Screenshot from a Zoom session of the 2020 summer camp, showing the faces of participating students in a grid layout.

Teaching the Next Generation: Choosing Transportation as Your Path

posted on Monday, September 21, 2020

On March 23, 2020, Oregon — like many other U.S. states — was placed under a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At Portland State, we were faced with a decision: What to do about our 2020 transportation summer camps for Oregon high schoolers

Our camps, up to this year, have been defined by the in-person, on-campus experience. Previous cohorts toured Portland's bikeways, saw the inside of Multnomah County's bridges, and sat down with professional engineers and planners to talk about tricky traffic problems. Would the program survive the transition to a virtual format?

We had already received 52 applications from promising Oregon high schoolers, and decided the camp was too important to cancel. With the financial support of the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, we were able to shift to a virtual camp and still fulfill our objectives:

  • Introduce high school students to professionals in transportation 

  • Teach them about the broad range of transportation careers and sectors 

  • Present the social justice and equity issues within transportation and how they relate to students, their families and their neighborhoods 

  • Introduce students to transportation systems in Portland 

    ...
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Orange BIKETOWN electric bikes docked at a BIKETOWN station in Portland, Oregon
Photo by Cait McCusker

In our previous posts about Portland, Oregon bike travel and the pandemic from April and May, we observed bridge crossing stagnation and decline across the Hawthorne and Tilikum Crossing bridges during normal commute hours. To expand on these findings, we took a look at how Portland’s bike share system – BIKETOWN – has been impacted by the global pandemic.

Claims of a worldwide boom in bike share usage were reported during the early days of COVID-related closures. However, a few months have gone by and it’s now apparent that these findings were misleading due to limited sample selection. For example, some of the reported US bike share ridership outlooks were based on data collected over a very short period, just a week and a half in early March for Chicago and NYC. In the same article, Seattle and San Francisco were actually shown to have...

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Left: A view from behind of Jennifer Dill biking down a bike boulevard. Right: Jennifer Dill, wearing glasses and a red dress, stands in front of a patch of yellow flowers holding her APBP award plaque.

We're proud to announce that Dr. Jennifer Dill, director of TREC at Portland State University, has been awarded the 2020 Research Professional of the Year award by the Association of Bicycle and Pedestrian Professionals (APBP). Given the need for ongoing quarantine, we had to get creative with her acceptance speech - Watch the video to see the award delivered to her by TREC staffers, handed off in a multimodal relay, before Dill accepts the award on a neighborhood greenway/bike boulevard.

Dill received the 2020 APBP Research Professional of the Year award for her contributions advancing the state of practice in bicycle and pedestrian research with a high degree of professional integrity. Dr. Dill addresses important research questions related to walking and bicycling, points out limitations, and suggests lines of future research. Her teaching and advice to students at Portland State University, her leadership through the Transportation Research Board and APBP, and her insightful thoughts related to equity inspire practitioners and researchers working in bicycle and pedestrian transportation.

Watch her accept the award:

Text reads: TREC student spotlight, Nora Stoelting. Image is of Nora (right) with an aquamarine sleeveless shirt, and a photo (left) of summer camp students touring a bridge.

Nora Stoelting is pursuing a dual master's degree in Leadership for Sustainability Education and Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University. She is excited about the ways these two programs intersect in building a more dynamic, connected, and sustainable world. Nora's background is in garden education and environmental advocacy, and she most recently worked in waste minimization with airport businesses at PDX. Nora is thrilled to join TREC to work on education programming through integrating tactical urbanism projects into PSU classes and designing TREC's free summer camp for high school students (read a recap of the 2020 camp here). She believes strongly in the power of collaborative, holistic, experiential teaching and learning to transform ourselves and the world.

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Tell us about yourself?

I am a cis, female, white, 27 year old graduate student living in NE Portland. I am currently pursuing a double masters in Leadership for Sustainability Education and Urban and Regional Planning. I am passionate about such a wide, interconnected array of topics that it was impossible to pick one program! Lately I have been really interested in envisioning a libertory future (within myself and the world). I have been feeling really inspired by Black...

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Text: NITC Student Spotlight, Frank Boateng Appiah, Portland State University. Images: Frank Boateng Appiah in a grey hoodie next to an image of a rectangular rapid flash beacon at a crosswalk.
Frank Boateng Appiah is a graduate student and research assistant in civil engineering at Portland State University, working with Chris Monsere and Sirisha Kothuri on best practices for the installation of Rapid Rectangular Flash Beacons with or without Median Refuge. He graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with Bsc. Civil Engineering in 2013. Frank is interested in how transportation improves life by increasing productivity, efficiency and other aspects of mobility.
 

Tell us about yourself?

I come from a small town in Ghana called Adamsu but spent most of my formative years in Accra, the capital city. Living in Accra, a city where road transport has been the primary mode for several decades, I came to appreciate how a disintegrated transportation system affects a nation’s economic growth and therefore requires effective and efficient planning and design to increase productivity. This informed my decision to read civil engineering during my 4-year undergraduate study at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology. At Tech I was much involved in student groups such as CESA (Civil Engineering Students Association), where I held some leadership positions. In PSU I am an active member of...

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It’s nearly time to jump back into the academic year, and at Portland State University we have quite a few Fall 2020 transportation graduate courses that will all be offered online. If you are not a current PSU graduate student, you can still take these courses through the non-degree application process or as a post-baccalaureate student. Taking a course is one way to see if one of our PSU graduate degree programs is right for you!

Civil and Environmental Engineering

CE 4/514 Transportation Seminar; Chris Monsere

This weekly seminar features a different speaker each week covering various topics in transportation research... Read more

We'd like to congratulate two Portland State University individuals who received 2020 awards from the Western District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).

Dr. Christopher Monsere of Portland State University was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Educator Award from ITE. Monsere is Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State. His primary research interests are in design and operation of multimodal transportation facilities including user behavior, comprehension, preferences, and the overall safety effectiveness of transportation improvements.

The Outstanding Transportation Educator Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates...

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View of North MLK Boulevard in Portland, Oregon with a pedestrian crossing near a mural.
MLK Boulevard in Portland, OR. Photo by Cait McCusker
Steven Howland, Portland State University

The historically Black district of Albina in Portland, Oregon, due to racist real estate practices, faced multiple displacement events between 1960 and 1990 with the construction of Interstate 5 through the heart of the neighborhood as well as wholesale destruction of hundreds of homes to make room for the Memorial Coliseum and various other urban renewal projects. Gentrification in Portland saw a mass displacement of Black households from Albina, largely to East Portland, a suburban area that was unincorporated county land...

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Preview showing piece of "roses from concrete" cover, piece of montgomery poster, and a picture of Jaclyn Schaefer presenting her research poster at a conference.

Following the successful finish of Portland State's first-ever remote Spring Term, we're taking a moment to highlight the projects of students in transportation engineering and planning who worked through unusual pandemic conditions. See below for a recap of transportation student work that was wrapped up at the end of the 2019/2020 academic year. Last year's graduating masters of urban studies students focused on human-powered transportation, and this year's projects address a range of topics from improved active transportation infrastructure to equity and access.

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Masters of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) Workshop Projects

Every year, graduating Master of Urban and Regional Planning students participate in a workshop project where they develop planning projects for clients in the community.

Roses from Concrete

Walk and Roll Consulting team: Timothy Martinez, Shreya Jain, Matthew Cramer, Gwynn Mackellan, Sarah Bermudez, Walle Brown
...
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A streetcar crosses a road with a bicycle signal, with a light rail train visible on an overpass overhead.

Portland State University researchers have received funding for five new transportation research projects via the National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC), a research consortium funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and led by Portland State. The projects listed below have been awarded to PSU faculty along with some inter-university collaborators, and will investigate a range of topics from leveraging advanced technology to create smart transportation systems to improving universal access and equity: 

Led by Avinash Unnikrishnan, Miguel Figliozzi and Subhash Kochar of Portland State University

Travel time reliability is a key metric of interest to practitioners and researchers. This project will evaluate and develop methods to determine confidence intervals and hypothesis tests for select travel time reliability parameters. The researchers will also study the applicability of existing travel time reliability metrics for class one vehicles (bicycles and motorbikes) and the feasibility of defining an overall travel time reliability of an arterial segment that considers all modes. 

...
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Paper Bike Share Equity Briefs Arranged on a Table
John MacArthurNathan McNeil and Joseph Broach, Portland State University

Last year, Portland State University’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) released a 130 page evaluation comparing equity-oriented programs from over 70 U.S. bike share systems across the U.S. Bike share being a relative newcomer to the transportation system, the research team was not surprised to find that approaches to equity programs ranged widely. In the latest installment, funded by the Better...

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