Friday Transportation Seminar: Economic Impacts of Street Improvements: Findings from the Portland Metro Area

Friday, November 5, 2021, 11:30am to 12:30pm PDT
Jennifer Dill and Jenny Liu, PSU
Free and open to the public
PDH: 1 | AICP: 1

Friday Transportation Seminars at Portland State University have been a tradition since 2000. You can join us online at 11:30 AM.



The Active Transportation Return on Investment (ATROI) study aimed to provide a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the economic benefits of active transportation infrastructure in the Portland, OR region. The study was funded by Portland Metro and conducted by researchers at PSU and Metro.

This seminar will focus on one part of the study--a quantitative assessment of the economic impacts of 12 "catalyst" projects. These projects retrofitted busy commercial streets with pedestrian friendly treatments aimed at catalyzing economic development. The projects were in Beaverton, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Gresham, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Portland, and Tigard. The analysis estimated effects on employment, wages, and sales in the retail and food sectors.

Overall, we found positive effects for the retail and/or food sectors in nine of the 12 study areas. There were positive effects for projects located in different parts of the region, not just in more urban parts of the city of Portland. In addition to presenting the findings, this seminar will review the multiple methods and data sources used in the analysis.


  • An overview of methods and data that can be used to assess the effects of street improvements on local business economic activity
  • Understand whether pedestrian and bicycle street improvements can increase economic activity related to retail and food businesses, based on data from the Portland, OR region
  • Learn about how the contexts of street improvements may affect economic outcomes


Jennifer Dill, Portland State University

Dr. Jennifer Dill is a professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University (PSU) and Director of the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at PSU. TREC houses the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), which she also directs. NITC is a national university transportation center funded by the US Department of Transportation focusing on improving mobility for people and goods to build stronger communities. Dr. Dill also serves on the Board of Trustees for the TransitCenter, a New York-based foundation that works to improve public transit in cities across the U.S.

Jenny Liu, Portland State University

Jenny Liu is an associate professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University. She is an environmental and resource economist with a focus in transportation economics. Her research interests include the economics of alternative energy sources, links between transportation choices and environmental issues, the effects of physical infrastructure networks and social networks on the adoption of transportation technologies, and technology adoption and its effects on climate change, particularly within the urban and development contexts.


This 60-minute seminar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We can provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.


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Photo courtesy of Oregon Metro

The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and professionals through education.