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...

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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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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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