Bikes near transit
Photo by Cait McCusker
Chris Cherry and Candace Brakewood, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
John MacArthur, Portland State University

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has changed the way most of the world moves through daily life, with many businesses having to temporarily close and students of all levels forced to transition to online courses.

Even so, grocery stores, medical facilities, and takeout restaurants remain open, requiring workers to commute to and from work. In metro areas, that can often mean taking some form of transit, potentially exposing workers in these vital areas to the disease. 

In a collaborative project between University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Portland State University, researchers Chris Cherry (UT), Candace Brakewood (UT) and John MacArthur (PSU) are studying the impacts of people’s travel decisions on transit, shared bikes and e-scooters, and it comes with backing from a National Science Foundation RAPID Award

These awards are granted for research with "a severe...

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In 2018, Vision Zero was adopted as part of Portland’s Regional Transportation Plan for the first time. This content analysis explored how concerns about safety were expressed in the planning process—did they adhere to a Vision Zero perspective or did they express a conventional mobility paradigm? What were the top concerns? Furthermore, did different stakeholder groups subscribe to Vision Zero more than others? Kelly Rodgers, a PhD student in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, explores paradigm conflicts around implementing vision zero in Portland.

Watch the interview with Kelly.

Kelly Rodgers is a PhD student in Urban Studies who is studying the use and influence of health indicators in transportation decision-making. She has been twice awarded the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship and twice named a NITC Student Scholar. Kelly is also the Executive Director of Streetsmart, a non-profit organization developing an evidence-based platform that helps civic leaders integrate health, climate, and equity concerns into transportation. Kelly is the vice-chair of the Institute of Transportation Engineers' Health and Transportation Standing Committee, a member of the Transportation Research Board's...

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Cyclist stands next to the Hawthorne Bridge Bicycle Counter

Authored by Tammy Lee, Transportation Data Manager, Portland State University

For a deeper dive into bicycle volume data, watch the May 8 seminar with Tammy Lee and Kristin Tufte: Creating And Using A Publicly Available Multimodal Transportation Data Archive. Also, check out her earlier blog post on motor vehicle traffic volumes.

The weather these past few weeks has been beautiful: sunny, not too hot, not too cold, cherry trees blossoming… the ideal biking weather marred by a less than ideal pandemic.

Are social distancing measures affecting bike trips in Portland, OR? Maybe. Personally? Yes.

First, let’s get a few things out of the way before we provide summary observations:

  • Analyzing bike data is not as “easy” as evaluating vehicle traffic data: the infrastructure for monitoring bike (and pedestrian) data isn’t anywhere close to how vehicle traffic is monitored. There just aren’t many bicycle count detectors. So if one detector stops working then what little data that was available in the first place became that much littler.

  • ...
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Image by Luije/iStock

Authored by Aaron Golub Director and Associate Professor, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. Join Aaron and John MacArthur on May 22nd for a PSU Friday Transportation Seminar sharing early results from the research presented here.

With many transit agencies across the country1 eliminating cash handling at ticket counters and on-board vehicles for obvious health and virus transmission reasons, one may wonder: who will be negatively impacted by this? 

Some riders can still use cash at ticket vending machines or at certain retail outlets, but for many, depending on where they live and which parts of the transit system they ride, this will be inconvenient. National data2 show clear disparities3 in access to alternatives to cash (credit and debit accounts) as well as the other tools needed to pay for things electronically (smartphones, cell data plans and internet at home and work). What these national data don't capture are the specific issues...

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Cars on the freeway
Authored by Tammy Lee, Transportation Data Manager, Portland State University

For a deeper dive into vehicle volume data, attend the May 8 online seminar with Tammy Lee and Kristin Tufte: Creating And Using A Publicly Available Multimodal Transportation Data Archive. At this seminar, the presenters will offer an updated data analysis that reflects the latest vehicles volumes.

Ask most Portland drivers and they’ll tell you that traffic has gotten worse over the past 10 years. And data from the Oregon Department of Transportation supports that feeling.  

But for now, temporarily at least, all that is in the past.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Oregon was February 28; a little over a month after the first positive test in the US. Since that week, many have noticed differences in traffic on our streets. An analysis of data from PORTAL - our multi-modal transportation data archive for the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region - reflects that drop in traffic. 

A number of articles have been published describing the effects of social distancing policies in...

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A laptop, a cup of coffee, and a couch with a dog named Tomato in the background

Transportation professionals and educators are navigating new territory as they move their work online. People all over the world are sharing resources, inspiration and expertise in our new remote learning environment. With that in mind, we've put together this resource page (updates ongoing) to support transportation faculty in adapting their courses, and to inform our community on navigating the impacts of COVID-19 on transportation.

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TEACHING TRANSPORTATION ONLINE: UNIVERSITY RESOURCES

Seminars and Webinars for Online Learning

We've put together a list of some of our most useful recorded transportation seminars for online learning (Google doc) on a variety of topics related to engineering, planning, and active transportation. PSU's Office of Academic Innovation offers this resource on teaching remotely during COVID-19.

Navigating the Sudden Shift to Remote Teaching

Faculty are getting creative with teaching planning and engineering concepts while infrastructure and normal mobility behavior is in flux. Do you have an anecdote...

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A woman crosses the street at acrosswalk, with traffic calming speed bumps for cars leading up to the crosswalk
Photo by Cait McCusker
Jennifer Dill (PI), Chris Monsere, and Nathan McNeil; Portland State University
  • Shape the Active Transportation Roadmap: The project team will begin gathering input from transportation professionals in the coming months. Add your email address if you would like to be contacted.

Amid the explosion of active transportation literature over the last thirty years, practitioners struggle to effectively synthesize and use that research in their everyday practice. The interdisciplinary scope is vast: engineering, health and medicine, planning and design, psychology, public administration and policy, and many more. The search tools to find the sprawl of active transportation research on any one topic are inadequate, particularly for the average user. Meanwhile, there are still gaps in our knowledge about active...

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E-bikes

MOBILITY BY E-BIKE STUDY

Share your trips with transportation researchers to grow knowledge about e-bike mobility and sustainability.

We're seeking e-bike users from all over the U.S. to join a new research project led by John MacArthur of Portland State University and Chris Cherry of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They're looking at the sustainability effects of e-bikes and utilitarian travel behavior of e-bike users, including origin, destination, route, time, speed, mode replacement, and trip purpose. Passively share your trips with us - just plug in a dongle, download our app, and ride like you normally do. The study is open to U.S.-based participants who ride an e-bike with a Bosch onboard computer, and use an iPhone.

Questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions. To learn more and participate, visit the Mobility By E-Bike Study project website.

HOW DOES THE STUDY WORK?

1) Instrumentation

Researchers developed a low-impact instrumentation platform that leverages and merges the unique capabilities of e-bike and smartphone sensors. This technology relies on communication between the e-bike and...

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Gabby Abou-Zeid is pursuing her M.S. at Portland State University and working with Dr. Kelly Clifton's SUPER (Sustainable Urban Planning & Engineering Research) Lab. Her research has focused on walkability and pedestrian travel as well as intersections between transportation and land use. Walkable urban design is critcal for resilient cities. Research questions include: How often, and for what trip purposes, are Tucsonans walking as a transportation mode? Which built environment features promote walkability according to both Tucson residents and existing literature? Do the built environment characteristics identified actually impact travel behavior? In Tucson, walkable urban design could benefit or improve public health, pedestrian safety, thermal comfort, local economies, and social capital in addition to helping to reduce the city's carbon footprint.

Watch the interview with Gabby.

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