A new NITC report offers a multimodal framework for transportation impact analysis – a welcome tool for professionals in many cities seeking more detailed data about non-drivers.

Improving Trip Generation Methods for Livable Communities, a research project headed by Kelly Clifton of Portland State University and Nico Larco of the University of Oregon, is the latest effort in an ongoing collaboration to create more open sourced, widely available data about non-motorized road users.

Over the last decades, cities have become more invested in fostering the conditions to support walking, biking and public transit.

The land development process presents a unique challenge.

Prior to a zoning change or new development, someone has to determine what its impact on the transportation system will be, and whether upgrades will be necessary to accommodate travelers to the new destination. Trip generation is the first step in the conventional transportation forecasting process.

Current trip generation methods used by engineers across the country tend to focus on motorized modes.

Without reliable trip generation rates for anyone but drivers, the transportation impact is difficult to predict. Certain land uses will draw far more walkers,...

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A new NITC report introduces an important tool for safety analysis: a naturalistic method of data collection that can be used to improve the cycling experience.

Before now, most naturalistic studies (studies where data are collected in a natural setting, rather than a controlled setting) in bicycle safety research have been captured by stationary cameras and haven't followed cyclists along a route.

Researchers in this study used first-person video and sensor data to measure cyclists' reactions to specific situations.

Safety research in general has advanced significantly through naturalistic driving studies, which gather data from real drivers to illuminate the causes of traffic incidents both major and minor. For motorized vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been developing portable, vehicle-based data collection technologies since the early 1990s.

Portland State University researchers Feng Liu, Miguel Figliozzi and Wu-chi Feng sought to capture the cycling experience with physiological sensors and helmet-mounted cameras.

Their report, Utilizing Ego-centric Video to Conduct Naturalistic Bicycling Studies, offers a successful method for integrating video and sensor data to record cyclists...

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In the spring of 2015, with guidance provided by the NITC program, students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York created a pedestrian and bicycle plan for the City of Canandaigua, New York.

As part of their Sustainable Community Development capstone course, the students in environmental studies provided plans for a mixed use district along Route 332 in Canandaigua.

Course instructor Jim Ochterski credits PSU researcher Lynn Weigand’s NITC education project, Enhancing Bicycle and Pedestrian Education through Curriculum and Faculty Development, with providing essential resources for the course.

“Most of the students did not have any grounding in pedestrian planning and development, and [the NITC materials] made a huge difference,” Ochterski said.

Part of the mission of the NITC program is to enrich transportation education. One way our university partners do this is by developing curricula to advance transportation and livability goals in the classroom.

Weigand's project was intended for just this purpose. She created a module-based curriculum for bicycle and pedestrian planning and design that was designed to be adaptable for use in a variety of course offerings.

The HWS instructors took that curriculum and ran with it.

“We took on a major community project in ped/bike planning because we had these support materials from the program. It allowed us to...

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Alex Bigazzi, a 2014 NITC dissertation fellow and graduate of Portland State University's Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. program, has published a paper based on his NITC-funded research in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

See ACS coverage of the project here.

Bigazzi's research evaluates the concentration of air pollution encountered by cyclists in Portland, Oregon.

In the study, volunteer research subjects rode bicycles equipped with instruments to collect high-resolution bicycle, rider, traffic and environmental data.

Participants rode a variety of routes including bicycle lanes on primary and secondary arterials, bicycle boulevards, off-street paths and mixed-use roadways. They were told to ride at a pace and exertion level typical for utilitarian travel, and breath biomarkers were used to record the amount of traffic-related pollution present in each cyclist’s exhalations. 

This research was the focus of Bigazzi's dissertation, Bicyclists’ Uptake of Traffic-Related Air Pollution: Effects of the Urban Transportation System, published by NITC in December 2014. It was related to an earlier project...

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Seven dedicated students spent their summer days in TREC’s offices at PSU this year, working to transform the Bike-Ped Portal project from a dream into a reality.

TREC already houses Portal, a vast collection of Portland-area traffic and transit data, and NITC researchers saw a need for a database on the national scale for non-motorized transportation modes.

Research associate Krista Nordback launched the NITC pooled-fund project, Online Non-motorized Traffic Count Archive, with co-investigator Kristen Tufte in the spring of 2014. A year ago, Bike-Ped Portal was little more than an idea.

Now it contains roughly four million individual records of bicycle, pedestrian and even equestrian movements in five states.

High school interns Jolene Liu, Tomas Ramirez, Tara Sengupta, Gautum Singh, Kim Le, Max Fajardo and Kimberly Kuhn worked full time for weeks in order to convert piles of unsorted documentation into usable formats.

Nordback engaged the team of interns through Saturday Academy, a...

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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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To be published later this spring is some of the first bicycle-focused research into shared space, a controversial urban design approach pioneered in the Netherlands in the 1990s.

Allison Duncan, a PhD candidate in urban studies & planning at Portland State University, earned a NITC dissertation fellowship in 2014 and used the research grant to study shared space intersections in the United Kingdom.

Shared space designs have recently been adopted at a handful of sites in the UK and others scattered across Europe, Australia and New Zealand. They are characterized by a lack of physical guidelines such as curbs, road surface markings and traffic signs to define who has the right-of-way.

The idea is for pedestrians, cars and bicycles to mingle in a common zone and use eye contact and natural communication to make sure no one gets hurt.

“Cyclists and pedestrians are supposed to be able to treat it more like a plaza and just cross where they want to, and drivers are supposed to yield,” Duncan said.

As a street design scheme, shared space isn’t exactly new. It’s more or less the way all streets were designed until the advent of cars, and is still the norm in many Asian countries where cars share the roads with a crowd of two- and three-wheeled...

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Jolene Liu, a senior from Westview High School in Beaverton, completed a successful internship with TREC this year. The internship was funded by IBM through the Saturday Academy's Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) program.

Liu worked under the tutelage of TREC researcher Krista Nordback for two months, stringing up an impressive list of accopmlishments over that time. She worked to help create the online non-motorized traffic count archive, a centralized database for bicycling and walking count data. Liu tested the database structure, summarized data formats and wrote help text for future users. She also processed manual counts of pedestrians and cyclists from intersections in Bend, Eugene, Portland and throughout Oregon.

For an IBPI professional development course, Liu also calibrated pedestrian counting equipment and demonstrated the equipment for course participants.

Perhaps most impressively, Liu co-authored a paper accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board this coming January: "Creating a National Non-motorized Traffic Count Archive: Process and Progress," Paper 15-5310.

"She was amazing," Nordback said. "She took on tasks most undergrads wouldn't have been able to handle, plus she took amazing notes at our (Technical Advisory Committee) meeting in Salem.

"She got to watch...

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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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