Last month, Portland State University announced the 2021 awards for faculty and staff excellence for research, graduate mentoring and research administration. The awards are among the university's highest honors. The 2021 Presidential Career Research Award recipient is Jennifer Dill. Dill is a professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Director of the Transportation Research & Education Center at PSU, and Director of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, a national university transportation center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
TREC Communications Director Cait McCusker interviewed Dr. Dill last week to learn more about the origin and trajectory of her career in transportation research at PSU.
What led you to choose transportation research as your career?
Growing up in the 1970’s, I was surrounded by environmental issues. It was the time of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the EPA, Earth Day, pollution, the oil crisis...all of that shaping my view on the world. When I went to undergraduate at UC Davis I knew I wanted to do something related to environmental policy and cities. Cities held a certain fascination for me, and in college I started...Read more
This story is adapted from two sources; a story published by the Center for Transportation Studies and one from a 2007 Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) newsletter.
Transportation research and education has had a long, rich history at Portland State University. Looking back on that history, TREC is celebrating the achievements of an early advocate for transportation studies on the PSU campus: Dr. Walter H. Kramer.
PSU is a national leader in transportation studies and research, with TREC - the Transportation Research and Education Center - serving as the interdisciplinary hub connecting urban planning, civil engineering, and other disciplines to mobility. We take full advantage of our university's location in one of the most innovative transportation networks in the U.S. – Portland, Oregon. Since 2005 we have also led a collaborative, federally-funded UTC research program dedicated to improving the mobility of people and goods. But before TREC existed, transportation had another home at PSU: the Center for Transportation Studies, or CTS.
Dr. Kramer joined PSU...Read more
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is a department of the state government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for systems of transportation. It was first established in 1969 and has a passionate, talented, diverse workforce of almost 5,000. This story was originally shared in ODOT'S February 2021 Oregon Toll Program newsletter.
Francisco Ibarra, a Toll Program planning intern, is currently attending Portland State University for his Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree. Francisco is from East Portland and has lived in Gresham for most of his life. Francisco knows the importance of collaborative planning with community members.
As a research assistant to the Toll Program Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee [at ODOT], Francisco attends meetings, listens to questions, and follows up with researched answers. Recently, he completed research on air quality monitoring related to transportation and health. He is ready to provide help to support the Toll Program and committee in every way he can.
"This project is...
With the extension of the FAST Act, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) will be receiving one additional year of funding. NITC's Executive Committee has developed four new funding opportunities that build on the excellent work NITC researchers have accomplished and increase the impact we are having nationally on improving mobility to build stronger communities. With this funding, we aim to increase our efforts in integrating racial equity into transportation education and research. Given that our grant will be ending, these opportunities all emphasize projects that are relatively short in length, rely on existing expertise, and will have specific outputs and outcomes– rather than projects that would be the start of longer-term, multi-phase efforts.
We encourage faculty and researchers to review all of the opportunities available and decide which to pursue. Review the new NITC grant funding opportunities here.
We will host two webinars on May 17 and 25 (11 am to 12 pm PST) to discuss all of the opportunities and answer questions. Recordings will be available afterwards.
- Register for May 17: NITC 2021 Grant Opportunities (webinar #1)
- Register for May 25: ...
Congratulations to Avinash Unnikrishnan of Portland State University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for his 2021 promotion from associate professor to full professor!
Avi is a David Wedge Vision Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State University. Dr. Unnikrishnan's research focuses on enhancing system efficiency and resiliency via the development of novel mathematical models based on the application of large-scale optimization, machine learning, data mining, and simulation tools. His work's primary innovation is in the representation of network uncertainty, robustness, user behavior, and complex system interaction in civil infrastructure networks. Dr. Unnikrishnan is the chair of the Transit, Freight, and Logistics Subcommittee (AEP40(1)) of the Transportation Network Modeling Committee of the Transportation Research Board. He is also a member of the Freight and Logistics Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
With funding from ...Read more
See the full, original article "PSU Announces Recipients of Prestigious University Research and Mentoring Awards", authored by Shaun McGillis, Research and Graduate Studies, PSU. Below is an excerpt:
Portland State University announces the 2021 awards for excellence for research, graduate mentoring and research administration. The awards are among the university's highest honors. They recognize and incentivize PSU faculty and staff excellence in research, scholarship, artistry and dedication to PSU students.
Recipients of the awards are some of the most dynamic faculty and staff members at PSU. Colleagues submit nominations; a jury of peers selects awardees based on the significance and quality of their research or creative achievements and extraordinary commitment to creating an environment supportive of research and student success. Join us as we celebrate this year’s awardees at the Research Awards Ceremony (online Friday, 3:30 - 5 PM Pacific) during...Read more
Since 2013, local transportation activist group Better Block PDX has developed partnerships with organizations across the Portland Metro area. Most notable were the connections that emerged between the communities’ needs for creative transportation solutions and the expertise of Portland State University (PSU) transportation students.
That collaboration evolved into Better Block PSU, a pathway program led by PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Center that integrates tactical urbanism and placemaking into the engineering and planning curriculum at PSU. Most recently we shared an update on Re-Imagining a Safer Route to the César Chávez School, which advanced to the Spring 2021 engineering capstone.
We’re excited to announce the latest projects to have been accepted into the Better Block PSU pathway program:
- City of Independence Neighborhood Greenways: This project will help create a low-stress biking and walking network through Independence connecting local schools, businesses, and parks.
- Community Green Space for Parkrose: This project plans to create a pathway from the Parkrose neighborhood to the Columbia Slough to increase access to green space and community knowledge of the Slough.
- Arleta Triangle Transformation...
Jai Daniels is a first-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) student at Portland State University, currently working with PSU's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) as a Graduate Research Assistant under faculty advisor John MacArthur. She is interested in urban livability, bicycle and pedestrian planning, transit planning, and the intersection between urban planning and the environment.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in a small town in North Carolina, often referred to as 'Mayberry.' Living near the Blue Ridge Parkway and not having much to do, apart from spending time outside, largely influenced both my passion for environmental conservation and my desire to travel. This in turn influenced what I chose to study. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019 with a degree in environmental studies and minor in city and regional planning. Now, I live in Portland and am in my first year of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at Portland State University. Outside of school, I enjoy listening to podcasts, watching movies, taking film pictures, and hiking.
What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?
As an undergraduate student, I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, which sparked my...Read more
The modules, which can be taught in sequence or as standalone lessons, provide students with creative ways of observing transportation systems in their neighborhoods through collecting pedestrian data, critically evaluating accessibility, and learning about livable communities. Students will gain a deeper understanding of how people move through their community, and whether the transportation in their community is designed with the needs of all people in mind.
This curriculum was originally developed for the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) - a STEM-focused transportation summer camp for high school students. In 2020, when the camps were converted to a virtual format for the first time, new tools had to be developed for student engagement and learning. These walkability modules were completed during the virtual camps, but are not dependent on a...Read more
In June 2019, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) launched a new incentive package aimed at making transportation more accessible for low-income households. In the "Transportation Wallet for Residents of Affordable Housing" pilot program, people living in affordable housing developments received access to free transportation options like transit passes, bike or scooter share memberships, rideshare and carshare credits.
Portland State University researchers evaluated the pilot program to find out how participants used the Transportation Wallet and how it helped them use different transport modes to get around.
A February 2021 paper in Transportation Research Record by Huijun Tan, Nathan McNeil, John MacArthur and Kelly Rodgers presents insights into the implementation and effectiveness of a transportation financial incentive program for low-income populations. Access the paper: "Evaluation of a Transportation Incentive Program for Affordable Housing Residents."
Main findings include:
- The financial support of this program encouraged some participants to use new mobility services (including Uber/Lyft, bike share, and e-scooter) that they had never used before.
- The program increased access for participants, helping them make more trips and, for some, get to places they otherwise could not have gone.
- Transportation fairs, where...