In March 2007 OTRECís four partner universitiesóPSU, UO, OSU and OITóall part of the Oregon University System, signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) committing the four institutions to a collaborative partnership as a National University Transportation Center. Each universityís Vice President for Research (or equivalent) has been active in encouraging the partnership and working closely with one another to make certain that OTREC is successful. The MOU reflects the collaborative nature of OTREC. Not only is the MOU a national model for statewide transportation research collaboration, but it provides a model for future collaboration between the state Universities.
Professor Joseph Sussman, JR East Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was the CTS seminar guest speaker and OTREC Visiting Scholar on March 9, 2007. Dr. Sussman has been instrumental in developing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the US, and is the author of several books on the subject. Dr. Sussman met with engineering faculty to discuss OpenCourseWare, MIT's large-scale, web-based publication of course materials, and trends in civil engineering education. The PSU Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP) Group hosted an interactive discussion with Professor Sussman which was followed by his seminar, Where Transportation in Going: Transportation in the CLIOS System Era. CLIOS is short for "Complex, Large-Scale, Interconnected, Open, Socio-technical Systems," and his presentation illustrated how complex transportation issues can be. After the seminar, ITS Oregon hosted a lunch in the ITS Lab for Dr. Sussman, ITS Oregon members, faculty and students.
In early March, six PSU students in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning and Masters of Civil and Environmental Engineering programs attended the TransNow Student Conference in Boise, Idaho. The conference was hosted by students at the University of Idaho. Students gave presentations of completed or current work, listened to presentations by the Idaho Department of Transportation, Washington Department of Transportation, and ITS America. There was also time to get to know the approximately 20 other students who attended. Portland State University students would like to commend the University of Idaho on a great job in planning the conference. Participating students were Delia Chi, Ujwalkiran Dharnikota, Laurie Miskimins, Nicole Prehoda, Sandeep Puppala and Benjamin Zielke.
As part of the effort to streamline contracting procedures and encourage cross-campus collaboration, OTREC staff and PSU research and business office representatives made the rainy drive (and some snow!) to Eugene, OR in February for a meeting with UO faculty and administration. Director Robert Bertini gave an OTREC overview and Hau Hagedorn described OTRECís proposal process. A good spirit of collaboration, along with questions and discussion helped OTREC and university staff better understand each otherís grant processes and timelines. OTREC thanks UO for their hospitality.
In February, OTREC and PSU staff travelled to Corvallis, OR to meet with OSU faculty and administration. Alan Kolibaba, Tina Frost and Bill Helsley from ORSP, Wanda Packard and Anisa Chisti from Research Accounting, and Robert Bertini, Hau Hagedorn and Jenny Kincaid from OTREC, along with UO representatives, shared processes and timelines, and discussed ways to work effectively together. OTREC thanks OSU for their hospitality.
Donald Shoup, Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA, was a guest speaker and OTREC Visiting Scholar in February 2007. During his visit to Portland, Professor Shoup spoke to 130 members of the Lloyd District Transportation Management Association (TMA), and was the speaker at a WTS breakfast round table. Shoupís presentation at the CTS Seminar, “The High Cost of Free Parking,” drew interested questions and comments from the audience. Shoup presented his thoughts on parking issues in our country, showing aerial photos of gigantic parking lots that do little to enhance communities, giving examples of on-street/off-street parking discrepancies in northwest Portland and explaining how ìfreeî parking is not really free to anyone, including businesses, consumers and drivers. He noted that planning requirements for minimum parking can be arbitrary and contrary to the best urban design practices, and showed how smart parking pricing can benefit communities and those of us trying to find a parking spot.
Oregon was well-represented at the Transportation Research Boardís 86th Annual Meeting in January 2007. Faculty participated and presented research in numerous poster sessions and workshops and served as presiding officers for various sessions, committees and subcommittees. Many students also attended and presented research work in poster sessions; seven students were partially sponsored by the OTREC education program. OTREC staff attended the annual meeting of the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) where Director Robert Bertini presented Improving Collaboration in the Northwest. The OTREC Student of the Year, Max Coffman, was recognized at the CUTC banquet. In addition, OTREC hosted its own reception at the beginning of the conference week. A list of OTREC faculty and student participation can be found here: TRB 2007
The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) is pleased to announce the selection of its first Student of the Year, Max Coffman, who is a graduate research assistant in the ITS Lab. This national award was presented as part of the annual Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) Banquet at the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in January 2007. For the past 15 years, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has honored an outstanding student from each University Transportation Center (UTC) at this special ceremony. Each student receives $1,000 plus the cost of attendance at TRB from his/her Center, and a certificate from USDOT. Criteria for this graduate student award include technical merit and research accomplishments, academic performance, professionalism and leadership. Shown (left to right) are OTREC Director Robert Bertini, Max Coffman, and former Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta.
Prof. Robert Bertini has joined the Transportation Northwest (TransNow) Advisory Committee, effective January 2007. TransNow is the Region X University Transportation Center, established in 1988 as one of the original 10 regional UTCs administered by the USDOT. Bertini has served as a PI on several past TransNow projects, has provided peer reviews on previous TransNow proposals and final reports, and also works with TransNow as a partner in the Northwest University Transportation Consortium.
Proposals for 2006-2007 transportation research, education and technology transfer projects were due on January 12, 2007. OTREC received 54 proposals with a total request of $2.6M. There were 38 unique proposers, 30 proposals with multiple PIs, and 10 were multi-campus. The diversity of the proposals displays impressive breadth of discipline and demonstrates great collaboration between universities and with external partners. As governed by the OTREC Strategic Plan, all proposals will be peer reviewed by at least three expert reviewers, including one federal representative. Awards will be announced in the spring.