Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

The city of Portland is using research and expertise from TREC researchers to change how it calculates fees for new development. Developers pay the fees, called transportation system development charges, to offset some of the costs of providing transportation infrastructure.
 
The foundation for those fees has been cars: that is, how many car trips a development will generate. In December, the Portland City Council voted to instead use “person trips” as the basis for those fees.
 
Researchers Kelly Clifton and Kristina Currans have assembled an impressive portfolio of research projects on trip generation. Their research caught the attention of city officials, who brought Clifton and Currans in as consultants to help them rethink the way they assess new fees for development.
 
Their work found a receptive audience of practitioners at TREC’s flagship conference, the Transportation and Communities Summit, last fall. Clifton and Currans held a workshop on improving trip generation methods to better represent the mix of modes found in livable communities. That led to a collaboration with transportation consultants...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

The NITC program has selected two dissertation fellows for the spring 2016 round of dissertation funding.

Portland State University Ph.D. candidates Patrick Singleton and Kristina Currans will each be awarded a $15,000 fellowship to support their doctoral dissertation research.

Both Currans and Singleton are also Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Graduate Fellows.

Singleton, a former Eno fellow and NITC’s 2015 student of the year, will focus his research on the “positive utility of travel.” 

Traditionally, travel is considered a means to an end, and travel demand is derived from activity demand. More recently, scholars have questioned these axioms, noting that some people enjoy traveling, use travel time productively, and may travel for non-utilitarian reasons.

Singleton will explore this concept, empirically investigating what factors determine the positive utility of travel and its impact on travel behavior. 

His research has important implications for transportation planning and policy, through improving knowledge of influences on sustainable modes and anticipating potential behavioral shifts with autonomous vehicles.

Currans, a former NITC scholar, student of the year and inductee into the Portland State University Women Engineers Hall of Fame, will be researching data and methodological issues in assessing multimodal transportation impacts.

As cities aim to promote sustainable, multimodal growth, existing...

Read more
Event Date:
Jan 08, 2016
Content Type: Events

Watch video

View Kristi Currans's slides

View Steve Gehrke's slides

Steven Gehrke, Ph.D. Candidate, Portland State University

Topic: An Activity-related Land Use Mix Construct and Its Connection to Pedestrian Travel

Land use mix is a central smart growth principle connected to active transportation. This presentation describes the indicators of local land use mixing and their association with pedestrian travel in Oregon’s Willamette River Valley. It argues that land use mix is a multidimensional construct reflected by the complementarity, composition, and configuration of land use types, which is positively linked to walk mode choice and home-based trip frequency. Findings from this study underline the conceptual and empirical benefit of analyzing this transportation-land use interaction with a landscape pattern measure of activity-related composition and spatial configuration.

...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: Blog entry

By Kristina M. Currans

In August 2014, the Institute of Transportation Engineers released the 3rd edition of the Trip Generation Handbook, a 352-page text that has traditionally, until only recently, provided guidance on estimating vehicle trips generated from new development. Among other updates, this new edition includes new chapters summarizing the most recent research and methods developed allowing users to account for people (not just vehicles) in trip generation estimation practices. This industry’s transition to estimating and understanding the “people” traveling to development has been in high demand from communities looking to accommodate multimodal travel, but there still remain a number of limitations in the guidelines presented.

One such limitation is that we currently have few data that allow us to directly estimate person trip rates. Instead we are often required to: (1) estimate vehicle trips using suburban vehicle trip rate data, defined as a “base rate”; (2) convert the vehicle trips into an estimated person trips using an assumed mode share and vehicle occupancy rate from the ITE’s suburban vehicle-oriented data, and; (3) reallocate the estimated person trips into different modes (bike, walk, drive, transit, etc.) based on the urban context of the development. This “direct mode share adjustment” forces the user, first, to assume that person trip rates do not vary across urban contexts and, second, to...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

Portland State University inducted graduate student Kristina Currans into the Denice Dee Denton Women Engineers Hall of Fame in a ceremony Nov. 15. Currans is the second transportation engineering student to win the student award.

Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, took the Outstanding Female Engineer honors.

Currans’ boundless enthusiasm and dedication to her work quickly become apparent to anyone who works with her, said Kelly Clifton, an associate professor of civil engineering and director of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative. “I’ve never met someone able to manage so many things,” said Clifton, who nominated Currans for the honor.

Currans works with Clifton as a part of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative and on several OTREC research projects. “She brings a tremendous amount of energy,” Clifton said.

After graduating Oregon State University with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree in 2010, Currans soon made a name for herself in transportation circles. She started her graduate coursework at Portland State and worked during academic breaks with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Transportation Planning Analysis Unit, home to state and regional transportation models.

“For someone who had just graduated with an undergraduate degree, she completed that internship and really impressed ODOT,” Clifton said. “To do that so quickly caught everyone’s attention.”

Currans tested and worked with the Statewide Integrated...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

Planners looking to develop an dense mix of urban land uses often face a dilemma: they’re using trip-generation models that undercount the very trips on bicycle and foot that the planners encourage while paving the way for more driving.

Portland State University Associate Professor Kelly Clifton dove into the topic Monday, presenting a paper at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington D.C. Kristina Currans of PSU, April Cutter of Metro, and Robert Schneider of the University of California Berkeley are coauthors.

Clifton and other panelists agreed that the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ trip generation rates don’t adequately reflect actual trips in an urban area with multiple land uses and transportation modes. They differed on the remedy, however.

Presenting another paper, Associate Professor Kevan Shafizadeh of California State University Sacramento, evaluated and tested several complex methods, finding that none truly suits smart-growth development projects. However, Shafizadeh and his team found that every method tested does a better job at predicting the number of trips generated than the ITE rates.

We need to predict trips better, Clifton said, but perhaps a simpler solution exists. She acknowledged Shafizadeh’s conclusions that each alternative also had deficiencies in certain applications, and suggested that the ITE rates could be tweaked instead of scrapped entirely.

“It’s a Band-Aid to temporarily...

Read more