A man with sunglasses and a cane carries a smartphone in his hand, appearing to be listening to its audio

Electronic Wayfinding for Visually Impaired Travelers: Limitations and Opportunities

posted on Thursday, August 15, 2019, 12:00pm PDT
Photo by diego_cervo
Martin Swobodzinski and Amy Parker, Portland State University

It's 2019, and with the explosion of mobile technology that has affected all other areas of life, it would seem to be a golden age for people living with visual impairments. Like never before in history, blind, deaf-blind, and low-vision individuals can access a plethora of mobile apps offering a range of services to aid in navigation and wayfinding. But the words "explosion" and "plethora" hint at an underlying problem: there are so many different apps, each one addressing only a segment of their mobility...

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Photo credit: Ian Sane
John MacArthur and Nathan McNeil, Portland State University

This article was authored by Stefani Cox of the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), and cross-posted from BBSP News.

This week, Portland State University’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) releases a new research report comparing equity-oriented programs across several U.S. bike share systems. The research finds a variety of methods in place, ranging from affordability to internal hiring practices and beyond. The report is assisted by Toole Design, and funded in part by BBSP.

DIMENSIONS OF EQUITY

In any evaluation study, it’s important to define the metrics for observation. TREC decided to look at...

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A screenshot from the STAT tool shows a map with embedded Tweets by location
Xiaoyue (Cathy) Liu, University of Utah; Ran Wei, University of California, Riverside; Aaron Golub and Liming Wang, Portland State University

With today's profusion of open data sources and real-time feeds, transit agencies have an unparalleled opportunity to leverage large amounts of data to improve transit service. Thanks to NITC researchers,...

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An aerial view of a multifamily housing complex next to a road
Photo by cegli
Kelly Clifton, Portland State University

Many cities are reconsidering their reliance on ITE's Trip Generation Manual, now in its 10th edition. 

Kelly Clifton, TREC researcher and associate dean for research of Portland State University's Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science, is one of the people leading the charge to identify better, more nuanced ways to anticipate transportation demand; especially person (non-car) trips. In an extended series of TREC projects,...

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People on e-scooters

The National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research consortium, led by Portland State University, has awarded $1.035 million in total funding for ten research projects spanning five universities. This year we focused funding on micromobility, traffic, meeting the transportation needs of underserved populations and people with disabilities, and the intersection of transportation and housing.

Led by Reid Ewing of the University of Utah, Nicole Iroz-Elardo and Arlie Adkins of the University of Arizona
 
Led by Yao-Jan Wu of the University of Arizona, Xianfeng Yang of the University of Utah and Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University
This multi-university collaboration builds upon previous research led by Yao-Jan Wu in multi-modal traffic monitoring, as well as...
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Darshan Chauhan, Portland State University

Darshan Chauhan is a graduate research assistant in civil engineering at Portland State University. He currently serves as the treasurer of STEP (Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning), PSU's transportation student group, and generously volunteers his time at a variety of transportation-related events via PSU's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC). He will defend his masters thesis on network flow problems this year, and plans to continue on to earn his PhD. In the 2018/2019 academic year, Darshan earned a Walter H. Kramer Fellowship from Portland State University.

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Tell us about yourself?

I am a second-year Masters student in the civil engineering program with a transportation focus at PSU. I have been training with Prof. Unnikrishnan here to understand, model, and tackle uncertainties in different transportation networks. Before coming to Portland, I completed my Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus, working as an undergraduate researcher in areas like fracture mechanics, optimization, and alternate cementitious materials through my junior and senior years. After completing my masters, I am continuing for my Ph.D. in transportation at PSU. Apart from school, I really enjoy...

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SAFE Planning Group at graduation ceremony

Photo of CUPA 2019 Graduation Ceremony by Nina Johnson

As the spring term comes to a close and many Portland State University students celebrate graduation, we'd like to take a moment to highlight two excellent transportation-focused projects from this year's Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) graduates of the College of Urban and Public Affairs. Last year's graduating masters students worked on equitable travel to Marquam Hill, active transportation in North PDX, car-free access to the outdoors and an examination of skateboarding for transportation.

This year, two student groups took on projects related to walking and bicycling.

ReadyStreets: Human Powered Mobility in the Post-earthquake Recovery Period

SAFE (Supporting Access for Everyone) Planning Group: Kerry AszklarJaye Cromwell, Bryan Nguyen, Joey PosadaSabina Roan, and Sophie Turnbull-Appell...

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A family of color walks through a green park
Photo by Brink Communications
Marisa Zapata and Joseph Broach, Portland State University

In the latest report published by TREC, we partnered with Explore Washington Park (EWP) to better understand how to meet the needs of underserved populations in Washington Park.

EWP was formed as a Transportation Management Association and operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit with a license agreement with the City of Portland for transportation management in Portland's Washington Park and everything in it: Oregon Zoo, Portland Children's Museum, World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Japanese Garden, International Rose Test Garden and all of the park space in between. A Metro grant in 2017 provided investments to support transit to and within the park...

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TREC Director Jennifer Dill speaks to TURF fellows

Our Transportation Undergraduate Research Fellowship (TURF) program is in its second year, and we're excited to introduce our 2019 cohort. The TURF program advances critical thinking and research skills under the guidance of a PSU transportation faculty mentor. This year's fellows are working on various research initiatives at TREC, including e-scooters, bicycle and pedestrian count data, multimodal trip generation, pedestrian safety and equitable transit.

TURF is funded by an education grant through our U.S. DOT funded program the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC). Students were selected through a competitive application process; we had 103 applications from 23 U.S. states and 4 countries.

The TURF fellows will spend six weeks during the summer of 2019 at Portland State University, tackling transportation engineering and planning research questions.

MEET THE 2019 TURF FELLOWS

Anaisabel Crespo - Leiva, SUNY Plattsburgh

...
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