Think people who live in suburban developments don't walk and bike? They do, particularly if the development is well-connected. University of Oregon assistant professor Nico Larco has shown this with his OTREC projects.

He explains some of the work himself in this video.

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...

Read more

This OTREC educational project took students at Portland State University beyond the lecture hall and the library. Dr. Lynn Weigand expanded the bicycle and pedestrian design curriculum at PSU by turning an existing three-credit course into a five-credit course with an applied lab. The new course gave students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gained in class to real projects in their community. Working in teams, the students developed projects that focused on improving bicycle and pedestrian connections to the PSU campus. The course received excellent reviews from the students, and the department recognized the courseís value by offering it again the following year. The report can be downloaded at: https://ppms.trec.pdx.edu/media/project_files/OTREC-ED-10-01.pdf.

Portland State University is committed to supporting research that is both regionally focused and globally relevant. This fall PSU has published a brochure featuring some of its exemplary research including OTREC sponsored projects by researchers Madeleine Pullman and Jennifer Dill. Dr. Pullman's research addresses the logistical issues raised by the rising demand for locally produced foods. She has studied supply chain success stories like that of Country Natural Beef, a cooperative family business committed to environmental responsibility, as well as other enterprises that have been slower to adopt such values, in order to better understand the impediments to change. Dr. Dill's research team has given GPS devices to bicycle commuters and collected rider surveys in order to collect data about the routes cyclists take, gender differences in riding and other information that can help cities better understand cyclistsí infrastructure needs. This regionally aimed research creates universal models of environmental responsibility and sustainability from which other cities can benefit.

On May 15, 2008, Jennifer Dill, Associate Professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning and Director of the Center for Transportation Studies at Portland State University, participated in a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. The briefing was sponsored by the Congressional Bike Caucus and the Active Living Research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on Biking Your Way to a Healthier Community. The Congressional Bike Caucus is chaired by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR) and Congressman Tom Petri (WI). Dr. Dill described her ongoing research of regional bike trips, tracked by GPS-equipped bicyclists. She notes that preliminary analysis shows that half of the bicycle riding happened on roads with bike lanes, off-street paths, or bicycle boulevards. She also briefly discussed policy implications and further research needs. Read Dr. Dill’s briefing here: Briefing.

Professor John Pucher, a car-less commuter from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, was the first fall OTREC Visiting Scholar and CTS Seminar guest on September 28, 2007. His presentation, "Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from Europe," was standing room only, and the audience enjoyed his photos of bike-friendly features in cities across Europe. Pucher examined a range of public health impacts of our urban transport systems and argued that the current car dependence of American cities is responsible for enormous environmental harm, social isolation, lack of physical activity, and traffic dangers. He described how improving the convenience, safety, and attractiveness of walking and cycling in crucial to overcoming these negative impacts. Pucher discussed specific policies and programs used in Europe, and advocates their widespread adoption in American cities. A lively discussion with faculty, students and members of the Portland Bicycle Master Plan Committee followed the seminar.

Watch video

View slides

Summary: Although the running of red lights is perceived by motorists as a commonplace behavior for cyclists, little research has been done on the actual rates of cyclist compliance at signalized intersections. Furthermore, little is known about the factors that influence cyclist non-compliance. This research seeks to illuminate the rates of and reasons for infringement against red lights using video footage and survey data from cyclists in Oregon. 

Bio: Sam became interested in transportation and planning while studying abroad in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. After benefiting from the efficient transit service and excellent walkability there, he came back to the states with a gusto for safe, efficient, and environmentally sustainable transportation. After finally figuring out what to do with his Civil Engineering degree, he enrolled in Portland State. Sam's research interests include cyclist behavior and the comprehension and safety implications of new infrastructure. Originally hailing from Kansas, he has grown weary of Wizard of Oz jokes but is otherwise happy to call Portland his home, especially with the abundance of good coffee, micro brews, and stellar pie that PDX has to offer.

Watch video

Slides are not available for this presentation.

During the March 2011 earthquake/ tsunami/nuclear disaster, the internet filled with stories of how something quite ordinary in Japanese life became an important lifeline—the bicycle. For example an 83-year-old woman escaped the tsunami by bicycle, and due to public-transport disruptions, bicycle stores sold out of bicycles as quickly as supermarkets sold out of food. However not just in disasters, but in daily life, the most reliable, sustainable form of transportation, next to walking, is via Japan’s estimated 80,000,000 bicycles, affectionately called mamachari.

This illustrated presentation, based on four-years of cultural-landscape research culminating the publication of世界が称賛した日本の町の秘密 (Secrets of Japanese Cities the World Admires. Tokyo: Yousensha, 2011), begins by discussing why mamachari are perfect for local transportation and the many practical ways Japanese use them. It then explores why many of Japan’s densely populated, fine-grained neighborhoods with auto-resistant narrow streets and nearby shopping, make ideal bicycle neighborhoods. Issues explored will include the mamachari’s impact on: neighborhood livability; sustainability; public health through active transportation; fostering direct human contact not possible with motor-car travel; and maintaining the compact human scale of communities by limiting transport of daily...

Read more

By Jennifer Dill, TREC director.

I recently completed a national poll of people living in urban areas in conjunction with the National Association of Realtors® on Community and Transportation Preferences. The overall results are posted here. The survey included 3,000 adults living in the 50 largest urban areas in the U.S. (That includes suburban areas, as well as denser urban cores.) Here are some highlights related to bicycling.

1.    Less than one in five people have biked in the past month.

Overall, 72% of the adults surveyed said they were physically able and know how to ride a bike. Of those, 25% had ridden in the past month. (The survey was conducted in mid-May, so weather was reasonable.) That means only about 18% of adults in these urban areas biked recently. Most of the people who had biked, rode only for exercise (60%, or 15% of those who are able to bike), while the others (40%, or 10% of those who are able to bike) made at least some bike trips for transportation, such as to work, school, shopping, etc.
Note: From here on I will be focusing only on those people who are physically able and know how to ride a bike.

2.    There are gender and generational gaps.

This isn’t a big surprise, but women were less likely to bike than men,...

Read more

Pages