systematics are involved with instructing the girls.
TREC has a job opening for a Research and Education Program Administrator. This position is responsible for the day-to-day administrative research, education, and diversity programs.
Primary responsibilities include:
- Project Administration. Tracking and reporting research, education, and diversity projects from inception to project close-out. Coordinating and requesting progress reports; entering and keeping up-to-date entries in the TRB Research in Progress (RIP) database; ensuring that data entered into the Proposal and Project Management System (PPMS) are current; sending out final report and overdue reminders; and finalizing final reports including coordinating peer reviews and collecting final project metrics.
- Program Administration. Administering the competitive, peer-reviewed, project selection process including the annual Request for Proposal (RFP), pooled-fund, small starts, undergraduate research fund and dissertation fellowships. Tasks include coordinating peer reviews, coordinating executive committee meetings, creating and updating related forms, Principal Investigator Handbook, FAQs, and other related materials; assisting with awards and task orders; posting information to the website and updating online system to accept new proposals, and distributing information via email. Coordinate the selection of the student of the year selection, and maintain contact with the student groups from partner campuses.
TREC is offering a free summer program for high school girls who are interested in transportation studies.
The Summer Transportation Institute will run from July 11–22, 2016.
It is part of a national initiative funded by the FHWA to address the need of a diverse workforce in the 21st century.
The two-week intensive summer day camp will consist of classroom instruction in the mornings and field tours in the afternoons.
Field tours will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the agencies and systems that operate in Portland, and the classroom sessions will provide an understanding of the tools that transportation professionals use to achieve community goals.
Students will gain the skills necessary to solve complex transportation problems and make real change in their communities, as well as a firsthand look at how the Portland transportation universe functions.
In addition, the course will have a focus on social justice, with an examination of how to increase transportation availability and service to traditionally underserved communities.
The course administrator, Sarah Dougher, is an American singer-songwriter, author, and teacher based in Portland, Oregon. TREC is fortunate to have her skills and experience focused on this one-of-a-kind program....Read more
Alex Bigazzi, a 2014 NITC dissertation fellow and graduate of Portland State University's Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. program, has published a paper based on his NITC-funded research in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
See ACS coverage of the project here.
Bigazzi's research evaluates the concentration of air pollution encountered by cyclists in Portland, Oregon.
In the study, volunteer research subjects rode bicycles equipped with instruments to collect high-resolution bicycle, rider, traffic and environmental data.
Participants rode a variety of routes including bicycle lanes on primary and secondary arterials, bicycle boulevards, off-street paths and mixed-use roadways. They were told to ride at a pace and exertion level typical for utilitarian travel, and breath biomarkers were used to record the amount of traffic-related pollution present in each cyclist’s exhalations.
This research was the focus of Bigazzi's dissertation, Bicyclists’ Uptake of Traffic-Related Air Pollution: Effects of the Urban Transportation System, published by NITC in December 2014. It was related to an earlier project...Read more