Class group photo

For the third year in a row, it was our pleasure to host the Oregon Summer Transportation Institute (OSTI) at Portland State University (PSU), a free two-week residential camp open to high school girls. This past July, our camp,  introduced twenty-three Oregonians to the transportation profession. The end goal? Our hope is to build an awareness in young women of transportation careers and inspire them to pursue areas of STEM study not traditionally open to them.

Made possible with support from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), this free camp was led by Lisa Patterson, the Technology Transfer and Workforce Development Program Manager for PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC). The camp featured guest lectures by local professional women from ODOT, PSU, TREC, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), , TriMet, moovel, Roosevelt High School, eBay, Multnomah County, Toole Design Group, Alta Planning + Design, DKS Associates, Jarrett Walker + Associates, and Nelson\Nygaard. See photos from this year’s camp.

Students worked in groups on their “two week projects” to analyze and propose solutions for five...

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Stock image of bicycles

The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) program has released its 2018 Small Starts request for proposals (RFP). Faculty at NITC's partner universities* are invited to submit abstracts by September 17, 2018.

The Small Starts grant assists researchers (based at NITC partner universities) who are interested in transportation but have not had an opportunity to undertake a small project ($20,000 or less). Read about the Small Starts projects that were funded in 2017. Projects must be consistent with NITC's theme of improving the mobility of people and goods to build strong communities.

Our theme includes a few key topics:

  • Increasing access to opportunities
  • Improving multi-modal planning and shared use of infrastructure
  • Advancing innovation and smart cities
  • Developing data, models, and tools

Key Dates

  • RFP Opens: July 18, 2018
  • Proposals due: September 17, 2018
  • Award Selection: Sept-Oct 2018
  • Projects begin & funds become available: December...
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Biketown Station

This article was authored by Kurt Bedell of Portland State University Media and Public Relations, and cross-posted from Portland State University News.

Portland State University students may now ride Portland’s iconic bright orange BIKETOWN bikes for free.

Thanks to a new agreement between PSU and BIKETOWN, Portland’s bike share program, current Portland State students may now ride any available BIKETOWN bike up to 90-minutes per day at no cost by signing up for a student membership online.

BIKETOWN is Portland’s city-owned bike share program, which provides 1,000 shared bikes at over 100 stations across downtown and several neighborhoods. The PSU campus is now considered a Super Hub Zone, which means that BIKETOWN bikes may be parked in any public bike rack on the PSU campus without penalty. Previously BIKETOWN bikes could only be parked and locked in BIKETOWN stations and other designated areas or riders would incur a $2 penalty.

“Portland State is already among the top five most bicycle-friendly colleges and universities in the nation,” said Clint Culpepper, PSU’s transportation options manager. “With eligible free BIKETOWN rides...

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A blindfolded woman navigates a wheelchair up a ramp

On Sunday, July 1, blindfolded Portland State University (PSU) students were seated in wheelchairs, struggling not to drop their long white canes while using both hands to roll between obstacles. Taking turns under simulated low-vision and mobility conditions, they attempted to follow the spoken instructions of orientation and mobility instructor Scott Crawford. Many of these PSU students hope to one day have a job like his.

Crawford has over 27 years teaching experience working with Blind and Low Vision individuals. He travels around the United States giving hands-on lessons in orientation and mobility, and PSU Assistant Professor Amy Parker was excited to host him as a guest lecturer at TriMet's indoor Transit Mobility Center in Northwest Portland. In addition to teaching, Parker is the coordinator of PSU’s new Orientation and Mobility Program under the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and her students are learning to be O&M specialists. Unaccustomed to navigating in wheelchairs, much less blindfolds, the students learned invaluable lessons as they fumbled, took wrong turns and bumped into guard rails. See photos from the event.

This workshop is just the latest in a...

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Image of a street with cars

The National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research consortium, led by Portland State University, has awarded $926,000 in total funding for eleven research projects spanning five universities.

The General Research grant is NITC's flagship grant. Annually, we fund general research through a competitive, peer-reviewed RFP process for projects ($30,000 - $150,000) consistent with our theme of improving the mobility of people and goods to build strong communities.

Four of these new projects involve multi-university collaboration, and seven are advancing the transportation knowledge base by building upon an existing body of research. The new group of projects will help lead the deployment of innovative new technologies and practices to improve the safety and performance of transportation systems:

Led by Liming Wang of Portland State University with co-investigator Yao-Jan Wu of the University of Arizona
This multi-university collaboration expands upon previous research by Liming Wang, Incorporate Emerging...
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Students in reflective jackets with clipboards standing near a sidewalk
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Dill, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the Curriculum Module and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

We’ve got a new curriculum guidebook for undergraduate and graduate students in transportation: a comprehensive set of class exercises to learn pedestrian observation and data collection strategies.

Addressing the challenges of an evolving transportation industry means embracing the study of non-motorized travel and preparing the new workforce for it. Funded by our university research consortium National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), this guidebook was designed to enable instructors with little or no experience to integrate pedestrian-related curriculum into their teaching. While accessibility is a key feature, the guidebook combines both new and existing resources into one comprehensive set of learning modules for more experienced instructors. 

These pedestrian observation strategies not only benefit university faculty and their students, but they can also serve local agencies. Jurisdictions are often...

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Kelly Clifton and student - presenting research at TRB Annual Meeting
Principal Investigator: Kelly Clifton, Portland State University
Research spans multiple studies and years of work.
This content was originally published in the June 2018 edition of the  U.S. DOT UTC Spotlight series (PDF).

University Transportation Center (UTC) Spotlight

In recent decades, cities have become increasingly motivated to invest in infrastructure that supports multimodal options like walking, biking and public transit. Trip generation, the first step in conventional four-step forecasting models, is a central figure in determining how those investments are made.

However, when considering pedestrian and bicycling travel, the current practice is usually to either leave those trips out of the model altogether, or to simply present them as a mode choice option that is not analyzed further. In short, they’re car-centric.

Without reliable trip generation rates for anyone but drivers, an accurate transportation impact is difficult to predict. Certain land uses will draw far more walkers, cyclists and transit riders than drivers. Cities lack enough information to strategically plan for multimodal...

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Cyclists riding toward a green bike signal
Principal Investigator: Sirisha Kothuri, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the Executive Summaries, related presentations, and the full Final Report on each Project Overview page.

Sirisha Kothuri, a Portland State University research associate, has recently completed two distinct studies taking different approaches to advancing bicycle safety. Kothuri will lead a Sept. 13 workshop on Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Signal Timing Strategies along with Peter Koonce, the division manager of Signals & Street Lighting for the City of Portland. The half-day workshop will be part of Transportation and Communities 2018, a two-day intensive training event for transportation professionals.

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Principal Investigator: John MacArthur, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing related publications on the Project Overview page.

Quickly regaining use of a city's transportation system after a major disaster is critical to relief efforts. To help cities recover from emergency situations, TREC is working to develop a transportation recovery plan that includes transit, travel demand management (TDM), social media, and intelligent technologies.

The plan is supported by a research grant awarded to Portland State University by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), as part of its Innovative Safety, Resiliency, and All Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstration program. The project, led by TREC...

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