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Seven dedicated students spent their summer days in TREC’s offices at PSU this year, working to transform the Bike-Ped Portal project from a dream into a reality.

TREC already houses Portal, a vast collection of Portland-area traffic and transit data, and NITC researchers saw a need for a database on the national scale for non-motorized transportation modes.

Research associate Krista Nordback launched the NITC pooled-fund project, Online Non-motorized Traffic Count Archive, with co-investigator Kristen Tufte in the spring of 2014. A year ago, Bike-Ped Portal was little more than an idea.

Now it contains roughly four million individual records of bicycle, pedestrian and even equestrian movements in five states.

High school interns Jolene Liu, Tomas Ramirez, Tara Sengupta, Gautum Singh, Kim Le, Max Fajardo and Kimberly Kuhn worked full time for weeks in order to convert piles of unsorted documentation into usable formats.

Nordback engaged the team of interns through Saturday Academy, a program affiliated with the University of...

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Founded to collect the transportation data created by agencies across the region, Portal had done its job almost too well. The data archive, a program of TREC, had taken in more data than it could make available.

Portal started in 2004 with just one data source: Oregon freeway loop detectors. Over the years, it grew into a truly multimodal data archive, incorporating transit data, traffic signal data, bicycle and pedestrian counts – eight data sources spanning two states and multiple agencies.

Its budget didn’t grow proportionately, however, leaving Portal less able to make use of the data it collected. Portal’s $125,000 in regional transportation money just kept the system running, said Portal director Kristin Tufte. “It was enough money to keep the lights on,” she said.

Given Portal’s potential to help agencies improve operations and researchers to address systemwide issues, that wasn’t enough. The information had to be accessible to make a difference.

A boost in support for Portal is helping to make that possible. With a grant from the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State, TREC hired a Portal programmer this year to present the data visually.

Though key to Portal’s...

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Event Date:
Mar 16, 2007
Content Type: Professional Development Event

PORTAL: Lessons from Developing an Archived Data User Service in Portland, Oregon

The video begins at 0:23.

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Portland State University has earned a reputation for innovative transportation programs that span multiple disciplines, all in service of livable communities. That expertise is now available in a single place through the newly renamed TREC, Portland State’s transportation research and education center.  

Growing out of OTREC, TREC is the steward of Portland State’s participation in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers program. The program has awarded Portland State more than $30 million since 2006, with a nonfederal match requirement amplifying the effect of the federal investment and touching more community partners. 

The new website, trec.pdx.edu, lets visitors search for transportation research and researchers across campus by topic or browse by research area. 

With leadership from Rep. Peter DeFazio, OTREC was founded in 2006 as a four-campus consortium and expanded into a broader transportation center. The original OTREC grant ran until 2014, funding 237 research, education and technology transfer projects. In addition to carrying on this legacy, TREC also:

  • Builds on the Center for Transportation Studies, established in 1966. The longstanding ...
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Transit supporters offer up a host of arguments for their favorite form of transportation but may struggle to counter a response of “prove it.” This year’s Oregon Transportation Summit could help change that.

Fresh research showing some of the benefits of transit will keep the public transportation track lively and relevant during the sixth annual summit. Morning and afternoon workshops spotlight transit, bookending a luncheon keynote by noted transit planner Jarrett Walker.

The Oregon Transportation Summit takes place Monday, Sept. 15 at Portland State University.

University of Utah researcher Reid Ewing made national and international headlines recently with a study showing the effect of light rail in a busy travel corridor. The study, funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, was the first to document a drop in automobile traffic after the opening of a light-rail line. Ewing presents his research at a...

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The quality of OTREC research has recently been recognized on a national level.

Selected data from the Portland Oregon Regional Transportation Archive Listing (PORTAL) will be part of a new national data sharing platform.

The US Department of Transportation has released the first version of this platform, called the Research Data Exchange, which collects and publishes archived and real-time transportation data from multiple sources.

In the language of their home page, the Research Data Exchange (called the RDE for short) was primarily developed to “support the development, testing, and demonstration of multi-modal transportation mobility applications being pursued under the USDOT ITS Dynamic Mobility Applications (DMA) Program and other connected vehicle research activities.”

In other words, USDOT created this database so they could use it. But – in the spirit of collaboration common to those with an interest in collecting and managing vast amounts of information – they’re sharing it.

The RDE is free and open to the...

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