Portland State University today achieved the highest ranking from the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly University program. Portland State is now one of just five platinum universities recognized under the program.

Other NITC program campuses were also designated as bike friendly. University of Oregon achieved gold status and University of Utah, silver.

The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates applicants’ efforts to promote bicycling in five primary areas: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and evaluation/planning, known as the Five E's.

The league noted that Portland State’s support for bicycling has helped reduce congestion, improve air quality and lower the demand for parking on campus. “Portland State encourages bicycling as an affordable, efficient option for transportation and provides amenities such as indoor bicycle parking, low-cost bicycle rentals, and an on-campus Bike Hub, where students can find everything they need to make bicycling a part of their commute options,” the league stated.

PSU previously was a gold-level bike-friendly university. In the past two years it expanded its “Vik Bike” bicycle rental program from 12 bicycles to 134. Each bike comes with lights, a lock and a helmet. The program, in which students can rent a bike for a term, receive training on bike commuting and bike maintenance, has a waiting list of participants.

During the...

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Comprehensive Bikeway Design 1.0, a popular summer workshop offered by the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), wrapped up to a successful conclusion last week.

Hau Hagedorn, director of the IBPI, has seen the annual workshop grow into a one-of-a-kind training opportunity for bicycle and pedestrian professionals.

“The course is comprehensive. It isn't just about bikeway design. It's about everything a city can do to become more bike-friendly, including policies that support cycling and land uses that encourage active transportation,” Hagedorn said.

With 10 participants from six states, this year’s workshop helped further the IBPI’s goal of expanding America’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to encourage healthier, more sustainable forms of transportation. The participants came from a diversity of disciplines including community and bicycle planning, academic research and political leadership, and traveled from as far away as Pennsylvania to visit Portland’s bicycle culture.

“I think it reaffirms that this is a unique opportunity, for people to come and see what has been done in Portland. This didn't happen overnight. It gives a good idea of what can be done in other places,” Hagedorn said.

The five-day instructional course began on Sunday, July 26, with a tour of...

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A project led by Portland State University researchers Chris Monsere and Miguel Figliozzi has been nationally recognized as one of sixteen high value research projects by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Each year at its annual meeting, AASHTO's Research Advisory Committee selects four projects from each of its four regions to form a "Sweet Sixteen" group of important and influential projects.

The project, “Operational Guidance for Bicycle-Specific Traffic Signals,” reviewed the current state of practice for bicycle signals and evaluated cyclist performance characteristics at intersections. The research has been used to inform an FHWA Interim Approval for bicycle signals.

Bike signals are beginning to be common in major cities throughout the U.S., with some engineering guidance available from the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the...

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When Portland State University student Marisa DeMull signed up for the summer 2014 study abroad course in the Netherlands, she wasn't necessarily looking for a new major. A civil engineering student, DeMull thought the summer program just sounded like a great way to get course credit.

DeMull learned that she could get six credits for the two-week program and applied immediately, a week from the deadline.

“I tried spreading the word. It’s the best program, and so few people really know about it, which is unfortunate,” DeMull said.

After two weeks in Delft and a series of lectures, bike tours, and eye-opening conversations, the PSU senior returned home to Portland State and declared a change in her program of study: she would now focus on transportation, a sub-field within civil engineering.

"Until this trip, I didn't really know that was a career choice," DeMull said. "I love riding bikes, but to design bike routes for a living? I met all these engineers who are completely devoted to bicycles, who just live and breathe it."

Practitioners give daily lectures to the students in the course, and...

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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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An OTREC report from Oregon State University looked at various center median and bicycle lane configurations, and how they affect traffic at road access points.

In the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) publication A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, commonly known as the Green Book, access points include the intersections of public roads as well as driveway locations. In the Green Book, most of the supporting research for the spacing of driveways is based on standard highway design procedures. They include simple human factors and geometric principles, and have not been thoroughly evaluated based on a variety of road cross section configurations.

Principal investigator Karen Dixon of Oregon State University sought to close this research gap by evaluating the influences of select cross-sectional-related design elements, specifically median configurations and bicycle lanes, on driveways.

Dixon's research team evaluated eight physical sites and four simulated scenarios with different driveway spacing and roadway cross section designs. The primary research goal was...

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The executive committee of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, program has selected a third round of research, education, and technology transfer projects for funding. This grant is part of the University Transportation Center (UTC) program funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Research and Technology, and is a partnership between Portland State University, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology, and the University of Utah. The committee chose eight projects, totaling $800,000, under the NITC theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation to foster livable communities. 
 
The projects are national in scope and support innovations in priority areas including public transit and active transportation. 
 
Projects selected include:
  • An analysis of the effects of commuter rail on population deconcentration.
  • A look into prioritizing pedestrians at signalized intersections.
  • A study of cyclist-vehicle interaction.
  • An evaluation of an eco-driving intervention.
The eight projects were chosen from among 20 proposals with...
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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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Five teams of Portland State University seniors worked on projects in the transportation arena, as the final outcome of their Capstone course.
The transportation Capstone projects were completed under the advisement of Dr. Robert Bertini, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Portland State University and OTREC’s founding director.
Senior Capstone projects in engineering are about more than just technical aspects of design. They are an opportunity for students to meet with clients and consult with professionals, to develop the communication and collaboration skills which will be necessary in future careers.
John Edwards, a student team leader, described the project as a great opportunity. “We learned a great deal about project management and communication in working with professionals,” Edwards said.
In each project, students met with clients under the guidance of faculty to come up with solutions to problems that the clients were facing.

A group led by Krista Hager worked on a concept design for bicycle parking at the Goose Hollow eastbound MAX Station in southwest Portland, Ore.

The existing grade conditions and the...
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A research study released Monday by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program offers the most comprehensive evaluation of protected bicycle lanes to date. The study, “Lessons from the Green Lanes: Evaluating Protected Bike Lanes in the U.S.,” examines recently installed protected bike lanes in five of the six founding PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project cities and provides the scientific basis for decisions that could improve bicycling in cities across the United States.

Protected bike lanes, sometimes called cycle tracks, are on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts to help organize the street and make riding a bike appealing for people of all ages and abilities. Because protected bike lanes are relatively new to the U.S., little academic research has existed to help leaders evaluate the risks and rewards of the investment in putting the facilities on the ground.

This study provides definitive evidence that people feel safe riding in protected lanes and that people traveling by car or foot also support building more protected lanes to separate bicycles and automobiles. It also provides insight on the...

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