Event Date:
Content Type: News Item
The Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting took place in Washington, D.C. from January 12-16, 2014. Nearly 12,000 transportation professionals were in attendance, including 75 OTREC/NITC faculty and student researchers.
To recap this exciting event and share their experiences, Portland State University students and local transportation professionals gathered Tuesday, February 11th at the Rock Bottom Brewery, a combination brewery, restaurant and pub located in downtown Portland.
 
Attending the TRB meeting as students gave participants an opportunity to accelerate their development as transportation professionals. Conference sessions and workshops offered a multitude of learning and networking events. Civil & Environmental Engineering graduate student Katie Bell said, “There were so many things going on [at the conference], you could be somewhere from dawn to dusk... it was a really great experience.” 
 
Graduate student Pam Johnson organized the happy hour event, arriving early to make introductions, distribute name tags and help people mingle. Approximately 25 people attended the event, most of them PSU students. There were also representatives there from Kittelson & Associates, Lancaster Engineering, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and...
Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item
OTREC research has taken steps toward developing trip generation rates for sites in a multimodal context.
Trip generation refers to the number of vehicle trips that are predicted to originate in a particular zone. The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) provides standard trip generation rates, but these rates are primarily measured in low-density suburban areas.
In areas that have a more compact urban form, better access to transit and a greater mix of land uses, fewer (and shorter) vehicle trips might actually be generated there than the current ITE rates indicate.
A project headed by Kelly Clifton, of Portland State University, examines the ways in which urban context affects vehicle trip-generation rates across a variety of land uses.
 
Results from this study reveal a trend: For all land uses tested, vehicle-trip rates decrease as neighborhood types become more urban.
There is a strong industry bias toward using ITE-published rates, so that when local governments are evaluating transportation impacts and calculating transportation system development charges, they are often compelled to use the ITE rates...
Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item
OTREC research is helping change the face of transportation education.
Across the country, at the undergraduate level, universities typically offer an introductory transportation engineering course as part of a civil engineering program.
David Hurwitz of Oregon State University is one of several educators interested in renovating this intro course. In this OTREC research project, Hurwitz helped develop some activity-based learning modules to introduce students to transportation concepts. He points out it is the first time many undergraduate engineering students are exposed to transportation, and therefore, the perfect time to get their attention.
Hurwitz is a founding member of the National Transportation Curriculum Project (NTCP), an organization of approximately ten faculty members, at different universities around the country, that have been collaborating since 2009. The NTCP helped Hurwitz write a National Science Foundation grant to help fund this research project.
“This project stemmed from the recognition that we wanted to try and facilitate change in the way that we teach transportation engineering at the collegiate level, across the country,” Hurwitz said.
The main focus of the course renovation is to move toward activity-based learning, rather than a traditional...
Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

Note: In advance of the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting, the biggest forum on the transportation research calendar, OTREC.us is profiling some of the researchers who will present their work.

In a session titled "Living Within the Right-of-Way: New Address for the Homeless," OTREC researcher Andrée Tremoulet will give a lectern presentation about her research into homelessness.

Encampments of homeless individuals and families living in state department of transportation rights of way often pose a unique challenge for DOT staff responsible for maintaining the public land.

The solution, as described in Tremoulet's report, is as complex and multifaceted as the problem.

In cases where urban campers need to be relocated, for the process to be humane and successful Tremoulet stresses that it must be achieved through a cooperative effort between community orgnizations.

She advocates using a "push/pull" method, combining the "push" of law enforcement to clear the public land with the "pull" of assistance and housing programs to give homeless individuals direction, and a place to go.

The most important thing to remember, she says, is that no situation is alike and every set of circumstances will require a unique, tailored approach.

Following the publication of this OTREC project about a homeless relocation effort in...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

Note: In advance of the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting, the biggest forum on the transportation research calendar, OTREC.us is profiling some of the researchers who will present their work.

How long is too long to wait for the light to change? At stoplights, pedestrians often experience longer delays while cars are given priority.

To design traffic signals that serve the needs of walkers, planners must understand the motivations behind pedestrian behaviors.

Working with professors Kelly Clifton and Christopher MonsereSirisha Kothuri of Portland State University created a survey designed to shed some light on what makes pedestrians decide to follow, or not follow, traffic laws.

To collect data, Kothuri and a team of graduate students armed with an 11-question survey posted themselves at four different intersections in northeast Portland, Ore.

Two of the intersections had recall signals, where pedestrians are automatically detected, and the other two had actuated signals, where pedestrians must press a button to get the light to change.

Survey respondents were asked for their attitudes about delay in signal timing, and for the reasons that determined their crossing the street.

Responses showed that pedestrians were more content...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item
OTREC Researcher Miguel Figliozzi, of Portland State University, recently explored the collection of freight data through a smartphone application.
Freight data is usually incomplete, scarce, and expensive to collect. Many carriers and shippers are reluctant to install trackers on their vehicles due to privacy concerns, and the enormous variety of companies and people involved in the supply chain makes it difficult to gather a comprehensive collection of truck data.
According to The Oregon Freight Plan, Oregon is the ninth most trade-dependent state in the nation. Because most of that trade moves by freight, the transportation network is crucial to the state’s economic stability.
Knowing the origins and destinations of commercial vehicles, as well as their speed and direction, would help planners sustain an effective transportation system.
Figliozzi’s research centers on a new pilot project which is being implemented by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to simplify the collection of taxes.
 
Oregon is one of the few states to charge a commercial Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax.  Truck Road...
Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

As we prepare for the next step in our development as a center, we're taking a look back at the seven years since OTREC's founding:

The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, or OTREC, was founded in 2006 with a theme that emphasized advanced technology, the integration of transportation and land use, and healthy communities. OTREC’s mission is to inform transportation decision making through timely, useful primary research and to build the capacity of the transportation workforce.

Reflecting the DOT mission, OTREC promotes choices that make our transportation system safe, resilient and adaptable. Providing access to travel options that promote the health of our communities and our environment makes our country stronger.

From the research that makes our communities living laboratories to the innovative education and technology transfer efforts that wed research and practice, our programs lay the groundwork for livable communities. Our advanced technology projects have shown the effect of traffic-signal timing on pedestrians’ exposure to pollution and helped a state Department of Transportation place sensors to best estimate travel times for the least cost. Our healthy communities projects have helped shape...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

The NITC program's executive committee has selected a new roster of projects for funding under the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, program. The committee chose 10 projects, totaling $900,000, under the NITC theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation to foster livable communities.

The projects are national in scope and reflect priority areas including transit supply and outcomes, and pedestrian and bicyclist behavior. 

Projects selected include:

  • A bicycle and pedestrian miles traveled project for Washington state.
  • A study that measures the effectiveness on social media on advancing public transit.
  • A look into crowdsourcing the collection of data on transportation behavior.
  • A national study of Bus Rapid Transit outcomes.
The 10 projects were chosen from among 25 proposals with a total request of nearly $2.25 million. 

A complete list of projects and principal investigators is below:

  1. National Study of BRT Development Outcomes: Arthur Nelson and Joanna Ganning, University of Utah
  2. Crowdsourcing the Collection of Transportation Behavior Data: Christopher Bone, Ken Kato and Marc Schlossberg...
Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item
Recently OTREC took a look at suburbia to see how many people were walking and biking to local destinations.
Traditionally, studies of suburban locations have found that due to the low density of suburban areas and their single-land-use patterns, active transportation is rare.
In a research project by Principal Investigator Nico Larco and Co-Investigator Robert Parker, of the University of Oregon, active transportation was found to be more common than expected in suburban areas with commercial strip destinations.
In their project “Overlooked Destinations: Suburban Nodes, Centers, and Trips to Strips,” Larco and Parker observed active travel behaviors around typical suburban commercial sites. They examined six strip malls -- four in Portland, Ore. and two in Atlanta, Ga. -- to map out the “pedshed,” or walkable zone surrounding these sites.
Investigators were surprised by what they found.
For each site, they created detailed pedestrian-network GIS maps. They compared the network extents of maps that included only publicly available, street centerline data with maps that included pedestrian...
Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

OTREC hosted a “welcome to the neighborhood” reception last week for managers of TriMet.

The regional transit provider for Portland, Ore, just relocated its offices to a building near the OTREC headquarters. TriMet's arrival in Harrison Square, just a few blocks from PSU in downtown Portland, was toasted by an informal gathering: TriMet executives were invited to the OTREC offices Tuesday, Oct 29 for a meet-and-greet.

The two agencies are both deeply involved with transportation in the Portland region, and since they're going to be neighbors now too, OTREC's education and technology transfer program manager Jon Makler arranged the event.

Several members of TriMet's senior staff joined OTREC staff and researchers for an hour of refreshments, research briefings, and a few rounds of "Transit Route Bingo."

OTREC Director Jennifer Dill and TriMet's Olivia Clark, head of government relations, kicked off the meeting with some welcoming remarks, then Makler gave the TriMet managers a brief powerpoint presentation, explaining the various overlapping areas of transportation at PSU. He introduced them to OTREC, IBPI, and PORTAL, and the role each group plays.

The presentation also featured a slide for each faculty researcher, explaining their areas of special interest and...

Read more

Pages