The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation aims to advance the field of bicycle and pedestrian transportation through four primary mechanisms: (1) developing and pursuing a collaborative research agenda that more directly informs practice and and involves students through dissertation research and fellowships; (2) translating relevant research into a format and language that is more useful to practitioners, and making that research available through technology transfer; (3) developing more holistic approaches to the education and training of planners and engineers; and (4) supporting community-based outreach and education, to promote awareness of bicycle and pedestrian issues statewide and nationally. This proposal seeks funding to carry out the second and third objectives (technology transfer and education) over the next two years.
The concept for the Initiative developed gradually over the past year, through conversations with public agencies, private consultants, non-profit organizations, industry representatives, and researchers in the fields of bicycle and pedestrian transportation. It is a partnership between Portland State University, the University of Oregon, and Oregon State University, and will be housed within PSU’s Center for Transportation Studies. What sets the Initiative apart is its emphasis on academically rigorous research and evidence-based tools and resources, combined with its holistic and collaborative approach. Oregon and Portland are in a unique position to support such an endeavor because of the wide number of disciplines and organizations already involved in cutting-edge research, practice and outreach in this field. The Initiative will provide a forum for existing and new participants to come together and strengthen their efforts. It will also provide a mechanism for collaboration and knowledge sharing with researchers and professionals in national and international communities.
While technology transfer is the overarching theme of the Initiative, it makes significant contributions to all three programming areas (research, education and technology transfer). It directly contributes to the OTREC theme of Healthy Communities, both in terms of its content and its community-based approach. Research and education activities will also support the OTREC theme of Integration of Land Use and Transportation, and the USDOT strategic objectives of Safety and Environmental Stewardship. Key activities and outcomes from the OTREC funding for the Initiative will include: new university curricula and continuing education opportunities for engineers and transportation planners that are holistic and innovative; research opportunities for students seeking a career in bicycle and pedestrian transportation; increased application of research by decision-makers, professionals, students, and the public; and a website clearinghouse for research and evidence-based tools that is accessible and meaningful.
To carry out these tasks in a deliberate and sustainable manner, we plan on requesting funding for two years. This application includes the year one budget, requesting $60,546 for year 1. Matching commitments for year 1 have been secured in the amount of $85,177. We expect to request approximately $125,000 for year 2 funding. Because we have overmatched in year one, we expect to have about $100,000 in match for year 2. Of that, we have commitments for about $60,000 already. Additional matching commitments for year 2 are being actively pursued, and will be secured in advance of the year 2 funding cycle. Matching funds will be primarily used to support administrative assistance, student fellowships and specific research, education and outreach activities. Year 2 activities will expand beyond what is described in this application.