As social media comes to permeate every aspect of modern life, public transit is no exception.

Transit agencies are increasingly making social media an integral part of their day-to-day management, using it to connect with riders about system alerts, live transit arrival information, service disruptions and customer feedback.

However, there is very little evidence to show how effective these efforts really are in achieving agency goals.

Measuring the Impacts of Social Media on Advancing Public Transit, a NITC project led by Jenny Liu of Portland State University, seeks to provide a better understanding of how transit agencies use social media and to develop some performance measures to assess the impacts of social media on promoting public transit.

This project aims to measure how social media actually impacts agency goals like increasing recruitment and retention of transit riders; increasing resources and customer satisfaction; addressing system performance efficiency; and improving employee productivity and morale.

A survey of 27 public transportation providers across the country found that although 94% of those surveyed agencies used some form of social media, only 28% had a social media plan or strategy prior to implementation.

Liu’s research explores the types of performance measures that could...

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While bike-sharing systems become increasingly common in American cities, questions about the equity of such systems are making their way to the forefront of the conversation.

Bike share can provide a cheap and healthy means of transportation, but many systems are not serving the lower-income and minority populations who, arguably, could benefit most from having the additional travel option.

A survey of 56 bike share system operators in the United States offers an overview of how these equity concerns are being addressed.

The survey is part of a larger research effort, Evaluating Efforts to Improve the Equity of Bike Share Systems. To gain an understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in providing more equitable bike share, TREC and NITC teamed up with the Better Bike Share Partnership: a collaboration between PeopleForBikes, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and other local partners.

Nathan McNeil, a Portland State University research associate, is leading the research team in evaluating efforts to improve bike share equity with co-investigators John MacArthur and Jennifer Dill.

The researchers surveyed...

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In 2016, road crashes resulted in 40,000 deaths and 4.6 million injuries in the United States. For young people under age 19, these collisions were the leading cause of death.

What if we could use technology to predict where vehicle collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists will occur, then take steps to prevent them? Would you want to help? Well, now you can.

Portland State University is particpating in a multi-city, multi-organizational partnership called Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero. As indicated in this ITE Journal Article, this technology development partnership aims to use footage from traffic cameras across North America to “teach” computers how to recognize near-miss collisions. Data from these machine learning systems will allow transportation engineers to predict where crashes will occur and take proactive measures to prevent them.

The partnership invites public participation in the next project milestone – using crowdsourcing to analyze video and teach computers to identify a person in a wheelchair, on a bike or in a car, as well as patterns of movement in intersections. The more volunteers who take part, the better computers will learn to recognize near-miss collisions.

To participate, visit: http://www.ite.org/visionzero/videoanalytics/.

Here’s how it works: volunteers will...

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Transportation workforce development doesn't always take place at the university level. Students' interest in transportation can start much earlier than that, which is why TREC is always looking for ways to engage elementary and high school students in transportation. Under the guidance of Lisa Patterson, our new technology transfer and workforce development program manager, TREC's education programs continue to expand. Many of our education efforts focus on drawing women and minorities, who are often underrepresented in STEM fields, to consider the possibilities of transportation as a profession.

On Tuesday, May 16, Patterson held an information table at Oregon's 2017 MESA Day, an annual state student engineering competition, to offer students a look at some of TREC's upcoming education programs. These included a ChickTech workshop as well as TREC's second Summer Transportation Institute, a free transportation-focused summer camp for which applications are now being accepted.

TREC hosted the ChickTech workshop on Saturday, May 20 at Portland State University, offering a GIS “crash” course for high school girls.

The workshop, held in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (...

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Everyday cycling for transportation can have positive, population-level health impacts.

Significant deterrents to cycling remain, however, particularly for women and minorities.

Narratives of Marginalized Cyclists, a NITC project conducted by Amy Lubitow of Portland State University, explores the experiences of women and minorities biking in Portland, Oregon.

Lubitow interviewed 28 Portlanders who self-identified as a woman or as a racial/ethnic minority (or both), and based on the insights gained from their stories, came up with a set of recommended interventions for planners to mitigate the barriers they experience.

"Institutionalized racism and sexism is hard to fix. These are complicated issues that involve multiple levels of interventions, but at a basic sort of smaller scale, there are things we can do," Lubitow said.

She chose participants who own a bike and ride it at least once a month, but not more than once a week. The primary aim of the project was to collect rich, narrative data regarding obstacles to routine or utilitarian cycling for women and minorities who already see biking as a viable form of transportation, but who make relatively few bike trips.

The interviews...

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A new NITC report examines factors that predict whether a driver will comply with Oregon laws aimed at keeping pedestrians safe.

Miguel Figliozzi of Portland State University, director of the Transportation, Technology & People (TTP) research lab, has done extensive work in Portland, Oregon modeling and analyzing the complex interactions between cars, transit, traffic signal technologies and human roadway users.

The research seeks to provide a better understanding of the tradeoffs between traffic mobility, transit performance and pedestrian access.

The first phase of Figliozzi’s research focused on how two advanced traffic control technologies work together. In this second phase, he zeroes in on pedestrian safety.

The report examines traffic and trajectory factors that explain whether a driver complies with Oregon law, which has strong pedestrian protections. In Oregon, drivers must stop for pedestrians as soon as they move onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed.

Oregon state law determines that there is a crosswalk at every intersection with or without a marked crosswalk. The state also requires that a driver, before crossing a crosswalk, stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until the pedestrians...

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The Federal Highway Administration issued an interim approval for bike signals, based on the NITC project "Operational Guidance for Bicycle-Specific Traffic Signals." This video provides a look at what that means for jurisdictions in the U.S.

The 2017 Oregon Active Transportation Summit is happening, and TREC and Portland State University are well represented.

The event began yesterday, March 20th, and continues through today at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. In a breakout session yesterday afternoon, TREC researchers Sirisha Kothuri and Tara Goddard presented along with Rebecca Sanders of Toole Design Group in a session titled “The Latest in Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Research” which explored systemic safety analysis, safety performance along road segments, and the psychology of roadway interactions.

Kothuri is a postdoctoral researcher and Goddard is a current Ph.D. candidate at Portland State. Both of them have been former NITC dissertation fellows, and Goddard presented her dissertation research on the effects of explicit and implicit attitudes on self-reported safety behaviors in yesterday’s session.

Both Kothuri and Goddard are also working on ongoing research through the NITC program. Goddard studies transportation psychology and Kothuri’s research centers on bicycle and pedestrian safety and signal timing.

Kothuri was also a presenter in a morning session yesterday, “Making...

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Hilltop Planning, a group of students from the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program at Portland State University, received a 2017 Student Project Award from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) for their Planning Workshop project, OHSU Night Access Plan.

The group took third prize in NITC's 2016 student video contest with their short video about the Night Access Plan:

They are presenting the project today in the first breakout session at the 2017...

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TREC, the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University, hosted a lunch and information session Friday for Portland State staff and faculty members.

The luncheon brought together individuals from a broad range of disciplines. In addition to people from typically transportation-aware fields like civil and environmental engineering, metropolitan studies, urban and regional planning, public administration and the institute for sustainable solutions, representatives of other disciplines also attended, whose fields have the potential to intersect with transportation.

The span of fields included engineering and technology management; public health; education; mathematics and statistics; electrical and computer engineering; psychology; geography; computer science; women, gender and sexuality studies; economics and applied linguistics.

The gathering served as a way to bring together a diverse group of people from various disciplines who could benefit from connecting with the transportation center’s ongoing programs and research.

Portland has established itself nationally and globally as a leader in sustainable transportation, thanks in part to Portland State research and education programs. Portland state’s renown in transportation lifts the entire university’s national reputation, and faculty members whose studies are not directly related to transportation can still benefit from this effect.

Connecting with TREC...

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