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NITC researchers have created a design manual to aid traffic engineers, transportation planners, elected officials, businesses and community stakeholders in re-envisioning their streets.
 
Traditionally, road design in the U.S. has been based on the simple principle of moving as many cars as possible.
 
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The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) is teaming up with Alta Planning + Design to offer a firsthand, on-the-ground training opportunity at the end of October.

They will teach a trail design course at Portland State University, with field tours of some of Portland's biggest trail challenges and best solutions.

Course instructors are Alta associates Robin Wilcox, George Hudson, and Karen Vitkay. They will share their experience and provide examples from some of the best trails around the country.

Multi-use trails, not accessible by car but meant to be shared by pedestrians, cyclists and the occasional leashed dog, are pleasant routes by almost anyone’s standards. Often winding through wooded areas or along waterways, insulated from the noise of traffic and offering contact with nature, they present an attractive alternative to cyclists who are not as comfortable riding on busy streets.

While any segment of trail can offer a pleasant stroll, the true beauty of shared-use trails lies in being able to use them: as an alternate, off-street means of travel, a route to school or a way to get to work in the morning. A widespread switch from driving on streets to...

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In 2009, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the Copenhagen Wheel, a device that converts an ordinary bicycle into a hybrid e-bike.

An e-bike is considered a motorized bicycle under Massachusetts law. This means that once the 13-pound, 26-inch Copenhagen Wheel is attached to the rear wheel of a bicycle, the resulting vehicle requires a driver’s license to operate, must be registered with the DMV, and its rider must wear, not just a bike helmet, but a motorcycle helmet to be in compliance with the law.

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are well established in China and other Asian and European countries but market adoption has been slow in the United States.

Part of the reason could be that the law is often nebulous where e-bikes are concerned.

NITC researchers at Portland State University conducted a policy review revealing the current state of legislation regarding e-bikes in the United States and Canada.

The report, Regulations of E-Bikes in North America, provides a summary of legal definitions and requirements surrounding the use of electric-assist bicycles in each of the 50 states, Washington D.C. and 13 Canadian provinces.

No two jurisdictions are exactly alike in their legal treatment of this relatively new mode of...

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Event Date:
Nov 21, 2014
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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Summary: The most recent edition of the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) contains analysis procedures for measuring the level-of-service (LOS), also referred to as quality of service, provided by an urban roadway to bicyclists. The method uses different design and operating features of the roadway segment (e.g. width, motor vehicle volumes and speeds) to assess an LOS grade of A (best) to F (worst). These procedures are used by planners and engineers to recommend how existing streets could be retrofitted or new streets designed to better serve people on bicycles (and other modes). However, the current HCM does not include methods that address protected bike lanes (aka “cycle tracks” or “separated bike lanes”), only conventional striped bike lanes, shoulders, and shared streets. There are other methods for predicting comfort from a bicyclist’s perspective that do consider protected bike lanes, but they are either based only on expert opinion or on surveys in Denmark.

This presentation will describe how to evaluate the level-of-service of a protected bike lane using results from surveys conducted in the United States. The model developed by this project could be used to supplement the current HCM to objectively consider a wider range...

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Congressman Earl Blumenauer called together a group of transportation policy makers on Monday, August 4, for a “Rebuilding and Renewing” forum.

Transportation professionals and officials from every level of government, from the federal to the local, met at Portland State University to discuss how to maintain and revive America’s transportation infrastructure.

Blumenauer, the representative for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District, advocates fuel taxes and VMT taxes to pay for infrastructure needs.

As the Highway Trust Fund rapidly shrinks and America’s deteriorating roads and bridges silently cry out for maintenance, Congress is in the process of trying to determine the best, most sustainable path forward.

During Monday’s forum, a variety of voices were sought out and listened to. Bill Wyatt, executive director of the Port of Portland, gave opening remarks and introduced Blumenauer, who spoke about dwindling highway funds and the need for investment in infrastructure to keep the nation’s economy alive.

He was followed by Tamara Lundgren, CEO of Schnitzer Steel and Chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who described infrastructure maintenance as both an...

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Event Date:
Nov 14, 2014
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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Speaker: Jordan Palmeri, Science and Policy Analyst, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Green Building Program
Topic: Accessory dwelling units in Portland, Oregon: Evaluation and Interpretation of a Survey of ADU Owners

Summary: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are booming in Portland, Oregon. ADUs are small separate living units on single family lots that are often called granny flats or mother-in-law units. Over the last few years, fee waivers from the City of Portland have increased ADU development from 30 units per year to over 200 units. These discreet forms of density can offer a variety of environmental, social, and economic benefits to ADU owners and their communities. Many of these benefits, however, have always been speculated rather than substantiated by data.

In an effort to better understand the real impact or benefit of this housing form, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and partners conducted a survey of ADU owners in Portland, Eugene, and Ashland, Oregon. This was the largest survey of ADUs owners ever conducted in the United States and the results have significant utility in policy for Oregon cities and beyond.

This presentation will present the results of survey and highlight topics such as ADU...

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Event Date:
Oct 31, 2014
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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Speaker: Joseph Broach, Ph.D. Candidate, Portland State University
Topic: Trick or Treatment? Impact of Route-Level Features on Decisions to Walk or Bike
Summary: Some travel routes attract people walking and cycling, while others may scare them away. What features of street environments are most important, and how do available routes affect decisions to bike or walk on a specific trip? 

Research to date has focused on either large-scale areal measures like "miles of bike lane nearby" or else has considered only shortest path routes. Neither method is suited to capturing the impact of targeted route-level policies like neighborhood greenways. This session will present a new technique for measuring bike and walk accessibility along the most likely route for a given trip. The method is applied to travel data, and results provide new insight into the relationship between route quality and travel mode choice.

Event Date:
Oct 17, 2014
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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Topic: Understanding Where We Live and How We Travel: The Development of an Online Visual Survey Tool and Pilot Studies Evaluating Preferences in Residential Neighborhood Choice and Commute

Summary: Understanding changing residential preferences—especially as they are represented within land use and travel demand models—is fundamental to understanding the drivers of future housing, land use and transportation policies. As communities struggle to address a rising number of social challenges with increasing economic uncertainty, transportation and land use planning have become increasingly centered on assumptions concerning the market for residential environments and travel choices. In response, an added importance has been placed on the development of toolkits capable of providing a robust and flexible understanding of how differing assumptions contribute to a set of planning scenarios and impact future residential location decisions.

In this presentation, we discuss one such improvement that can be added to the transportation planning toolkit: an innovative visual online survey tool. This tool was developed to provide a means for...

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Three Portland State University graduate students in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning used GIS technology to collect and analyze residents’ thoughts about walkability needs for Portland, Oregon’s northeast Cully neighborhood.

Their report, Engaging Cully, was the final product of a ten-week course called Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS), taught by PSU professor Vivek Shandas.

In PPGIS, community input is used to create GIS-based data and diagnostics maps which can inform planners’ decision-making process. Team members Travis Driessen, Brandi Campbell and Eduardo Montejo worked with community-based organizations and residents to assess the needs of the Cully neighborhood’s pedestrian network using PPGIS methods.

Prior to this project, Driessen, who is working toward a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems at PSU, was already collaborating with David Hampsten, a board member of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association and member of the East Portland Action Plan, to help Prioritize Portland! – a coalition consisting of multiple organizations including the Northeast...

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New research from NITC looks at Health Impact Assessment, or HIA, in transportation planning.

The leading causes of death in the United States are no longer communicable diseases. Instead, chronic conditions linked to behaviors and shaped by environments—such as obesity and diabetes—are today’s most pressing public health concerns.

HIA is a way of evaluating the effects that planning decisions will have on public health.

Researcher Nicole Iroz-Elardo studied this relatively new endeavor, analyzing and comparing three contemporary case studies in HIA.

She will share her findings in an IBPI webinar on July 16, 2014.

By engaging professionals from multiple disciplines, HIA can give planners a larger knowledge base to inform decisions. 

In a collaborative process that did not emerge in the U.S. until 1999, stakeholders and community members engage with public health professionals to identify and deliberate about health interests related to the proposed plan.

They generally focus on health equity, and use as a framework the social determinants of health: a broad range of factors developed...

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