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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) program has released its 2018 general research request for proposals. Faculty at NITC's partner universities* are invited to submit abstracts by April 2, 2018.


Through funding provided by the U.S. DOT, we will award at least $1 million under our general research grant in 2018 for projects that support NITC’s theme: improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities. Our theme includes a few key topics:

  • Increasing access to opportunities
  • Improving multi-modal planning and shared use of infrastructure
  • Advancing innovation and smart cities
  • Developing data, models, and tools

Research projects must focus on transportation, with additional consideration given to projects that emphasize equity and diversity in their research and partnerships. We’re seeking projects that demonstrate a strong potential to move transportation research into practice, shape national and international conversations, and respond to the needs of practitioners and policymakers. 

Priority is given to projects that are collaborative, multidisciplinary, multi-campus, and support the development of untenured-tenure-track transportation faculty. 

Key Dates

  • Abstracts due: April 2,...
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Our National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research program has awarded grant funding for a new series of Small Starts projects.

Small Starts grants assist researchers who are interested in transportation but have not yet had an opportunity to undertake a small project—$15,000 in funding or less—that supports NITC's theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities.

The latest projects selected by NITC's executive committee support that theme in exploring livable streets, multimodal safety and transportation efficiency.

The six newly funded projects are:

  • Is There a "Buy Local" Case for Lower Travel Speeds? Testing Differences in Driver Recognition of Local Versus National Retail at Different Travel Speeds—Jonathan Bean and Arlie Adkins, University of Arizona (Full Proposal)
  • How Will Autonomous Vehicles Change Local Government Budgeting and Finance? A Case Study of Solid Waste, Drop-off/Pick-up Zones, and Parking—Benjamin Clark, University of Oregon (...
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Principal Investigator: Rob Zako, University of Oregon
Project Overview: Effectiveness of Transportation Funding Mechanisms for Achieving National, State, and Metropolitan Economic, Health, and Other Livability Goals
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief; download the toolkit co-published with T4A, related presentations and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page. Hear firsthand from the PI by watching the post-webinar recording here.

FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATE

The full final report on this project is now published. The final report offers a comprehensive look at six case study states' strategies to ensure they are delivering value to taxpayers in a transparent process.


SEPTEMBER 2017

What do Americans get in return for their transportation investments? It’s a simple enough question on the surface, but digging for an answer yields a gnarled knot of...

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TREC’s NITC program has made $500,000 available for grants to eligible researchers through its 2017 general research request for proposals. The RFP is the first since the NITC program expanded to include the University of Arizona and University of Texas at Arlington.

All proposals must contribute to the NITC theme, improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities, and focus on transportation. They must also show strong potential to move transportation research into practice, inform other researchers, shape national and international conversations on transportation research, and respond to the needs of practitioners and policymakers.

Projects are capped at $100,000, and we encourage PIs to propose smaller projects. Priority is given to projects that are collaborative, multi-disciplinary, multi-campus and support the development of untenured tenure-track transportation faculty.

Key Dates

  •     Abstracts due: April 14, 2017
  •     Proposal due: May 15, 2017
  •     Peer reviews: June 2017
  •     Project Selection, Awards, and Task Orders: July-August 2017
  •     Projects begin: Sept 2017

Eligibility

Only eligible faculty members and research faculty from Portland State University, University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Utah, University of...

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The final report on this research is available now: Design for an Aging Population

Published in April 2017, this study sought to increase understanding of the obstacles faced by people with impairments in vision, hearing and/or mobility, which are common issues for older people, and generate physical product solutions.

The research shows that aging riders face conceptual, physical and social barriers that impact their willingness to use buses. Using the bus was seen as inconvenient, time consuming, physically draining and potentially frustrating. Priority seating areas designated for older and disabled users fill quickly. People with mobility challenges may use bulky walkers and require the availability of grab bars, and users of wheeled mobility devices need different device security. Several situations noted in the study show that physically challenged riders are subject to awkward, uncomfortable social dynamics more than other bus users. Innovation in easy access seats and secure WhMD stations at the front of the bus are critical for older users, as it makes riding the bus less draining and more safe.

This research was presented at TRB's 2017 annual meeting. See below for our coverage of the research at TRB.


Seniors make up a...

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Sep 30, 2005
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The video begins at 5:42.

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Historically, large-scale transportation infrastructure projects have had devastating outcomes in communities of color. With twentieth-century urban renewal efforts often came the displacement of underprivileged communities, the loss of low-income neighborhoods and their replacement with affluent housing and freeways.

According to new OTREC research from the University of Oregon, transit-oriented development, or TOD, can offer a different trajectory. Rather than displacing residents, TOD has the potential to improve neighborhoods for the benefit of those who live there.

OTREC researcher Gerardo Sandoval grew up near MacArthur park, one of the two sites studied, and has witnessed firsthand the neighborhood’s dramatic change. “I think the coolest thing about MacArthur Park is that now it’s considered a national model for TOD. When I was growing up there … nobody saw it like that. It was thought of more as a low-income area,” Sandoval said.

The project examined two California neighborhoods: MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, and Fruitvale, in Oakland. In both neighborhoods, the majority of residents are recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America, many of whom have significantly lower incomes and rely heavily on public transportation.

In the last few decades, both sites have seen TOD coincide with neighborhood revitalization, and...

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More attractive streetscapes often lead to an increase in private development, but it can be difficult to visualize future results when they are just potential.

An OTREC Small Starts research project has developed a workflow to create streetscape illustrations for Metro, the regional government for the Portland, Ore. metropolitan area.

Data-driven illustrations that depict planning scenarios are an effective way to communicate to decision makers the results that their investment could bring about. In line with the Oregon Legislature’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, Metro launched the Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project in 2011.

As part of this project, Metro has developed investment scenarios designed to reduce light vehicle carbon emissions. These scenarios represent potential improvements to urban centers, corridors and employment areas. Improvements such as providing services and shopping near where people live, expanding transit service, managing parking, and providing safer routes for walking and biking can increase transit ridership, support more active travel modes, and thereby reduce pollution.

Principal Investigator Nancy Cheng of the University of Oregon worked with Metro to create a streamlined process for illustrating the...

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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...
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University of Oregon Master's student Joe McAndrew was recently awarded an Eno fellowship and invited to participate in the 2013 Eno Leadership Development Conference.

The fellowship is an extraordinary opportunity for students on a career track to become transportation policymakers. Only 20 fellows nationwide are chosen each year, and only one student from each university transportation program can be nominated by their school. McAndrew attended the 21st annual conference in Washington, D.C. from June 2 to 6, all expenses paid.

"It was fabulous," said the second-year planning student from UO. In the course of the four-day conference he was able to attend a variety of panels and events, but said that for him, "the true highlight was just the people that we were able to meet."

Conference attendees included "high-level officials, executive directors from all sectors and levels of government," McAndrew said, "from the freight industry, which included trucks, rail, and port; to the airline industry, to Capitol Hill staffers... we also met with the executive directors from Parsons-Brinckerhoff, AASHTO and the like. It was an all-encompassing opportunity."

The Eno Center for Transportation is a non-partisan "think-tank" that promotes policy innovation in the field of transportation planning....

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