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When planning their daily commute, most drivers account for the traffic they know is unavoidable: at peak times of day, like morning and afternoon rush hour, they probably allow extra time to get where they’re going.

The delays that are harder to accept are the unexpected ones, when accidents, road work, or a traffic bottleneck turn a thirty minute trip into an hour.

This unpredictable postponement leads to natural frustration on the part of drivers, as it may cause them to be late to work or late picking up children from school. A reliable road network is one in which this is a rare occurrence.

A project led by Portland State University’s Miguel Figliozzi explored the value of this travel-time reliability using a study of commuters’ route choice behavior, taking a look at the trade-offs between reliability, traffic congestion, and air pollution.

The details for the combined project can be found here.

In the first phase of the research, co-investigators David Levinson and Kathleen Harder of the University of Minnesota sought to measure the route choices drivers made in a real-world setting. Instead of just having people fill out a survey about whether they would choose to take major roads or the freeway to work, this study ambitiously placed GPS units in the cars of...

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Graduate student researcher Alex Bigazzi, of Portland State University, will present his work in Vietnam next week.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is hosting a transportation workshop in Ho Chi Minh city. The opportunity for Bigazzi to attend is the result of a spontaneous connection he made recently at a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, where he was giving a paper on truck-specific traffic management.

Large trucks contribute a large share of emissions, especially when traveling at a slow crawl through heavy traffic. Bigazzi’s work explores ways to mitigate the effects of this traffic congestion on air quality.

Bigazzi presented two papers at the 54th Annual Transportation Research Forum, which took place March 21-23 in Annapolis. One of them, “The Emissions Benefits of Truck-Only Lane Management,” offers a better understanding of the impacts of congestion on heavy-duty vehicles.

After a question-and-answer exchange, he was invited to present the same research in Vietnam’s largest city.

APEC’s 37th Transportation Working Group Meeting will take place April 8th through the 12th, 2013, at a Sheridan...

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Oregon Tech students boosted their knowledge of sustainable pavement on a conference field trip and brought what they learned back to fellow engineering students on their Klamath Falls campus. Students Jared Jones, Zachary Hudspeth, Michael Eagle and Adam Kershaw attended the Oregon Asphalt Conference in Eugene March 5, sponsored by an OTREC student-support grant. Hudspeth, the ITE Student Chapter president, led the group.

The conference was organized by the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon (http://www.apao.org/2013ConfProgram2.htm).

The Oregon Tech students were especially interested in hearing about advances in warm-mix asphalt and RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement). These two asphalt pavement technologies greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional asphalt paving.

After returning to campus, the students shared their experiences with students enrolled in Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering 573 Transportation and Land Development class.

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With various governments encouraging people to drive less, economists have wondered if such goals can have the side effect of harming the economy. In most cases, the answer is no, OTREC researcher B. Starr McMullen concluded in a research report.

  • Click here to read more about the research and to download the report.

It’s more than an academic question: driving and the economy do tend to rise and fall together. McMullen, a transportation economics professor at Oregon State University, examined the relationship between the two by looking at which happens first—a change in driving or a change in economic activity.

In general, economic growth leads to more driving, not the other way around, McMullen said. That’s particularly true for metropolitan areas, the very places most likely to pursue policies that reduce driving.

“The more economic activity you have, the more VMT [vehicle miles traveled] you’re going to have,” McMullen said.

On the other hand, if there are policies to reduce VMT and driving decreases, “you’re not going to have the economy fall apart," as some have suggested.

If a state sets a goal to reduce VMT or transportation emissions, it is reasonable to expect big urban areas to...

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Miguel Figliozzi, OTREC researcher, has been selected to chair a study group that will assist DEQ in developing a report, including recommendations for legislation regarding truck efficiency, reduced idling, and emissions. This report will be submitted to interim environment and natural resource committees of the Oregon Legislature by October 2010 for their consideration and any possible action during the 2011 legislative session. The 2009 Oregon Legislature adopted House Bill 2186, which directed DEQ to study potential requirements regarding the maintenance or retrofitting of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in order to reduce aerodynamic drag and otherwise reduce greenhouse gas emissions. DEQ also plans to study potential restrictions on engine use by parked commercial vehicles, including but not limited to medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Study group members will work with DEQ staff to report findings and recommendations for legislation to the interim legislative committees on environment and natural resources by October 1, 2010.

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