Introducing the 2021–2022 STEP Leadership Board

posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Studying transportation, or even just curious about it as a career? We encourage currently enrolled Portland State University students to join the on-campus Students in Transportation Engineering & Planning (ITE-STEP) group!

STEP engages PSU students in transportation issues through field trips, speakers, projects, and social events. The group works to build relationships and a shared understanding between transportation students from different disciplines, both within PSU and with other universities. Within STEP, students can also take on leadership roles in cultivating community and education around the transportation issues important to them. STEP is also home to PSU’s ITE student chapter, to help students stay connected to the local professional organization Oregon ITE (Institute of Engineers).

Join the STEP mailing list through which STEP leadership and transportation faculty send out announcements on transportation scholarships, jobs, internships, and events.

Introducing the 2021 - 2022 STEP Leadership Board

A warm welcome to the new leadership board for STEP:

  • President - Cameron Bennett (MS Civil Engineering)
  • VP of Finance & Conferences - Asif Haque (MURP)
  • VP of Events - Nick Meusch (MURP)
  • VP of Communications - Christian Galiza (BS Civil Engineering)
  • ...
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An increasing trend in the number of bicycle crashes in the U.S since 2009 has been a major challenge to safety. A new PSU masters thesis in civil engineering offers insights: "Improving Bicycle Crossings at Unsignalized Intersections through Pavement Markings: Analysis of the City of Portland Innovative Strategy" by Frank Boateng Appiah of Portland State University.

For a deeper dive into this research, read BikePortland's coverage of the study. For more on the researcher, read our 2020 interview with Frank.

The City of Portland, Oregon has experimented with an innovative treatment to improve bicycle crossings at unsignalized intersections. This treatment, termed a high visibility cross-bike, was installed at crossings of neighborhood bicycle greenways with busy roadways. The marking is similar to a zebra-striped pedestrian crosswalk but with green pavement markings rather than white. Although the cross-bike marking does not currently require motorists to yield for bicycles waiting to cross the roadway, it was hypothesized that the presence of the marking...

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Researchers Amy Parker, Martin Swobodzinski, Julie Wright, Kyrsten Hansen and Becky Morton of Portland State University, along with Elizabeth Schaller of American Printing House for the Blind, have published a literature review in Frontiers in Education: Wayfinding Tools for People With Visual Impairments in Real-World Settings: A Literature Review of Recent Studies.

The literature review, published in October 2021, and a case study published in September 2021 in the same journal are both related to an ongoing project led by Swobodzinski. The project, Seamless Wayfinding by Individuals with Functional Disability in Indoor and Outdoor Spaces: An Investigation into Lived Experiences, Data Needs, and Technology Requirements, is funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC).

The October article reviews 35 peer reviewed articles in order to identify and describe the types of wayfinding devices that people who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind use while navigating indoors and/or outdoors in dynamic travel contexts.

Within this...

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Low-income residents, immigrants, seniors, and people with disabilities – these are people who stand to gain the most from new tools and services that reduce transportation costs and travel time. However, issues of affordability, technology adoption, banking access or other barriers can limit access to these new mobility opportunities.

In the latest report funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), New Mobility For All: Evaluation of a Transportation Incentive Program for Residents of Affordable Housing in Portland, OR, Portland State University researchers Nathan McNeil, John MacArthur and Huijun Tan worked with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to evaluate a local pilot program: the ...

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Portland State University researchers Martin Swobodzinski and Amy Parker, with student co-authors Julie Wright, Kyrsten Hansen and Becky Morton, have published a new article in Frontiers in Education: "Seamless Wayfinding by a Deafblind Adult on an Urban College Campus: A Case Study on Wayfinding Performance, Information Preferences, and Technology Requirements."

The article reports on an empirical evaluation of the experience, performance, and perception of a deafblind adult participant in an experimental case study on pedestrian travel in an urban environment. The case study assessed the degree of seamlessness of the wayfinding experience pertaining to routes that traverse both indoor and outdoor spaces under different modalities of technology-aided pedestrian travel. Specifically, an adult deafblind pedestrian traveler completed three indoor/outdoor routes on an urban college campus using three supplemental wayfinding support tools: a mobile application, written directions, and a tactile map.

Results indicate that wayfinding performance and confidence differed considerably between the three wayfinding support tools. The tactile map afforded the most...

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Last week, we celebrated a return to in-person learning on the Portland State University campus with a welcome-back-to-school luncheon for transportation students. The gathering, held Wednesday Oct 13 on the rooftop of PSU's Urban Center building, was intended as a reboot for the Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP) student group. Around 40 people attended for lunch, greetings, and introductions to some of the core transportation faculty. TREC director Jennifer Dill gave an overview of some of the ways TREC can support students in their transportation careers (for example, funding for attending trainings and conferences.) Transportation students can also apply for scholarships through TREC – see some past PSU transportation scholars.

ELECTIONS FOR STEP LEADERSHIP BOARD

The next order of business will be to...

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Jaclyn Schaefer is a graduate of the civil engineering master's program at Portland State University. A former Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, she is now a Transportation Engineer 2 in training at the Washington State Department of Transportation. During her time at PSU, Jaclyn worked as a graduate research assistant on various projects with Dr. Miguel Figliozzi. At the 2020 TRB Annual Meeting, she presented the results of a study examining how the presence of bicycles on roads without bicycle lanes affects passenger vehicle travel speeds. Jaclyn was awarded NITC scholarships during both the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years.

Connect with Jaclyn on LinkedIn

Tell us about yourself?

I am a recent graduate from Portland State University, where I received a MS in civil and environmental engineering, and previously completed a BS in civil engineering. During my time as a graduate student at PSU, I was fortunate to work under Dr. Miguel Figliozzi conducting research on factors affecting traffic speeds and speed limit compliance on roads with a high percentage of bicycles (an ODOT research project with co-PI Avinash Unnikrishnan) and studying the spatial distribution of...

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A new study launches next month, funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC). Researchers at Portland State University and the University of Texas at Arlington will explore the use of crowdsourced data to estimate pedestrian counts. The project team consists of Sirisha Kothuri and Nathan McNeil of Portland State University, and Kate Hyun and Stephen Mattingly of the University of Texas at Arlington. 

WHAT ARE PEDESTRIAN COUNTS USED FOR?

"You know that saying that if you can't measure it, you can't change it? For most streets, we might have some intuitive sense of if there are a lot of people walking there or not, but we rarely have data to back it. This project will assess how crowdsourced data can help to establish the level of pedestrian activity on streets throughout the transportation network," McNeil said.

Knowing how many pedestrians or bicyclists are using a link or a network is the foundation for measuring nonmotorized travel. Count data are useful for monitoring trends, planning new infrastructure, and for conducting safety, health, and economic analyses. The lack of widely available pedestrian count data precludes meaningful safety studies, which have become critically important, especially...

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We are proud to congratulate Portland State University masters student Nicholas Meusch, who has been awarded a scholarship by the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Board of Directors, with a nomination endorsed by TriMet. APTF scholarships are aimed to help with tuition, books, educational materials and other expenses for students who show interest in the public transportation industry as a career, as well as high academic achievement and involvement in extracurricular citizenship and leadership activities.

Nick, a second-year student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program at PSU, currently works as a proposal manager for Elcon Associates, a minority-owned, electrical and systems engineering firm that performs consulting services for transit agencies operating rail transit systems (including TriMet and the Portland Streetcar).

Connect with Nick on LinkedIn

Nick was selected by Dr. Aaron Golub as one of two PSU graduate nominees for the 2020 American Planning Association Transportation Planning Division student paper competition, with a paper on the topic of brownfield conversions of private gasoline fueling stations to drive-through electric vehicle fast charging stations. As zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) require a greater demand...

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The 2021 World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research was held virtually August–11, and three recorded sessions are available to watch. See below for links to the opening and closing keynote speeches and a panel discussion on Portland, Oregon's urban growth boundary. TREC co-sponsored the conference with The World Society for Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR). Portland State University's interim Associate Vice President for Research, Kelly Clifton, and TREC director Jennifer Dill co-hosted the event along with Yingling Fan of the University of Minnesota. Check out the recordings here:

The first WSTLUR...

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Returning to primarily on-campus learning, the fall term at Portland State University starts September 27, 2021. See PSU’s COVID-19 Student Resources for the latest info on our campus vaccination requirement for students and staff. Some in-person courses may shift to offer an online or hybrid attendance option as the situation evolves; stay tuned for any updates. 

Students enrolled in a PSU degree program can register online. Not a current PSU graduate student? Lifelong adult learning is a guiding principle of PSU, and you can still take these courses through the non-degree application process or as a post-baccalaureate student (opens Sept. 7th). Taking a course is one way to see if one of our PSU graduate degree programs...

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