The latest report released by NITC offers a unique tool for communities: a guide to broadening residents’ knowledge about their transportation system and how to effect the changes they want to see.

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 project by Portland State University research associate Nathan McNeil, offers a startup kit for communities to stimulate the development of a more involved, educated citizenry.

“One of the conventions has been that public involvement is based around a specific plan or a specific project. This approach is more proactive; it recognizes the value in having informed citizens... building up the civic infrastructure of people, knowledge and connections,” McNeil said.

For the past 24 years, the City of Portland and Portland State University have teamed up to offer a ten-week transportation education course, free of charge to community members.

The Portland Traffic and Transportation Course...

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Seleta Reynolds of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation treated attendees of the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture to a provocative, entertaining presentation Oct. 6. Reynolds, the head of a 2,000-employee department, offered a perspective on striving for equity in a huge, diverse city.

TREC’s Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation program, or IBPI, Reynolds filled the Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center at the Ecotrust building in northwest Portland Oct. 6. Her presentation ranged from Vision Zero to autonomous vehicles.

The Niles lecture series serves as a legacy to Ann Niles, an advocate for livable neighborhoods in Portland. The lecture also coincided with the kickoff of a two-year campaign to create the IBPI Innovation in Active Transportation Endowed Scholarship, designed to help Portland State attract and retain the best and brightest students.

In Los Angeles, making sure transportation decisions benefit all residents is a constant and evolving challenge, Reynolds said at the lecture. All communities need to be at the table for discussions that affect them. The key, Reynolds said, is to “listen quietly and speak with humility.”

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The first Transportation and Communities Summit picked up where its predecessor summit left off, offering a day of professional development opportunities and a few new touches. Around 275 people attended this year’s summit, held Sept. 15 at Portland State University.

The highlight for many, according to post-event surveys, was the keynote address by author and sociology professor Eric Klinenberg. Keeping alive a tradition from earlier Oregon Transportation Summits, Klinenberg’s address gave insight into an issue that intersects with transportation—in this case, the rise of single-occupant households—without directly detailing the transportation implications.

The breakout sessions allowed attendees to delve deeper into topics directly related to their professions. A full 54 percent of survey respondents called the breakout sessions the most valuable piece of the summit program. The most highly rated sessions were “Waiting to Connect,” on connected vehicles; “Something from Nothing,” on funding; “Zeroing in on Safety,” on Vision Zero; and “Baby, You can Drive my Car;” on the sharing economy. 

Slides from all these presentations are available at the summit page.

For the first time, summit sessions were Webcast for those who couldn’t attend in person...

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Portland State University and the city of Portland will partner on a series of “smart city” projects over the next year as part of a national MetroLab Network initiative, announced at the White House on Monday, Sept. 14.

PSU and Portland are among 20 city-university pairings throughout the United States taking part in the initiative, in which partners will research, develop and deploy innovative technologies to address challenges facing the nation’s urban areas.

The White House statement about the MetroLab Network was part of a larger event announcing other smart cities programs being launched on the federal level. The Smart Cities Initiative will invest more than $160 million in federal research and leverage new technology innovations to help local communities tackle key challenges such as reducing traffic congestion, fighting crime, fostering economic growth, managing the effects of climate change and improving the delivery of city services.

The projects that Portland State and the city will focus on center around Portland’s mass-transit system, including a new bus rapid transit line along the Powell-Division corridor that Portland and TriMet plan to put in place in 2019. PSU researchers will work with the city and other partners to test air quality and traffic along the corridor using the latest sensor technology. They also will use sensors and traditional surveys to collect data showing how the new rapid transit line affects...

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NITC announces the opportunity to apply for awards to support small research development endeavors.

The purpose of these awards is to assist researchers who are interested in transportation but have not had an opportunity to undertake a small project that supports safe, healthy and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities. Individual awards cannot exceed $15,000. All grants require 1:1 match. 

Proposals are due November 6, 2015.

Please visit the NITC website for more information.

Priority (not exclusive) will be given to:

  • Applications from faculty who have not previously received an NITC grant.
  • Applications from untenured faculty.
  • Applications from research projects that are interdisciplinary.

Eligibility: 

Faculty members and research faculty eligible to serve as Principal Investigators (PIs) at Portland State University, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Utah, or University of South Florida may submit proposals.

The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) announces the opportunity to apply for grants to support implementation or translation of research results.

Grants are limited to disseminating results stemming from previously funded and completed research funded by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) or NITC. The purpose of these awards is to turn research into products that can be used by practitioners and/or researchers to further advance implementation. Priority will be given to projects that promote transportation and livable communities.
                                                              
Examples of technology transfer activities include:
  • Activity aimed at assisting local agencies or partners in implementing research results. This can be in the form of an in-person workshop, on-line webinar, development of a “how to” or training video, handbook, guidebook, software/spreadsheet tools, etc.
  • Refining or developing and disseminating tools that can be used by practitioners, students, or researchers to further the state of the practice.
For more information and to download the proposal, please visit: http://nitc.trec.pdx.edu/content/technology-transfer-pool
Proposals are due November 6, 2015. If you miss this cycle, there...
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The 2015 Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture with featured speaker Seleta Reynolds, initially set for last May but postponed due to unforeseen conflicts, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, October 6.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Ecotrust's Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center, in Portland's Pearl District. RSVP here to secure a spot.

Reynolds will discuss the challenges of fostering active transportation in car country.

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. Read more...

Christopher Monsere, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Portland State University whose research focuses on multimodal safety, has been selected to be a member of Portland, Oregon's new Vision Zero Task Force.

Vision Zero is a multi-national safety project which aims to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on the roads.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation, in an effort to make Portland's transportation system the safest possible, is taking steps to move toward zero traffic-related fatalities in the next 10 years.

To connect this work with a wider community effort, Mayor Charlie Hales kicked off the Vision Zero Task Force with a gathering last Monday, August 17, at the intersection of 82nd Avenue and Division—two of Portland’s most lethal corridors.

The Task Force is a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional group of members with a clear mandate: to work together and create a community-wide action plan with real solutions. Its members were chosen by Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick based on their qualifications and commitment.

Monsere will serve in an advisory capacity and investigate solutions as a TREC researcher. His expertise in the area of multimodal safety makes him uniquely qualified to offer...

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Seven dedicated students spent their summer days in TREC’s offices at PSU this year, working to transform the Bike-Ped Portal project from a dream into a reality.

TREC already houses Portal, a vast collection of Portland-area traffic and transit data, and NITC researchers saw a need for a database on the national scale for non-motorized transportation modes.

Research associate Krista Nordback launched the NITC pooled-fund project, Online Non-motorized Traffic Count Archive, with co-investigator Kristen Tufte in the spring of 2014. A year ago, Bike-Ped Portal was little more than an idea.

Now it contains roughly four million individual records of bicycle, pedestrian and even equestrian movements in five states.

High school interns Jolene Liu, Tomas Ramirez, Tara Sengupta, Gautum Singh, Kim Le, Max Fajardo and Kimberly Kuhn worked full time for weeks in order to convert piles of unsorted documentation into usable formats.

Nordback engaged the team of interns through Saturday Academy, a program affiliated with the University of...

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A NITC research project from Portland State University introduces a method of cleaning up land use data, for use in improved transportation models.

Transportation and land use are closely interdependent. Considerable work is underway, in Oregon and elsewhere, to develop models that integrate the two.

Planners creating these models often spend the bulk of their time preparing data on the various land uses. Many times the data, gathered from diverse sources, is incomplete and requires the planner to find missing information to fill in the gaps.

In fields outside of transportation, there have been considerable advances in techniques to do this. Data-mining and machine-learning techniques have been developed, for example, to systematically detect fraud in credit data, reconcile medical records and clean up information on the web.

In the transportation modeling community, by contrast, most efforts to tackle the problem are tied to a specific model system and a chosen study area. Few have produced reusable tools for processing land use data.

Liming Wang, lead investigator of the project Continuous Data Integration for Land Use and Transportation Planning and Modeling, offers such reusable...

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