NITC researchers have created a design manual to aid traffic engineers, transportation planners, elected officials, businesses and community stakeholders in re-envisioning their streets.
 
Traditionally, road design in the U.S. has been based on the simple principle of moving as many cars as possible.
 
The ...
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The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) is teaming up with Alta Planning + Design to offer a firsthand, on-the-ground training opportunity at the end of October.

They will teach a trail design course at Portland State University, with field tours of some of Portland's biggest trail challenges and best solutions.

Course instructors are Alta associates Robin Wilcox, George Hudson, and Karen Vitkay. They will share their experience and provide examples from some of the best trails around the country.

Multi-use trails, not accessible by car but meant to be shared by pedestrians, cyclists and the occasional leashed dog, are pleasant routes by almost anyone’s standards. Often winding through wooded areas or along waterways, insulated from the noise of traffic and offering contact with nature, they present an attractive alternative to cyclists who are not as comfortable riding on busy streets.

While any segment of trail can offer a pleasant stroll, the true beauty of shared-use trails lies in being able to use them: as an alternate, off-street means of travel, a route to school or a way to get to work in the morning. A widespread switch from driving on streets to...

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In 2009, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the Copenhagen Wheel, a device that converts an ordinary bicycle into a hybrid e-bike.

An e-bike is considered a motorized bicycle under Massachusetts law. This means that once the 13-pound, 26-inch Copenhagen Wheel is attached to the rear wheel of a bicycle, the resulting vehicle requires a driver’s license to operate, must be registered with the DMV, and its rider must wear, not just a bike helmet, but a motorcycle helmet to be in compliance with the law.

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are well established in China and other Asian and European countries but market adoption has been slow in the United States.

Part of the reason could be that the law is often nebulous where e-bikes are concerned.

NITC researchers at Portland State University conducted a policy review revealing the current state of legislation regarding e-bikes in the United States and Canada.

The report, Regulations of E-Bikes in North America, provides a summary of legal definitions and requirements surrounding the use of electric-assist bicycles in each of the 50 states, Washington D.C. and 13 Canadian provinces.

No two jurisdictions are exactly alike in their legal treatment of this relatively new mode...

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Three Portland State University graduate students in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning used GIS technology to collect and analyze residents’ thoughts about walkability needs for Portland, Oregon’s northeast Cully neighborhood.

Their report, Engaging Cully, was the final product of a ten-week course called Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS), taught by PSU professor Vivek Shandas.

In PPGIS, community input is used to create GIS-based data and diagnostics maps which can inform planners’ decision-making process. Team members Travis Driessen, Brandi Campbell and Eduardo Montejo worked with community-based organizations and residents to assess the needs of the Cully neighborhood’s pedestrian network using PPGIS methods.

Prior to this project, Driessen, who is working toward a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems at PSU, was already collaborating with David Hampsten, a board member of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association and member of the East Portland Action Plan, to help Prioritize Portland! – a coalition consisting of multiple organizations including the Northeast Coalition...

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New research from NITC looks at Health Impact Assessment, or HIA, in transportation planning.

The leading causes of death in the United States are no longer communicable diseases. Instead, chronic conditions linked to behaviors and shaped by environments—such as obesity and diabetes—are today’s most pressing public health concerns.

HIA is a way of evaluating the effects that planning decisions will have on public health.

Researcher Nicole Iroz-Elardo studied this relatively new endeavor, analyzing and comparing three contemporary case studies in HIA.

She will share her findings in an IBPI webinar on July 16, 2014.

By engaging professionals from multiple disciplines, HIA can give planners a larger knowledge base to inform decisions. 

In a collaborative process that did not emerge in the U.S. until 1999, stakeholders and community members engage with public health professionals to identify and deliberate about health interests related to the proposed plan.

They generally focus on health equity, and use as a framework the social determinants of health: a broad range of factors developed...

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Several notable transportation projects have come out of Portland State University’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program this spring.

 

Each year, graduating students finish up their two-year program of study by forming into groups and carrying out a professional project. Clients work with Portland State University to identify planning needs that would be a good fit for the MURP program, and students choose projects based on their interests.

 

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OTREC researchers Krista Nordback and Sirisha Kothuri will present research at the North American Travel Monitoring Exposition and Conference (NATMEC) from June 29 to July 2, 2014.

The conference, organized by the Transportation Research Board, provides an opportunity for traffic monitoring professionals to share information about collecting and using traffic data.

Nordback will talk about what professionals can do to maintain bicycle count programs at the state level. She will give a presentation on the feasibility of using existing traffic signals to collect bicycle counts, and on what to do with that data once it is gathered.

Kothuri will present strategies for counting pedestrians using existing resources such as signal controllers and software already installed at intersections.

Nordback and Kothuri will draw from their own research as well as from the work of Miguel Figliozzi, Chris Monsere, Pam Johnson and...

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Portland State University’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program matches students with clients every year to execute professional-level planning projects.

 

This spring, InSite Planning Group, a team of six MURP students, conducted a detailed corridor study for the city of Beaverton.

 

The ...

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In a pilot study funded by the NITC Small Starts program, researchers explored whether drivers behave differently toward pedestrians waiting to use a crosswalk based on the pedestrian’s race. The study – the first examining the effects of race on pedestrian crossing experiences – found that black pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars and waited nearly a third longer to cross than white pedestrians.

Minorities are disproportionately represented among pedestrian fatalities in the United States. The Center for Disease Control reported in 2013 that in the first decade of this century, the fatality rates for black and Hispanic men were twice as high as they were for white men.

Researchers Kimberly Barsamian Kahn and Tara Goddard of Portland State University, and Arlie Adkins, of the University of Arizona, hypothesized that if minority pedestrians experience more delay at crosswalks, they might take greater risks when crossing – risks that could contribute to the disparate fatality rates.

Kahn, an assistant professor of social psychology, studies contemporary forms of racial bias that are hidden within society. Working with Goddard and Adkins, who were interested in the social equity impacts of transportation, Kahn put together a controlled field experiment to measure...

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OTREC research from Portland State University has developed a new method of travel demand modeling for pedestrian trips.

Transportation professionals use travel demand modeling to forecast how many people will be using a given portion of the transportation infrastructure. This is typically done using a four-step process, the first step of which relies upon a basic unit known as a transportation analysis zone, or TAZ.

A TAZ is a relatively coarse unit of space that can vary in size depending on planners’ needs; typically it encompasses somewhere around 3,000 residents.

Planners started using TAZs in the 1950s, on mainframe computers with limited capabilities, for guidance in making highway investment decisions. As transportation modeling practice has evolved, computers are capable of processing more data and models are being increasingly relied upon to answer more complex questions. 

Despite growing investment in infrastructure that supports active forms of travel, existing modeling tools often poorly represent the nuances of the pedestrian environment. The project’s principal investigator, Kelly Clifton of Portland State University, explores ways to improve upon the modeling tools currently in existence.

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