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A new transportation class at the University of Oregon, launched in January 2013 and funded by grants from OTREC and NITC, by all accounts had a wonderful first term.

Conceived as part of the curriculum for the Oregon Leadership in Sustainability (OLIS) program at U of O, the course, titled Sustainable Transportation, will be a permanent part of the OLIS class roster and will be open to all graduate students at the university.

The class this winter, led by instructors Ann Scheerer and Larisa Varela, taught applied research in a real-world setting. Students worked on planning projects for the university and for its home community, the City of Eugene, Ore.

On March 20, 2013, U of O's Transportation and Livability Student Group, LiveMove, hosted a public event where students were invited to present their research and interested community members were invited to attend.

The day of the presentations in Eugene was exciting; the “icing on the cake” for Scheerer. Marc Schlossberg, OTREC/NITC executive committee member at U of O and faculty advisor for LiveMove, was there, and so were some professors from the planning department, staff from the sustainability office, and quite a few local transportation advocates.

Scheerer, a PhD candidate...

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Staff from OTREC at Portland State University toured three partner campuses to prepare for the first round of projects under the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program, or NITC. Portland State, the University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Utah teamed up for the program, funded with a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The University of Utah was the first to receive a visit, March 19-20, in Salt Lake City. There, NITC executive committee member Keith Bartholomew hosted tours and meetings. Staff met with student representatives from various disciplines and with potential researchers from across campus before meeting potential community partners at the Utah Transit Authority offices. OTREC finance and communications staff members met with their University of Utah counterparts.

The meetings marked the first connection for much of the Utah faculty and OTREC staff. While the University of Oregon and Oregon Tech were already partners under the original OTREC grant, the NITC program marks Portland State and Utah’s first formal collaboration under the federal University Transportation Centers program.

On April 9, staff met with current and potential transportation researchers at the University of Oregon along with...

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The Transportation Research Board's annual meeting lets OTREC resesarchers share their work with the rest of the country, network and learn from research conducted elsewhere. OTREC faculty, staff and students, with their ubiquitous yellow lanyards, hit Washington, D.C. for research presentations, poster sessions and committee meetings Jan. 21 to 26.

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Fixing a community’s pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure issues could be as simple as turning on one’s smart phone in the future. At least that’s the hope of OTREC researchers Marc Schlossberg, Ken Kato, Dana Maher, Cody Evers, and Christo Brehm of the University of Oregon.

In the report, Transportation Planning Through Mobile Mapping (Read The Full Report Here), researchers developed and tested the Fix This Tool, a smart phone application that allows community members to assess problems within their transportation environment. The goal was to create a tool that could be affordably distributed to communities across the country so pedestrians and cyclists can actively participate in improving their means of transportation.

As the desire for reduced carbon emissions, reduced congestion, and reduced public spending on transportation infrastructure grows, many state and local governments are looking to encourage walking and bicycling in their communities as an alternative to cars. However, current data on pedestrian and bike networks are limited and there is little understanding on what constitutes appropriate bike and pedestrian infrastructure. To remedy this, local governments must engage residents to find out challenges current users face and what infrastructure is needed to increase biking and walking by residents.

Previous OTREC research developed a tool built on a GIS platform (using ArcPad...

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The University of Oregon's Sustainable Cities Initiative has hired Metro Councilor Robert Liberty as the program's executive director. Liberty will start in the newly created post Jan. 18.

Liberty currently represents 240,000 residents in northeast, southeast and southwest Portland on the regional government's council, where he has served since 2005.

The Sustainable Cities Initiative is a multi-disciplinary effort to transform higher education with community engagement, interdisciplinary collaboration and sustainability study to influence public policy. The initiative is one of three OTREC-supported initiatives for 2011. This support has helped the initiative blossom, and hiring an exectuive director is indicative of its growth and continuing success.

As executive director, Liberty will build relationships with state and federal policy makers and others to grow the program, which integrates research, education, service and public outreach around issues of sustainable city design.

"Robert's expertise is a great fit for the leadership opportunity we envisioned with the role of executive director," said professor Marc Schlossberg, co-director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative and OTREC...

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Ten OTREC researchers, staff, and students participated in the Transportation Research Board and University Transportation Center Transportation Systems for Livable Communities Conference last week in Washington, D.C. The conference brought together researchers and practitioners from transportation, housing and public health.

Highlights of the conference included an insightful discussion on defining livability. Despite inconclusive debate on the definition, participants agreed that for the concept to be embraced it can neither be dictated nor prescribed.  Performance measures also were a recurring theme of the two-day conference. Concepts explored included: re-evaluating outdated measures such as volume-to-capacity ratio and level of service to better reflect different modes, shifting thinking from mobility to accessibility and proximity, and data standardization and measurement methodologies. To complete the livability picture, the multigenerational and socioeconomic considerations need to be included.

The following four OTREC research projects were highlighted during the conference poster session:

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With the Oct. 1 new year comes a new slate of OTREC-funded projects. This year, we support 24 projects, worth $2.2 million -- the most in our history.

That total includes 20 research projects, three education projects and one technology transfer project. A few highlights:

  • Economic Benefits of Cycling (Kelly Clifton, Portland State): Unlike previous isolated studies that have focused on recreational cycling, Clifton's project seeks to gauge the total economic benefit to business owners from cycling and investments in bicycle infrastructure.
  • Durability Assessment of Recycled Concrete Aggregates (Jason Ideker, Oregon State): The use of recycled concrete in new concrete has been slowed by a lack of evidence on its durability. Phase II of this project will address that gap and recommend best practices for use of recycled concrete.
  • Livability Performance Metrics for Transit (Marc Schlossberg, University of Oregon): This multi-campus, multi-discipline project examines the performance of transit agencies at the regional and neighborhood levels in meeting livability goals.
  • Influence of Road Cross Section on Access Spacing (Karen Dixon, Oregon State): This project seeks to understand how the spacing of...
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The Second Safe Routes to School National Conference (SRTS) National Conference convened on August 19-21 in Portland, OR. Sylvan Cambier (UO student) presented a poster on designBridge - Student Led Community Design Build. Dr. Marc Schlossberg (OTREC Associate Director and UO Associate Professor) and Dr. Lynn Weigand, (Director of the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation and OTREC-Affiliate faculty) were part of the SRTS Steering Committee. SRTS research and activities relate to the intersection of OTREC’s theme of healthy communities and integration of land use and transportation.

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Mondayís New York Times featured an article on the car-free city of Vauban, Germany. University of Oregonís Marc Schlossberg was invited to contribute to the online ìRoom for Debateî discussion that followed. In his initial entry, Dr. Schlossberg emphasizes street connectivity and the need to eliminate parking minimums. There were over 400 comments in the first 24 hours, responding to the perspectives shared by Schlossberg and six others: Witold Rybczynski, D.J. Waldie, Dolores Hayden, Christopher Leinberger, Alex Marshall and J.H. Crawford. (Photo: Martin Specht for the New York Times)

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The USDOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) released their March 2009 UTC Spotlight, featuring OTREC Livability related research, mostly focused on projects at the University of Oregon led by Marc Schlossberg, Nico Larco and Yizhao Yang. New Secretary of Transportation LaHood has specifically mentioned livability as one of his priorities so this is a very timely publication. OTREC looks forward to continuing to address critical transportation needs in sync with national priorities.

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