Event Date:
Mar 03, 2017
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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New technologies such as smart phones and web applications constantly collect data on individuals' trip-making and travel patterns. Efforts at using these "Big data" products, to date, have focused on using them to expand or inform traditional travel demand modeling frameworks; however, it is worth considering if a new framework built to maximize the strengths of big data would be more useful to policy makers and planners.

In this presentation Greg Macfarlane will present a discussion on elements of travel models that could quickly benefit from big data and concurrent machine learning techniques, and results from a preliminary application of a prototype framework in Asheville, North Carolina.

Dr. Macfarlane is an analyst in the Systems Analysis Group of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, developing and applying advanced travel demand models. His research and expertise includes trip-based models, activity-based models, integrated land-use/transport models, and micro-simulation of both travel...

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Event Date:
Apr 01, 2016
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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For a number of reasons—congestion, public health, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, demographic shifts, and community livability to name a few—the importance of walking and bicycling as transportation options will only continue to increase. Currently, policy interest and infrastructure funding for nonmotorized modes far outstrip our ability to successfully model bike and walk travel. ​​In the past five years, we have learned a lot about ​where people prefer to bike and walk, but what can that tell us about whether people will bike or walk in the first place? ​Th​e research presented here is designed to start bridging the gap between choice of route and choice of travel mode (walk, bike, transit, drive, etc.).

A mode choice framework is presented that acknowledges the importance of attributes along specific walk and bike routes that travelers are likely to consider​ for a given trip. Adding route quality as a factor in mode choice decisions is new, and shows promise for: (1) improving prediction of pedestrian and cycling trips, (2)...

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Event Date:
Feb 18, 2016
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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If you would like to receive continuing education credits such as PDH or CM, please make sure to complete this evaluation form once you've watched the entire video so that we have a record of your attendance.

Why model pedestrians?

A new predictive tool for estimating pedestrian demand has potential applications for improving walkability. By forecasting the number, location and characteristics of walking trips, this tool allows for policy-sensitive mode shifts away from automobile travel.

There is growing support to improve the quality of the walking environment and make investments to promote pedestrian travel. Despite this interest and need, current forecasting tools, particularly regional travel demand models, often fall short. To address this gap, Oregon Metro and NITC researcher Kelly Clifton worked together to develop this pedestrian demand estimation tool which can allow planners to allocate...

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Content Type: News Item

A NITC research project from Portland State University introduces a method of cleaning up land use data, for use in improved transportation models.

Transportation and land use are closely interdependent. Considerable work is underway, in Oregon and elsewhere, to develop models that integrate the two.

Planners creating these models often spend the bulk of their time preparing data on the various land uses. Many times the data, gathered from diverse sources, is incomplete and requires the planner to find missing information to fill in the gaps.

In fields outside of transportation, there have been considerable advances in techniques to do this. Data-mining and machine-learning techniques have been developed, for example, to systematically detect fraud in credit data, reconcile medical records and clean up information on the web.

In the transportation modeling community, by contrast, most efforts to tackle the problem are tied to a specific model system and a chosen study area. Few have produced reusable tools for processing land use data.

Liming Wang, lead investigator of the project Continuous Data Integration for Land Use and Transportation Planning and Modeling, offers such reusable...

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Event Date:
May 08, 2015
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology is reshaping the civil engineering profession and offers many unique advantages. National efforts such as the 3D Elevation Plan (3DEP) are helping increase the availability of LIDAR data. LIDAR is one of the crucial technologies that is transitioning the world of civil and construction engineering from 2D paper-based design to 3D digital design. The high spatial resolution and accuracy capabilities of LIDAR have led to increased efficiencies, improved analyses, and more informed decision making.

A further advantage of this dataset is that multiple people can use the same dataset for a variety of purposes across multiple disciplines. The visual nature of the dataset also is more intuitive than traditional data acquisition and analysis techniques. This presentation will provide a brief background of LIDAR , its capabilities, limitations and platforms, and discuss its current and future role in civil engineering. Examples of a wide range of transportation, geotechnical, coastal, and structural engineering, science, and planning applications will be presented including development of mobile LIDAR guidelines for...

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Five OTREC-supported student transportation researchers presented their work Wednesday at Portland State University's first Student Reserach Symposium. Tara Goddard and Katherine Bell presented their work in panel sessions, while Sam Thompson, Patrick Singleton and Oliver Smith presented posters.

Goddard presented her paper, "Are Bicycling and Walking 'Cool'?: Adolescent Attitutes About Active Travel," in the public health and urban studies session. She'll offer an in-depth take on the same topic at noon May 24 for OTREC's Friday transportation seminar. Click here for more information.

Bell's paper, "Evaluation of Smart Phone Weight-Mile Truck Data for Supporting Freight Modeling, Performance Measures and Planning," details some of her work with civil engineering associate professor Miguel Figliozzi. Click here to download a version of the paper.

Thompson's poster was "A Study of Bicycle-Signal Compliance Employing Video Footage;" Singleton's poster was "A Theory of Travel Decision-Making: Applications for Active Travel;" Smith's was "The Effects of Mode Choice on Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Portland, Oregon."

The symposium, which organizers...

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When policymakers look to meet cycling goals by investing in new bicycle routes, they have little research to help them determine whether cyclists will actually use them. As a result, bicycle facilities aren’t considered equally with motor vehicle infrastructure.

That’s changing, thanks in part to OTREC research. An OTREC-funded study, the first to gather large-scale data that reveal cyclists’ actual route preference, is being published in a scientific journal (Transportation Research Part A). The findings have already been incorporated into the regional travel demand model used to make transportation investment decisions across the Portland region.

In the study, Portland State University researchers Joseph Broach, Jennifer Dill and John Gliebe (Gliebe is now with RSG Inc.) outfitted cyclists with GPS units to record which routes they chose and model the choices to reveal preferences. Previous studies have relied on stated preference surveys or less reliable methods of determining cyclists’ actual routes. The data gathering was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its national program Active Living Research.

The research...

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With transportation models increasingly used to inform policy decisions at all levels, OTREC is pleased to offer a free educational series designed to help decision makers, transportation officials and others understand these important tools. The series was organized with OTREC’s Oregon Modeling Collaborative and presented during the weekly transportation seminars at Portland State University’s Center for Transportation Studies.

Archived video of the entire eight-week series is now available. Each seminar lasts one hour. Click here for a description of each seminar and links to the video.

While the Friday seminar series has showcased transportation issues for years, the modeling series marks the first time that eight seminars focused on a single theme. Modeling is a timely topic, as policy makers come to rely increasingly on models, whether or not they have a background in modeling.

The series demonstrates how modeling can support better decision-making and explains the tools and the process to a nontechnical audience, said Kelly Clifton, director of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative. Oregon’s discussions regarding modeling tools have helped inform the national discussion, she said.

The final seminar in the series recapped some of the earlier lessons and pointed out some of the...

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Transportation models keep growing more sophisticated. But complicated isn’t necessarily better, Rick Donnelly said during the inaugural seminar in OTREC’s spring 2012 transportation seminar series April 6.

“Better is contextual,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly, who leads the modeling and simulation practice at engineering consultancy Parsons Brinckerhoff, opened the spring seminar series with an introduction to models. Seven more free seminars follow in the series, produced in partnership with the Oregon Modeling Collaborative.

Donnelly detailed questions that model builders and users should ask and offered his thoughts on building more useful and informative models. Click here for a link to the archived presentation.

Although transportation models consider increasingly more information, simpler models can often get the job done with a smaller investment of time and money, Donnelly said. Sometimes the simplest approach actually produces the best results.

“’Better’ is only relevant in the context of what the model is going to be used for,” he said.

The modeling series continues Friday, April 13 with another seminar geared toward non-modelers. The seminar, by Ben Stabler, also of Parsons Brinckerhoff, builds on Donnelly’s opening installment.

Stabler will discuss two approaches to travel modeling and give examples of each approach....

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