The Transportation Undergraduate Research Fellowship (TURF) program at Portland State University has hosted twenty-four fellows since 2017, and recently wrapped up its summer 2022 session. This year, six undergraduate researchers worked on projects aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of multimodal transportation systems. The research goals ranged from surveying pedestrian count programs and safety performance functions across the country, to reviewing case studies of tactical curb extensions and collecting pedestrian data at intersections. 

Hosted by PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), the TURF fellows also experience a variety of workshops with PSU faculty and staff on research, communication and data science skills. They attended the 2022 Forth Mobility Roadmap Conference in June, and participated in networking events with the Portland chapters of YPT and WTS. Here is some of what the students had to say about the experience:

"I enjoyed all of the experiences surrounding my time here at TREC, but I loved the workshops. I especially enjoyed Dr. Golub's workshop...

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In 2019 Olivia Nell wasn't sure what she wanted to study in college. A junior in high school, she discovered a free transportation summer camp at Portland State University (PSU) for high schoolers. After seeing the behind-the-scenes workings of transportation in Portland, Oregon and meeting local professionals, she knew she wanted to pursue: engineering.

"I really enjoyed my time at the camp, and it helped me narrow down my educational interests. I am now in my third year of college at Oregon State University studying mechanical engineering, hoping to focus on renewable energy," Olivia said.

This summer she returned to the camp as a counselor to mentor the next cohort of Oregon high school students. She is one of five past students to do so.

"Three of our counselors this year were past camp students. I think that in itself speaks to the importance of this camp in drawing people to the transportation profession," said Hau Hagedorn, associate director of the Transportation Research Education Center (TREC) at PSU.

Olivia decided to return because she appreciates how the camp positively impacts students: "I wanted to be a part of a team that allows for students to explore various career...

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Cross-posted from Oregon State University

Research by the Oregon State University College of Engineering and Portland State University suggests a trio of roadway treatments would enable people age 65 and older to travel on foot more safely.

The research findings are important because older pedestrians are among the most likely to be killed in traffic accidents, according to the National Safety Council. In the United States in 2020 there were 709 pedestrian fatalities in the 65-74 age group – 20% of total road-user deaths in that age bracket. The project used data from Oregon collisions but is likely applicable in other areas, and it provides a framework for jurisdictions to develop their own safety recommendations, said David Hurwitz of the OSU College of Engineering.

Findings of the study led by Chris Monsere of Portland State were published in the Transportation Research Record in May 2022, "Systemic Opportunities to Improve Older Pedestrian Safety: Merging Crash Data Analysis and a Stakeholder Workshop".

Hurwitz and Monsere, whose collaborative background includes a recent...

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The fall term at Portland State University starts September 26, and registration opens September 6 for non-degree students. (Students who are already enrolled in a PSU degree program can register online now.) Lifelong learning is a guiding principle of PSU, and anyone interested can take transportation courses through the non-degree application process or as a post-baccalaureate student. Taking a course can be a good way to see if one of our graduate degree programs is right for you. Check out the course offerings below to see what's available this fall.

See PSU’s COVID-19 Student Resources for the latest info on our campus vaccination requirement for students and staff. If you're not sure when or where (or whether) to show up for your course,...

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Researchers Aaron Golub, John MacArthur and Sangwan Lee of Portland State University, Anne Brown of the University of Oregon, and Candace Brakewood and Abubakr Ziedan of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville have published a new journal article in the September 2022 volume of Transportation Research: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Rapidly-evolving payment technologies have motivated public transit agencies in the United States to adopt new fare payment systems, including mobile ticketing applications. The article, "Equity and exclusion issues in cashless fare payment systems for public transportation," explores the challenges facing transit riders in the U.S. who lack access to bank accounts or smartphones, and potential solutions to ensure that a transition to cashless transit fares does not exclude riders. Learn more about the project and read an open-access version of the final report.

The study asks: who is most at risk of being excluded by the transition to new fare payment systems and how would riders pay transit fares if cash payment options were reduced or eliminated? Researchers answer these questions using intercept surveys of 2,303 transit riders in Portland-Gresham, OR, Eugene, OR, and Denver, CO.

The...

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In order to make sure bicyclists' needs are considered when improving a transportation system, planners and engineers need to know how many people are biking, and where. 

Traditional bicycle counters can provide data for limited sections of the bike network, often these counters are installed at important locations like trails or bridges. While limited in location, they count everyone who bikes by. Meanwhile, GPS & mobile data cover the entire transportation network, but that data only represents those travelers who are using smartphones or GPS. Combining the traditional location-based data sources with this new, crowdsourced data could offer better accuracy than any could provide alone. 

"Knowing how many people are bicycling on a street is really important for a number of reasons. As just a few examples, bicycle volumes give you a way to understand safety data and determine crash rates. They provide insight into where and how bicycle trips are taking place, which can help plan for new or improved facilities," said Nathan McNeil of Portland State University.

Supported by a pooled fund grant administered by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), Dr. Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University led a research project aimed at fusing traditional and...

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Nick Puczkowskyj is a graduate research and teaching assistant at Portland State University's College of Urban and Public Affairs. He is a current Urban Studies PhD candidate, and has served as past president of Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), PSU's transportation student group. He has also worked as a teaching assistant and research assistant at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Nick's research specializes in transportation equity, focusing on mobility justice, transgender mobility, queer mobility, gender disparities, and marginalized communities. He earned his master's degree in community and regional planning from the University of New Orleans.

Connect with Nick on LinkedIn or view his PSU profile.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickPuczkowskyj


Tell us about yourself?

Currently I'm a 5th year urban studies Phd candidate. Originally from Chicago, I also call Portland and Hong Kong home. Off campus, you can find me on the rugby pitch with the Portland Lumberjacks RFC or foraging Oregon’s forests for mushrooms.

What (or who...

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In 2022, a PSU Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) team made headlines with their strategies to improve safety for houseless pedestrians. Cities across the U.S. are facing alarming increases in traffic fatalities, especially among the number of pedestrians who are struck and killed by drivers. In 2021, 70 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in Portland were of people experiencing houselessness. The MURP team Street Perspective, made up of Peter Domine, Nick Meusch, Asif Haque, Angie Martínez, Sean Doyle, and Meisha Whyte, investigated how to reduce the risk of being hit and killed specifically for unhoused people. 

As the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is updating the city's Vision Zero Plan, the team provided PBOT with recommendations to reduce the risk of pedestrian fatalities among the city's vulnerable houseless communities.

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Active transportation investments offer many types of benefits related to safety, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, physical activity and the economy. Metro, Oregon’s regional government for the Portland metropolitan area, wants to better understand the role of these investments in building stronger communities in their region, and in implementing the Metro 2040 Growth Concept.

Led by Portland State University in partnership with Metro, the
Active Transportation Return on Investment (ATROI) study looked at twelve projects constructed in the greater Portland region between 2001 and 2016. These twelve 2040 Catalyst Projects were evaluated to determine if active transportation investments had significant effects on...

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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted travel for in-person shopping, commute trips, global supply chains, and food business operations. E-grocery pickup and delivery services saw unprecedented expansions in response. The adoption and use of these e-grocery services have implications for equity and mobility. A PSU masters thesis offers insights: "Adoption and Use of E-Grocery Shopping in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Transport Systems and Beyond" by Gabriella Abou-Zeid, a 2021 graduate of Portland State University with a masters in civil engineering.

"While the future adoption and use of e-grocery services is uncertain as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, our analysis revealed a clear impact of the pandemic on e-grocery shopping behaviors, which has impacts for transportation network demand, safety, and equity," Abou-Zeid said.

Enhancing our understanding of the drivers of (and barriers to) online grocery shopping and its potential "stickiness"—or the extent to which e-grocery use will continue at the same or higher frequencies after the pandemic—is a prerequisite for unpacking current and future consequences of this ecommerce sector on people...

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