On Sunday, July 1, a group of blindfolded Portland State University 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 valuable lessons as they fumbled, took wrong turns and bumped into guard rails. See photos from the event.
This workshop is just the latest in...Read more
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:
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...Read more
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...Read more
Addressing Bicycle-Vehicle Conflicts with Alternate Signal Control Strategies -and-
Improving Bicycle Crash Prediction for Urban Road Segments
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.... Read more
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...Read more
If more drivers switched seats to a bicycle, there would be immediate and tangible benefits on the road. Widespread adoption of bike commuting could improve public health through increased physical activity and reduced carbon emissions, as well as ease the burden on congested roads. However different lifestyle demands, physical ableness, and varied topography create an unequal playing field that prevents many from replacing their car trips.
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) are a relatively new mode of transportation that could bridge this gap. If substituted for car use, e-bikes could substantially improve efficiency in the transportation system while creating a more inclusive biking culture for people of all ages and abilities.
A newly published NITC study by John MacArthur of...Read more
Last month, the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) hosted a free one-day workshop at Portland State University (PSU) teaching spatial mapping and GIS software to high school girls.
This is the third year that the workshop has been offered in partnership with ChickTech, a nonprofit founded in 2012 to engage women of all ages in the technology industry.
Lisa Patterson, TREC's Workforce Development Program Manager, coordinated the event, which was attended by 16 students. She brought with her eleven volunteer instructors, including PSU students as well as professionals from ChickTech, Angelo Planning, the PSU Bike Hub, and the City of Vancouver, Washington. Her goal was to give the students a unique educational experience with the dedicated attention from so many seasoned instructors.Read more
At the National Bike Summit, U. S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced the publication of the Federal Highway Administration’s new resource on Measuring Multimodal Network Connectivity. The guidebook focuses on pedestrian and bicycle network connectivity and provides information on incorporating connectivity measures into state, metropolitan, and local transportation planning processes. Alta, in partnership with ...Read more
Four Portland State University graduate students received Eisenhower Fellowships presented by the U.S. Department of Transportation at this year's annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB): David R. Soto Padín, Travis Glick, Gregory Norton and Jael Wettach-Glosser are all civil engineering students in the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State University.
David Soto Padín, current President of Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP) at PSU, presented his research in a poster, "Bikeshare + Transit Integration: Best Practices for Increasing Ridership (PDF)," during TRB's Eisenhower Fellowship poster session. He will be working on researching bike share as a "last mile" mode choice for rail rapid transit in the American context. He also presented research on bicyclist positioning behavior at signalized...Read more