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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Jaime Orrego-Onate, wearing glasses and an orange T-shirt, faces the camera with a mountain in the background.
  • Learn more about Jaime Orrego-Oñate: Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn


 Jaime Orrego-Oñate, a civil engineering PhD candidate at Portland State University (PSU), has been awarded a $15,000 Oregon Sylff Fellowship for International Research. As a Chilean national completing a Ph.D. in transportation engineering at PSU, Jaime is poised to promote the expansion of American research abroad into countries that lack research resources. His research focuses on understanding the role of the urban form in active transportation decisions. With his work, he hopes to address an information gap between pedestrians’ motivations to walk and how urban planners can encourage this behavior. This is of particular importance in the context of Jaime's home region, Latin America, where walking has been decreasing due to the rise of use of private automobiles.

"I want to spearhead positive change by convincing societies like mine that they can improve urban development," Orrego-Oñate said.

The Sylff program aims to identify and nurture leaders who will overcome differences in nationality, language, ethnicity, religion, and political systems to tackle global issues, and whose high integrity and drive to address issues unique to their respective countries can make a real difference....

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A view through the front windshield of a car, with two bicyclists on the road ahead.
Photo by Pav_1007 on iStock
Jaclyn Schaefer, Miguel Figliozzi, and Avinash Unnikrishnan; Portland State University

The new article Evidence from Urban Roads without Bicycle Lanes on the Impact of Bicycle Traffic on Passenger Car Travel Speeds published in Transportation Research Record, the Journal of the Transportation Research Board, demonstrates that bicycles do not significantly reduce passenger car travel speeds on low speed, low volume urban roads without bicycle lanes. Authored by Jaclyn Schaefer, Miguel Figliozzi, and Avinash Unnikrishnan of Portland State University, the research shows that differences in vehicle speeds with and without cyclists were generally on the order of 1 mph or less – negligible from a practical perspective.

A concern raised by...

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A close-up view of the motor mounted on the back of an e-bike, behind the rider's seat.

Authored by Mike McQueen and John MacArthur, Portland State University

Read the 2020 research paper in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment with updated model & findings.

Electric bikes (e-bikes) are quickly becoming common in U.S. cities and suburbs, but we still have a ways to go compared to our neighbors across the Atlantic.  In recent years, e-bike sales have steadily increased with unprecedented growth in Europe, especially in the Netherlands. Can the U.S. catch up? E-bikes offer a cheaper alternative to car travel and also provide physical activity. Riders with limited physical ability find that e-bikes extend their overall mobility. Beyond the practical, e-bikes are also just fun to ride. In fact, e-bikes encourage users to cycle farther and more often than conventional bicycles. More...

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TREC awards for 2017, 2018 and 2019 bike to work month

Authored by Tammy Lee, Transportation Data Manager, Portland State University

Traditionally, the month of May is Bike to Work Month. Last year this time, Oregon logged 179,177 trips for a total of 1,374,835 miles by 10,397 riders. And last year this time TREC was winning the PSU bike to work month department challenge. So what are we seeing in the data now?

For continuity from the last time we posted some bike volume observations, we’re again showing data from the Hawthorne Bridge and Tilikum Crossing (Figure 1) in Portland, Oregon. At the moment, daily volume across the Hawthorne Bridge remains relatively low. Typically we’d expect bike volumes across the Hawthorne would be higher in May, especially because if this were “normal” times we’d be competing in the Bike to Work Month challenge. Bike volumes across the Tilikum show higher volumes beginning in April, especially on the weekends since the March 23, stay-at-home order was issued.

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a TOD in Portland
Photo by Nathan McNeil
Nathan McNeil and Jennifer Dill, Portland State University

Does living in a transit-oriented development (TOD) actually change the way people travel? That's the fundamental question that 15 years of research in Portland, Oregon seeks to answer.

Since 2005, Portland State University has worked with Portland’s Metro regional government to survey occupants of buildings for which developers had received funding from...

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