OTREC turned its education efforts on a decidedly younger crowd March 13: sixth graders. A class from Rochester, N.Y., visited Portland on a trip geared toward improving bicycling in their own community.

The students, from Genesee Community Charter School, visited the OTREC offices to learn about active transportation research methods. They took part in group exercises designed to get them thinking about the planning and engineering challenges of transportation systems set up to serve multiple transportation modes.

The highlight of the day came when the students took to Portland’s streets — OTREC’s living laboratory — to conduct research of their own. Armed with bicycle-counter tubes and infrared detectors, students counted cyclists and pedestrians passing on the Broadway cycle track on Portland State University’s campus.

Other students verified the technology with manual counters.

Students moved on to their next stop on a four-day tour of Portland with a better sense of what kind of data researchers collect and how they can use those data to inform policy. Given their experience — the students already have influenced their city on policy ranging from Erie Canal re-watering to an urban art corridor to skate parks — they stand a good chance of using Portland’s lessons to build a bike-friendly Rochester.

Tessa Walker, a Portland State University master's student in urban planning, has launched a national survey on skateboarding for transportation for her thesis resesarch. Walker sees skateboarding as a mostly unexplored corner of active transportation, with little information available to guide urban planners.

The study is open to people 18 and older in the U.S. and Canada who have skated as a way to get around within the last five years. Responses will be kept confidential and used for research purposes only.

To take the study or learn more, visit:

http://skatestudypdx.wordpress.com/

 

Streetcar_people_alphabet National Geographic recently described Portland as the City that “…gets almost everything right; it’s friendly, sustainable, accessible, and maybe a model for America’s future” (Cover story, Dec. 2009). Portland has a shared vision of a livable city, articulated in many different ways. It is seen in neighborhood self-help projects, big municipal investments, enlightened developers that build infill projects consistent with city plans, and the highest recycling participation rate in the country.  Taken together Portland is a city that is environmentally responsible, and conscious of both street level and of global impact of doing things right.

 


Early History

Arguably, Portland’s first act of ‘building green’ was in 1892, when it built a reservoir network to protect and preserve the sole source of its drinking water, the pristine . Today, this 102-square mile conservation zone provides ample fresh water to a region of half million people

Fast forward almost 100 years and the same ethic motivated Portlanders to reject a Robert Moses-style highway plan...

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DSC_0022 In the last of the livability seminar series, OTREC's visiting scholars program welcomed Shawn Turner from the Texas Transportation Institute. Shawn's research spans the gamut of intelligent transportation systems data to bicycle and pedestrian issues.  Most recently, Shawn participated in the International Scan on Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility.  His presentation compared his experiences on the scan in Europe to those in China.  During his presentation, he posed three challenges to Oregon:

  • How does active transportation contribute to economic development?
  • What is the tipping point for behavior and behavioral change?
  • Can vanity play a role in social acceptance?

His presentation was followed by a discussion with local agencies, faculty, students and partners along with a 10-mile tour of innovative bike infrastructure in Portland.  Thank goodness...

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Summary: Cycling is on the rise across the U.S. and its popularity has grown beyond the usual leaders - Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Davis, CA, Minneapolis, MN and Boulder, CO. New York City, NY Chicago, IL and Washington, DC are among those cities making significant investments in bike infrastructure in recent years and have realized substantial growth in people taking to the streets on two wheels. This presentation will summarize some results from our comprehensive assessment of the safety, operations, economic impacts, user experience, and perceptions of new protected bikeways in 5 cities U.S. cities (Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, D.C.). To support this research, the team collected and analyzed 204 hours of video, 2,300 returned surveys of residents, and 1,111 returned surveys from people intercepted riding the new facilities.

Bios: Dr. Christopher M. Monsere is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State University. Dr. Monsere’s primary research interests are in the areas of multimodal transportation safety; management and dissemination of large transportation datasets; and improvements in transportation...

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Summary: This session will describe the process and results of a NHTSA study that showed a change in driver culture of yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks on a citywide basis. The research won the Pat Waller award from the National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board in January of this year. The approach to changing road user behavior focused on an integrated approach that include Enforcement, Engineering, and Educational efforts that were designed to be dovetailed together and that included a social norming component. Additional information will be provided on engineering solutions that can facilitate changes in pedestrian level of service and safety.

Bio: Dr. Van Houten is a Professor of Psychology at Western Michigan University. He has worked in the area of pedestrian safety for thirty years. He is past chairman of the Transportation Research Board’s pedestrian committee and a member of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. He has published extensively in the area of pedestrian safety and recently received along with Dr. Louis Malenfant, Richard Blomberg and Dr. Brad Huitema the Waller Award from the Transportation Research Board for their paper on changing driving culture by increasing driver yielding right-of-way to pedestrians...

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A major aspect of transportation planning is understanding behavior: how to predict it and how to influence it over the long term. Transportation models typically emphasize policy variables such as travel time and cost. While clearly important, we hypothesize that other variables may be just as influential, namely, variables related to environmental consequences such as greenhouse gas emissions. This work is motivated by several factors. First, there is evidence from behavioral economics in non-transport domains that providing personalized information regarding environmental impact can significantly modify behavior. Second, applications to transport appear to have potential as many studies find that environmental consciousness influences transport behavior. Third, there are a growing number of transportation websites that are reporting environmental savings. Finally, smartphones provide the technological means to provide real-time, person-specific travel information regarding trip times, costs, and environmental impacts. Results from a computer laboratory experiment will be presented, which indicate that providing informing regarding environmental impacts significantly increases sustainable behaviors. Further, the experiments suggest a “value of green” of around 44-84 cents per pound of CO2 savings.

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