Student research shines at TRB national conference

On Jan. 16, the second-to-last day of the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., OTREC research stood out during the poster presentations. That was especially true for student researchers, who presented the majority of the OTREC research.

  • Some highlights: Patrick Singleton presented a review of how metropolitan planning organizations represent walking in their transportation models. His research, with Portland State University's Kelly Clifton, determined that 30 of the 48 largest MPOs include non-motorized travel in their regional models, with 14 also distinguishing between walking and bicycling.
  • Another group working with Clifton offered much-anticipated research on consumer spending and travel choices. Kristina Currans, Christopher Muhs, Chloe Ritter, Sara Morrissey and Collin Roughton presented findings that customers who arrive by modes other than the automobile are competitive consumers, spending similar amounts or more, on average, than their counterparts using automobiles. They are also more frequent patrons on average, presenting a unique marketing opportunity for these businesses.
  • Joseph Broach worked with OTREC Director Jennifer Dill to model children's independent travel to parks and schools and explore factors that may have led to a drop in active trips. They found that peers who bike to school encouraged riding, while helmet use discouraged cycling among 11- to 16-year-olds. For trips to parks, girls were subject to rules that they "stay in sight" of a parent for roughly 1.5 years longer than boys. Proximity was also key, with children three times as likely to walk or bike to a park 1/4 mile away than to one 3/4 of a mile away.

The Transportation Research Board meeting is the largest conference of its kind, with around 12,000 researchers and practitioners attending. For those who couldn't attend, Portland State University will offer three presentations on Friday that were also presented during the conference. Details are here.

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