Content Type: News Item

TREC, the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University, hosted a lunch and information session Friday for Portland State staff and faculty members.

The luncheon brought together individuals from a broad range of disciplines. In addition to people from typically transportation-aware fields like civil and environmental engineering, metropolitan studies, urban and regional planning, public administration and the institute for sustainable solutions, representatives of other disciplines also attended, whose fields have the potential to intersect with transportation.

The span of fields included engineering and technology management; public health; education; mathematics and statistics; electrical and computer engineering; psychology; geography; computer science; women, gender and sexuality studies; economics and applied linguistics.

The gathering served as a way to bring together a diverse group of people from various disciplines who could benefit from connecting with the transportation center’s ongoing programs and research.

Portland has established itself nationally and globally as a leader in sustainable transportation, thanks in part to Portland State research and education programs. Portland state’s renown in transportation lifts the entire university’s national reputation, and faculty members whose studies are not directly related to transportation can still benefit from this effect.

Connecting with TREC...

Read more
Tags
Content Type: News Item

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 ...
Read more
Content Type: News Item

The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) invites proposals for the Fall 2014 Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships. This grant is part of the University Transportation Center (UTC) program funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT), and is a partnership between Portland State University (PSU), the University of Oregon (UO), the Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech), and the University of Utah (UU). The mission of the UTC program is to advance U.S. technology and expertise in the many disciplines comprising transportation through the mechanisms of education, research, and technology transfer at university-based centers. See utc.dot.gov for more information.

Fellowships up to $15,000 will be awarded to cover expenses for the recipient while working on their dissertation. A Spring 2015 NITC Dissertation RFP will be released in January with applications due in April 2015.

NITC is focused on contributing to transportation projects that support innovations in: livability, incorporating safety and environmental sustainability

ELIGIBILITY

Students must be a US Citizen and have advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree prior to the application deadline. NITC fellowships are open to students currently enrolled in a transportation-related doctoral program at Portland State University (PSU), University of Oregon (UO), Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech),...

Read more
Content Type: News Item

In 2009, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the Copenhagen Wheel, a device that converts an ordinary bicycle into a hybrid e-bike.

An e-bike is considered a motorized bicycle under Massachusetts law. This means that once the 13-pound, 26-inch Copenhagen Wheel is attached to the rear wheel of a bicycle, the resulting vehicle requires a driver’s license to operate, must be registered with the DMV, and its rider must wear, not just a bike helmet, but a motorcycle helmet to be in compliance with the law.

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are well established in China and other Asian and European countries but market adoption has been slow in the United States.

Part of the reason could be that the law is often nebulous where e-bikes are concerned.

NITC researchers at Portland State University conducted a policy review revealing the current state of legislation regarding e-bikes in the United States and Canada.

The report, Regulations of E-Bikes in North America, provides a summary of legal definitions and requirements surrounding the use of electric-assist bicycles in each of the 50 states, Washington D.C. and 13 Canadian provinces.

No two jurisdictions are exactly alike in their legal treatment of this relatively new mode of...

Read more
Content Type: News Item

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...

Read more
Content Type: News Item

New research from NITC looks at Health Impact Assessment, or HIA, in transportation planning.

The leading causes of death in the United States are no longer communicable diseases. Instead, chronic conditions linked to behaviors and shaped by environments—such as obesity and diabetes—are today’s most pressing public health concerns.

HIA is a way of evaluating the effects that planning decisions will have on public health.

Researcher Nicole Iroz-Elardo studied this relatively new endeavor, analyzing and comparing three contemporary case studies in HIA.

She will share her findings in an IBPI webinar on July 16, 2014.

By engaging professionals from multiple disciplines, HIA can give planners a larger knowledge base to inform decisions. 

In a collaborative process that did not emerge in the U.S. until 1999, stakeholders and community members engage with public health professionals to identify and deliberate about health interests related to the proposed plan.

They generally focus on health equity, and use as a framework the social determinants of health: a broad range of factors developed...

Read more
Content Type: News Item
The executive committee of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, program has selected a third round of research, education, and technology transfer projects for funding. This grant is part of the University Transportation Center (UTC) program funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Research and Technology, and is a partnership between Portland State University, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology, and the University of Utah. The committee chose eight projects, totaling $800,000, under the NITC theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation to foster livable communities. 
 
The projects are national in scope and support innovations in priority areas including public transit and active transportation. 
 
Projects selected include:
  • An analysis of the effects of commuter rail on population deconcentration.
  • A look into prioritizing pedestrians at signalized intersections.
  • A study of cyclist-vehicle interaction.
  • An evaluation of an eco-driving intervention.
The eight projects were chosen from among 20 proposals...
Read more
Content Type: News Item

For the first time, researchers have shown that installing light rail on an existing travel corridor not only gets people out of their cars, but reduces congestion and air pollution.

In the study, planners at the University of Utah measured impacts of a new light rail line in Salt Lake City (University Line) on an existing major thoroughfare (400/500 South). Their analysis showed that traffic near the University has fallen to levels not seen since the 1980s, even as the number of students, faculty and staff at the university has increased, and the commercial district along the corridor has expanded.

"This is the first study to document important effects of light rail transit on traffic volumes,” said Reid Ewing, professor of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah and lead author on the study. “Since the University TRAX line opened, there has been increased development in the 400/500 South travel corridor, yet traffic on the street has actually declined. Our calculations show that without the University TRAX line, there would be at least 7,300 more cars per day on 400/500 South, and possibly as many as 21,700 additional cars. The line avoids gridlock, as well as saves an additional 13 tons of toxic air pollutants. This is important knowledge for shaping future transportation policies.”

Andrew Gruber, executive director of the...

Read more
Content Type: News Item

A research study released Monday by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program offers the most comprehensive evaluation of protected bicycle lanes to date. The study, “Lessons from the Green Lanes,” examines recently installed protected bike lanes in five of the six founding PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project cities and provides the scientific basis for decisions that could improve bicycling in cities across the United States.

Protected bike lanes, sometimes called cycle tracks, are on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts to help organize the street and make riding a bike appealing for people of all ages and abilities. Because protected bike lanes are relatively new to the U.S., little academic research has existed to help leaders evaluate the risks and rewards of the investment in putting the facilities on the ground.

This study provides definitive evidence that people feel safe riding in protected lanes and that people traveling by car or foot also support building more protected lanes to separate bicycles and automobiles. It also provides insight on the safety, use and...

Read more
Content Type: News Item

In a pilot study funded by the NITC Small Starts program, researchers explored whether drivers behave differently toward pedestrians waiting to use a crosswalk based on the pedestrian’s race. The study – the first examining the effects of race on pedestrian crossing experiences – found that black pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars and waited nearly a third longer to cross than white pedestrians.

Minorities are disproportionately represented among pedestrian fatalities in the United States. The Center for Disease Control reported in 2013 that in the first decade of this century, the fatality rates for black and Hispanic men were twice as high as they were for white men.

Researchers Kimberly Barsamian Kahn and Tara Goddard of Portland State University, and Arlie Adkins, of the University of Arizona, hypothesized that if minority pedestrians experience more delay at crosswalks, they might take greater risks when crossing – risks that could contribute to the disparate fatality rates.

Kahn, an assistant professor of social psychology, studies contemporary forms of racial bias that are hidden within society. Working with Goddard and Adkins, who were interested in the social equity impacts of transportation, Kahn put together a controlled field experiment to measure differences in...

Read more

Pages