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The latest report released by NITC offers a unique tool for communities: a guide to broadening residents’ knowledge about their transportation system and how to effect the changes they want to see.

Community involvement and outreach is an important part of any planning effort, but as planners often find, many times the conversation is a difficult one to carry on. Residents may lack the technical knowledge to understand the intricacies of the system, or they may show skepticism toward the planning process in general.

“Transportation Leadership Education,” a project by Portland State University research associate Nathan McNeil, offers a startup kit for communities to stimulate the development of a more involved, educated citizenry.

“One of the conventions has been that public involvement is based around a specific plan or a specific project. This approach is more proactive; it recognizes the value in having informed citizens... building up the civic infrastructure of people, knowledge and connections,” McNeil said.

For the past 24 years, the City of Portland and Portland State University have teamed up to offer a ten-week transportation education course, free of charge to community members.

The Portland Traffic and Transportation Course...

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Nov 17, 2015
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Community involvement and outreach is an important part of any planning effort, but as planners often find, many times the conversation is a difficult one to carry on. Residents may lack the technical knowledge to understand the intricacies of the system, or they may show skepticism toward the planning process in general. “Transportation Leadership Education,” a NITC education project, offers a guide for communities to stimulate the development of a more involved, educated citizenry.

The Portland Traffic and Transportation course is taught each year to 30-40 Portland residents who want to learn more about how the local transportation system developed and how it functions. The course is operated by the Portland Bureau of Transportation in conjunction with Portland State University. It helps participants understand local transportation agencies and their decision-making processes, and how to be involved. Over 1,200 Portland residents have taken the course over more than 20 years.

This webinar will present findings from a case study about the course derived from interviews with the people involved in launching the course,...

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By Nathan McNeil

I’ve been working through some survey data as part of a case study of the Portland Traffic and Transportation Course (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/35727), and thought I would share a few interesting differences that I’ve come across between course participants who commute via different modes.

As a bit of background, the course is a 10 week class jointly offered by Portland State University and the City of Portland that is open to the general public (not just PSU students) and provides a background in “local traffic and transportation issues, transportation options, and how to get things done in your neighborhood.” Being open to the public and providing a considerable depth of transportation-focused information, from history to engineering, the class is a relatively unique civic offering. The case study and an accompanying curriculum for other cities to implement a similar transportation-focused course will be completed in the coming months (more details are available at http://trec.pdx.edu/research/project/541/).

The data I’ve been working with came from a survey of graduates of the class (of which there are around 1200+ in Portland, from course sections going all the way back to the fall of 1991). The course includes, among other things, special...

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Today marks the last full day of presentations at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board and the final day of NITC lectern and poster sessions.

The NITC project Lessons from the Green Lane continues to resonate, with the data spinning off four papers -- three of them presented today -- at TRB. Nathan McNeil delves into greater detail about buffers that separate cyclists from motor-vehicle traffic, and which define protected bike lanes. He presents the paper "Influence of Bike Lane Buffer Types on Perceived Comfort and Safety of Bicyclists and Potential Bicyclists" at 2:45 p.m.

McNeil broke down users and potential users of different bike facilities into groups defined in the Four Types of Transportation Cyclists categories. He analyzed the increase in comfort a user experienced in a protected lane over a standard bike lane.

The biggest increase came in the "interested but concerned" segment seen as key to getting more people to use bikes. "If something is physically separated, 'interested but concerned' people feel much more comfortable," McNeil said. "It suggests that the market that'...

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The Transportation Research Board's annual meeting lets OTREC resesarchers share their work with the rest of the country, network and learn from research conducted elsewhere. OTREC faculty, staff and students, with their ubiquitous yellow lanyards, hit Washington, D.C. for research presentations, poster sessions and committee meetings Jan. 21 to 26.

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OTREC was pleased to brief members of the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation on August 3, 2009. Staff provided an members with an overview of the OTREC’s research, education, and technology transfer programs. Students Nikki Wheeler and Nathan McNeil summarized their involvement in two projecs: “Investigation of Intersection Safety for Cyclists by Age and Gender” a “Evaluation of Bike Boxes at Signalized Intersections”. Additional faculty participated by providing a summary of their research focus.