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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...

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OTREC research has taken steps toward developing trip generation rates for sites in a multimodal context.
Trip generation refers to the number of vehicle trips that are predicted to originate in a particular zone. The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) provides standard trip generation rates, but these rates are primarily measured in low-density suburban areas.
In areas that have a more compact urban form, better access to transit and a greater mix of land uses, fewer (and shorter) vehicle trips might actually be generated there than the current ITE rates indicate.
A project headed by Kelly Clifton, of Portland State University, examines the ways in which urban context affects vehicle trip-generation rates across a variety of land uses.
 
Results from this study reveal a trend: For all land uses tested, vehicle-trip rates decrease as neighborhood types become more urban.
There is a strong industry bias toward using ITE-published rates, so that when local governments are evaluating transportation impacts and calculating transportation system development charges, they are often compelled to use the ITE rates...
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As we prepare for the next step in our development as a center, we're taking a look back at the seven years since OTREC's founding:

The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, or OTREC, was founded in 2006 with a theme that emphasized advanced technology, the integration of transportation and land use, and healthy communities. OTREC’s mission is to inform transportation decision making through timely, useful primary research and to build the capacity of the transportation workforce.

Reflecting the DOT mission, OTREC promotes choices that make our transportation system safe, resilient and adaptable. Providing access to travel options that promote the health of our communities and our environment makes our country stronger.

From the research that makes our communities living laboratories to the innovative education and technology transfer efforts that wed research and practice, our programs lay the groundwork for livable communities. Our advanced technology projects have shown the effect of traffic-signal timing on pedestrians’ exposure to pollution and helped a state Department of Transportation place sensors to best estimate travel times for the least cost. Our healthy communities projects have helped shape...

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Oregon Tech students boosted their knowledge of sustainable pavement on a conference field trip and brought what they learned back to fellow engineering students on their Klamath Falls campus. Students Jared Jones, Zachary Hudspeth, Michael Eagle and Adam Kershaw attended the Oregon Asphalt Conference in Eugene March 5, sponsored by an OTREC student-support grant. Hudspeth, the ITE Student Chapter president, led the group.

The conference was organized by the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon (http://www.apao.org/2013ConfProgram2.htm).

The Oregon Tech students were especially interested in hearing about advances in warm-mix asphalt and RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement). These two asphalt pavement technologies greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional asphalt paving.

After returning to campus, the students shared their experiences with students enrolled in Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering 573 Transportation and Land Development class.

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The Oregon Institute of Technology welcomed the head of the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon for the Oregon Tech NITC Visiting Scholar Seminar. Jim Huddleston, the association’s executive director, spoke Feb. 21 at Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls campus.

The seminar drew 45 people, including students, faculty and professionals from local consulting engineering firms.

Huddleston, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Oregon State University, has more than 20 years’ experience in pavement design, construction and analysis. He is one of the nation’s leading experts on asphalt roadways, including innovative and sustainable applications such as recycled, warm-mix and porous pavements.

On his visit, Huddleston also congratulated Oregon Tech senior Zachary Hudspeth on winning an Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon scholarship in December. Hudspeth is the president of Oregon Tech’s Institute of Transportation Engineers student chapter.

The seminar and student group are supported by OTREC’s National Institute for Transportation and Communities program.

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While the annual Region X Student Transportation Conference in November always attracts students from across the northwest, this year’s conference pulled some from much farther south: Pomona, Calif.

The conference is a showcase for student transportation research in the Pacific Northwest (Federal Region X), which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Region X serves as a microcosm of transportation for the entire country, making it a prime testing ground for studies in transportation operations and planning.

The conference was sponsored by OTREC and hosted this year by Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), the Portland State University Student Chapter of ITE.

When professor Xudong Jia of Cal Poly Pomona learned about the conference, he was determined that his students would find a way to attend. With the support of OTREC, Cal Poly Pomona sent five students to the conference, a mix of undergraduate and graduate students in civil and transportation engineering.  The students were interested in both the research and tours, as well as gleaning tips for how to organize a student-led conference: something the Cal Poly students will be doing when they host the TransModal Connection Conference in February in San Louis Obispo.

In addition to visiting the Western Federal Lands Materials lab in Vancouver, Wash., the team competed in the Oregon Section ITE William C. Kloos Traffic Bowl. Though a transportation mishap left them...

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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...

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Oregon Institute of Technology students got an up-close look at bridge engineering on a large scale during a trip to the Mount Shasta area Sept. 28. A group of 16 students and faculty members Roger Lindgren and Matthew Sleep from the civil engineering department visited the Antlers Bridge Replacement construction site. The trip was organized by Oregon Tech’s Institute of Transportation Engineers student chapter with funding provided by OTREC.

Eric Akana, P.E., of the California Department of Transportation hosted the tour with CalTrans engineers Shari Re, Bill Barnes, and Mark Darnall.

The new Antlers Bridge, which spans the Sacramento River arm of Lake Shasta near the town of Lakehead, California, will be a balanced cantilever cast-in-place concrete bridge. The new bridge will consist of five spans coming together to make a 1,942-foot structure, approximately 600 feet longer than the original Antlers Bridge. The new bridge will replace an aging steel structure that is reaching the end of its service life. In addition, a section of highway south of the bridge will be realigned because of a high accident rate.

The Oregon Tech group met with CalTrans engineers for an extensive project review presentation at the field office and then proceeded to the construction site where they spent over two hours viewing foundation preparation, pier construction, pier-table form travelers, and abutment work.

In addition to viewing construction details and...

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Portland State University’s Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning took first place in the Oregon Institute of Transportation Engineers’ William C. Kloos Traffic Bowl, held Nov. 18 at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale. The Oregon Institute of Technology’s ITE student chapter won third place.

Portland State’s victory at the 19th annual Traffic Bowl was its second in a row. The PSU team also finished third in the 2008 competition.

The Jeopardy-style tournament tests students on their knowledge of transportation engineering and history with a sprinkling of arcane facts and pop culture thrown in for good measure. Teams from Oregon State University, the University of Portland and the University of Washington also participated with the University of Portland placing second.