States can reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a broad range of approaches, but none will have much luck without continued support from leaders and the public, according to NITC program research from the University of Oregon. In a conference paper for the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C., a team led by Rebecca Lewis took a close look at the efforts West Coast states have made to reduce emissions from the transportation.

Cutting transportation emissions depends on three variables: vehicle efficiency, fuel carbon content and vehicle miles traveled, or VMT. The paper focuses on the last leg: cutting driving. While more efficient automobiles and alternative fuels have come on the market in recent years, a growing population and longer commutes can wipe out any emissions gains from shifts in fuel economy and fuel type.

Washington, Oregon and California have all passed statutes to cut statewide greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2020. The approaches vary in their targets, plans and strategies.

Lewis and her team present the research in a poster session Tuesday, Jan. 12 at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in...

Read more

Planners and policymakers make decisions that shape neighborhoods based on the best data they have. Unfortunately, when it comes to predicting where people want to live, those data give an incomplete or inaccurate picture.

Behavioral models often rely on basic socioeconomic data such as household size, income and age. But deciding where to live depends on attitudes toward a tangled mix of transportation, urban form and housing characteristics. A NITC project helped untangle these decisions by creating a framework to understand neighborhood preference.

Steven Gehrke presents some of this project’s research findings Wednesday, Jan. 13 at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.

A team led by Kelly Clifton, with Gehrke and Kristina Currans, designed survey techniques that give a clearer picture of the decision-making process. Their work is detailed in the NITC report “Understanding Market Segments for Current and Future Residential Location and Travel Choices.”

Gehrke’s TRB paper details one piece of that research project. The research team presented respondents a series of images...

Read more

The NITC program has selected a dissertation fellow for the fall 2015 round of dissertation funding.

Tara Goddard, a Portland State University Ph.D. candidate, will be awarded a $15,000 fellowship to support her doctoral dissertation research.

Goddard's dissertation explores drivers' behaviors toward bicyclists in roadway interactions.

Bicyclists in the United States are twelve times more likely than car occupants to be killed in a traffic crash with a car. Existing research into crash causation has focused on physical factors such as vehicle speed and intersection type, with little of it delving into psychological and cultural variables.

Goddard is researching drivers' attitudes toward bicyclists, by means of an online survey, in an effort to understand how those attidutes may predict behaviors. She hopes to reveal some of the underlying causes of bicycle and motor vehicle collisions.

Her research aims to advance community livability and safety goals.

Stay tuned for more on this research as it unfolds, or sign up for our mailing list and choose “Research Findings” in order to receive NITC reports as they are published.

A new NITC project has developed a robust pedestrian demand estimation tool, the first of its kind in the country.

Using the tool, planners can predict pedestrian trips with spatial acuity.

The research was completed in partnership with Oregon Metro, and will allow Metro to allocate infrastructure based on pedestrian demand in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.

In a previous project completed last year as part of the same partnership, the lead investigator, Kelly Clifton, developed a way to collect data about the pedestrian environment on a small, neighborhood scale that made sense for walk trips. For more about how that works, click here to read our news coverage of that project. 

Following the initial project, the next step was to take that micro-level pedestrian data and use it to predict destination choice. For every walk trip generated by the model in the first project, this tool matches it to a likely destination based on traveler characteristics and environmental attributes.

Patrick Singleton, a graduate student researcher at Portland State...

Read more

Patrick Singleton, a Portland State University doctoral candidate in the school of Civil & Environmental Engineering, has been selected as the 2015 NITC university transportation center student of the year.

To be nominated for this award, which includes a $1000 stipend and also covers the recipient’s attendance to the Transportation Research Board (TRB)’s annual meeting, graduate students must demonstrate technical merit and research accomplishments, as well as outstanding academic performance, professionalism and leadership.

The award comes at the close of an auspicious year for Singleton. In the spring of 2015 he attended the Eno Leadership Development Conference as an Eno fellow. He was also one of four civil and environmental engineering students from PSU to be awarded the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship in 2014, and at last year’s TRB annual meeting, he was selected as TRB’s top-ranked Eisenhower Fellow.

Singleton studies active travel behavior and travel demand. His postgraduate research at PSU has tackled statistical analysis of the complex decision-making processes surrounding walking and bicycling.

Together with his advisor,...

Read more

Portland State University today achieved the highest ranking from the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly University program. Portland State is now one of just five platinum universities recognized under the program.

Other NITC program campuses were also designated as bike friendly. University of Oregon achieved gold status and University of Utah, silver.

The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates applicants’ efforts to promote bicycling in five primary areas: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and evaluation/planning, known as the Five E's.

The league noted that Portland State’s support for bicycling has helped reduce congestion, improve air quality and lower the demand for parking on campus. “Portland State encourages bicycling as an affordable, efficient option for transportation and provides amenities such as indoor bicycle parking, low-cost bicycle rentals, and an on-campus Bike Hub, where students can find everything they need to make bicycling a part of their commute options,” the league stated.

PSU previously was a gold-level bike-friendly university. In the past two years it expanded its “Vik Bike” bicycle rental program from 12 bicycles to 134. Each bike comes with lights, a lock and a helmet. The program, in which students can rent a bike for a term, receive training on bike commuting and bike maintenance, has a waiting list of participants.

During...

Read more

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...

Read more

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.”

...

Read more

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...

Read more

Pages