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...
Using E-Bike Purchase Incentive Programs to Expand the Market – a new white paper from Portland State University
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.
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...Read more
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...Read more
Two New Portland State University Projects will Support Engineering Resilient Infrastructure for FHWA
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...Read more
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
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...
The Better Block PSU program at Portland State University (PSU) has opened the annual call for community organizations to reimagine their streets and underused public spaces in a way to bring people together and reclaim it for their community’s future.
A partnership between the public spaces advocacy nonprofit Better Block PDX and the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at PSU, students in the Better Block PSU program have developed plans and designs for many community-driven projects that promote equitable placemaking, community building, and active transportation–including the well-known Better Naito project. What began as a PSU student-led initiative for safer and higher capacity bicycle and pedestrian facilities along the Waterfront Park, has gained so much public support that it was permanently implemented by the City of Portland.
Integrated into PSU planning and engineering...Read more
We are proud to recognize three new transportation scholarship recipients at Portland State University for the 2021/22 academic year. Congratulations to Cameron Bennett, Kyuri Kim, and Trevor Luu!
With an emphasis on learning by doing, PSU students work on real transportation system projects with partners in our community. Through scholarships, we can support students in overcoming barriers to funding as well as acknowledging those who go above and beyond in advancing transportation. Applications are currently open for next year's transportation scholarships. Apply by March 2.
Funding for our TREC scholarships come from a variety of key partners. Several of those scholarships are specifically earmarked from our Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) program. Learn more about funding opportunities at PSU.
Cameron Bennett, Master of Science in Civil Engineering
Recipient of the Walter H. Kramer Fellowship
The Spring term at Portland State University starts March 28, 2022, and registration opens March 7 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.
See PSU’s COVID-19 Student Resources for the latest information regarding the return to campus and PSU's ongoing response to the pandemic.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Non-degree or non-...Read more