Researchers at Portland State University and Oregon State University have updated the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Safety Investigation Manual, materials and training resources to assist ODOT traffic investigators with highway safety project investigation, analysis, evaluation, and documentation.

David Hurwitz of OSU worked with Chris Monsere, Sirisha Kothuri and Jason Anderson of PSU to update the manual. The team revised and expanded worksheets used in the safety analysis process and prepared training materials in the form of videos, slide decks, and case study examples to help train ODOT employees and employees from...

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Dr. Chris Monsere, PH.D., P.E. of Portland State University has been awarded the 2022 Branford Price Millar Award for Faculty Excellence. The Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards are one example of how the university honors, recognizes, and incentivizes the ongoing excellence of PSU faculty and academic professionals for their research, scholarship, service, and dedication to our students and our academy.

Monsere, who also won the 2020 Outstanding Educator Award from the Western District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), is the associate dean for academic affairs in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science and a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research focuses on improving traffic safety, especially for those bicycling and walking. Much of his research has studied new and novel (in the U.S.) designs. His research has also examined how best to manage the speed of motor vehicles—a primary factor in traffic safety deaths and serious injuries. He has collaborated on nearly $6 million in research and is the author or co-author of...

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Incorporating transportation into the land development process is a big undertaking, with many important angles to be considered. Researchers are translating NITC research on this theme into a popular, easy-to-understand graphic format: comics. Led by an interdisciplinary team at Portland State University and the University of Arizona, they're illustrating transportation considerations in the land development process as a comic to reach a broader audience on this critical topic. 

Related: Read about the NITC Research Roadmap on Transportation and Land Use.

Still in development (the images here are early working drafts, illustrated by PSU student Joaquin Golez and Portland, OR illustrator Ryan Alexander-Tanner), the comics are based on research findings from several projects funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC). The project team is working with readers at neighborhood associations and nonprofits to test this unique approach in sharing research findings. We interviewed three of the project team members Kelly Clifton of PSU, Ryan Alexander-Tanner and Susan Kirtley of PSU to hear how it's going.

Can you share more about...

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Better Block PSU is a partnership program between the volunteer-led group Better Block PDX and Portland State University - encouraging everyone to imagine what spaces could be when they are designed for people. Once a year, community members submit their project ideas to the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at PSU. Selected projects are then integrated into a pathway of PSU planning and engineering classes, through which students gain hands-on experiential learning by developing plans, designs, and engineering solutions. 

Students in PSU's Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning course, taught by Drusilla van Hengel, are currently working on the newest slate of projects. The course seeks to provide each project partner with an evaluation of each site's level of pedestrian and bicycle activity and existing conditions, a community engagement plan, and performance metric recommendations for uses during the demonstration to measure the project's success. Those five community-led projects include:

  • Argay Terrace Transformation: This project seeks to transform the intersection of NE 131st and...
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Would monetary incentives encourage more people to buy e-bikes? 

Portland State University (PSU) researchers are examining how purchase incentive programs can expand the current e-bike market, and the latest product to come out of this research is a white paper released earlier this month: “Using E-Bike Purchase Incentive Programs to Expand the Market – North American Trends and Recommended Practices (PDF)

The paper offers methods of identifying the most effective program structure for the incentive provider's priorities, and helpful information on how to administer and track the program. 

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An Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) report, Resilient and Rapid Repair Measures for Seismically Vulnerable Bridges Following Major Earthquakes, introduces a rapid repair method for bridges in the event of a major earthquake.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake threatens bridges across the Pacific Northwest. Damage is expected to be geographically spread throughout the region and will have a nearly simultaneous impact on transportation through several important corridors. While bridge repair and replacement will ultimately be needed, an immediate priority will be resuming mobility. With that in mind, the project team developed a method for repairs to be implemented quickly.

The quick repair involves encasing a damaged bridge column in a steel jacket, which is then anchored to the foundation through replaceable ductile fuse hold-downs. In full-scale cyclic tests, the team applied this repair method to a damanged column and then subjected it to the cyclic loading it would encounter during a Cascadia Subduction Zone event. The experiments validated the design goal, resulting in restored or controlled strength while also exhibiting no additional damage.

The proof-of-concept experiments have shown the potential of this methodology to rapidly repair earthquake-damaged columns with a relatively...

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How could a free transportation class for people living in the Salt Lake City region strengthen community conversations and advocacy around local priorities in transportation policy? Researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and University of Utah (UU) explored that question by bringing a well-known learning model from Portland, Oregon to SLC.

For over 25 years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has partnered with PSU to offer the Portland Traffic and Transportation Course – a free 10-week course designed to provide local community members the skills and knowledge to participate in transportation decisions affecting their neighborhoods. This model has proven to be a success story in public agency-university partnership in community education. Building upon a 2015 project that documented the Portland course and developed a curriculum handbook, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) has provided more funding for a pilot community transportation class–the Wasatch Transportation Academy– in Salt Lake, City Utah. Their first class was held on January 24, 2022 (view class recordings here) and ran through...

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David Yang, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Portland State University, is the principal investigator on two newly-awarded research projects for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in support of its structural engineering programs.

"As the transportation infrastructure continues to age in an ever more uncertain future, it is essential to assess and manage infrastructure risk during the evaluation, maintenance, and rehabilitation processes. These two projects are dedicated to the development of such risk-informed approaches for existing culverts, bridges, and tunnels," Yang said.

In the first project, Framework and Methodology for Risk-Based Bridge and Tunnel Asset Management, an infrastructure team led by Yang with co-PIs Diane Moug, Arash Khosravifar, and Avinash Unnikrishnan will use a three-year grant from the Federal Highway Administration to develop a framework and a methodology for asset management of bridges and tunnels.

Bridges and tunnels need to address the daily transportation needs of the traveling public and provide capacity and emergency service before/during/after extreme events. States may achieve the best possible transportation network performance through a properly planned asset management strategy. This project aims to...

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Ten Portland State University students have been awarded National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) scholarships for the 2021/22 academic year. We're very proud to acknowledge their hard work and dedication. The NITC Scholarship program recognizes outstanding students working on transportation projects. Financial support for students helps to develop the workforce by directing talented individuals toward research and practice, raising the number and caliber of graduates in transportation. 

Meet the NITC Scholars of PSU:

Cameron Bennett, Master in Civil & Environmental Engineering

Cameron Bennett is a first-year masters student in transportation engineering. He was the recipient of a...

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Despite widespread use of walking as a transportation mode, walking has received far less attention than the motor vehicle in terms of national guidance and methods to support planning, designing, and operating safe, functional, and comfortable facilities. To address this gap, the TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program funded NCHRP Project 17-87: Enhancing Pedestrian Volume Estimation and Developing HCM Pedestrian Methodologies for Safe and Sustainable Communities. Led by Principal Investigator Paul Ryus, Kittelson & Associates partnered with Portland State University and the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina to lead research to update pedestrian analysis methodologies in the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM). 

The research team created the following new products, published in 2022 and free to download from the National Academies Press:

  • NCHRP Research Report 992: Guide to Pedestrian Analysis: Documents the state-of-the-practice for pedestrian volume counting, pedestrian safety analysis, and pedestrian operations analysis. A major portion of the research evaluated the effects of safety countermeasures at street crossings on pedestrian quality of service (QOS...
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