Aug 18, 2014

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Summary: The most recent edition of the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) contains analysis procedures for measuring the level-of-service (LOS), also referred to as quality of service, provided by an urban roadway to bicyclists. The method uses different design and operating features of the roadway segment (e.g. width, motor vehicle volumes and speeds) to assess an LOS grade of A (best) to F (worst). These procedures are used by planners and engineers to recommend how existing streets could be retrofitted or new streets designed to better serve people on bicycles (and other modes). However, the current HCM does not include methods that address protected bike lanes (aka “cycle tracks” or “separated bike lanes”), only conventional striped bike lanes, shoulders, and shared streets. There are other methods for predicting comfort from a bicyclist’s perspective that do consider protected bike lanes, but they are either based only on expert opinion or on surveys in Denmark.

This presentation will describe how to evaluate the level-of-service of a protected bike lane using results from surveys conducted in the United States. The model developed by this project could be used to supplement the current HCM to objectively consider a wider range...

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Aug 07, 2014

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Speaker: Brian Saelens, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Seattle’s Children’s Hospital & University of Washington
Topic: Links Between Public Transportation and Physical Activity (Effects of LRT on Physical Activity Based on Seattle GPS Study)

Summary: This seminar will explore the empirical evidence regarding the links between the use of public transportation and physical activity, with a specific focus on using integrated device and self-report methods to identify travel modes and physical activity.

Bio: Brian E. Saelens, Ph.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and Principal Investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Saelens is a clinical/health psychologist. His interest areas include obesity treatment and prevention, especially in environmental factors and policies that influence physical activity and eating behaviors in children and adults. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed original investigation and review articles.

Aug 07, 2014

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Speaker: Joseph Broach, Ph.D. Candidate, Portland State University
Topic: Trick or Treatment? Impact of Route-Level Features on Decisions to Walk or Bike
Summary: Some travel routes attract people walking and cycling, while others may scare them away. What features of street environments are most important, and how do available routes affect decisions to bike or walk on a specific trip? 

Research to date has focused on either large-scale areal measures like "miles of bike lane nearby" or else has considered only shortest path routes. Neither method is suited to capturing the impact of targeted route-level policies like neighborhood greenways. This session will present a new technique for measuring bike and walk accessibility along the most likely route for a given trip. The method is applied to travel data, and results provide new insight into the relationship between route quality and travel mode choice.

Jul 15, 2014

As part of an ongoing project studying the use of electric-assist bicycles, or e-bikes, a research team led by TREC's John MacArthur conducted an online survey of e-bike users on their purchase and use decisions. The results, highlighted in this infographic, suggest that e-bikes enable people to bike more often, bike farther and carry more cargo than on a traditional bicycle. In addition, e-bikes let people ride a bike who otherwise could not because of physical limitations or distance.

Click image for larger version:OTREC e-bike infographic Please include attribution to trec.pdx.edu

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Jun 02, 2014

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,” 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 safety, use and...

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May 13, 2014
A team of students from Portland State University took second place this week in the Cornell Cup USA, with a traffic hazard predictor called SAFE.
SAFE, or Situational Awareness Fault?Finder Extension, is an intelligent device that could be used with bicycles, motorcycles, or automobiles, though it was created with the safety of two-wheeled travelers in mind.
The device is designed to enhance a vehicle operator's situational awareness. It tracks the movement of vehicles behind the user, monitoring their position, velocity, and acceleration.
 
Click here to see the SAFE team's poster.
The SAFE creators considered giving the user an overhead representation of the surrounding traffic, with color-coded alerts to signify approaching danger, but felt that that might be too distracting. Citing research that showed that people react more quickly to audio than visual cues, they decided to give the user feedback through stereo audio. 
The device sends a periodic beep to alert the user of impending accidents from the rear. It modulates the stereo, tempo, and amplitude to indicate...
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Feb 12, 2014

OTREC researcher Miguel Figliozzi details some of the work on an Oregon Department of Transportation project, "Design and Implementation of Pedestrian and Bicycle Specific Data Collection Methods in Oregon," in this video produced by the Federal Highway Administration.

The project reviewed collection methods such as tube counters and loop detectors for accuracy and looked at using count numbers to deterimine average annual pedestrian and bicycle traffic at intersections.

Figliozzi was lead researcher on the project, with Christopher Monsere. Both are associate professors of civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University.

OTREC's Krista Nordback was also involved in the project, as were graduate students Pamela Johnson and Bryan Blanc. More information on the project is at:

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP_RES/pages/activeprojects.aspx#SPR_754

Jan 09, 2014

The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation has unveiled the most ambitious year of professional development offerings in its history.

For the first time, the schedule includes Webinars, with the first taking place Feb. 27. Offerings also include courses and workshops geared toward practitioners and university faculty members. There’s also a two-week study abroad opportunity to learn about sustainable transportation in the Netherlands.

The course offerings include a newly added advanced bicycle design and engineering workshop. The workshop is geared toward professionals who have taken the original IBPI course or who serve communities with a developed bicycle network.

“More than 120 professionals have taken the course since 2008,” said Hau Hagedorn, who manages the IBPI program. “We’ve reached the threshold of educating professionals where there’s the need to take this to the next level of expertise.”

Continuing education credits are available for each workshop and Webinar. Click here for details on the individual course pages.

Registration is now open for IBPI’s inaugural Webinar on Feb. 27: “We are Traffic: Creating Robust Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Programs.” As agencies looking to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure have learned, it doesn’t count if it’s not counted....

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Jan 06, 2014

Note: In advance of the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting, the biggest forum on the transportation research calendar, OTREC.us is profiling some of the researchers who will present their work.

The bicycle counts suggested that, on Bike to Work Day, more people did bike to work. But did fewer people drive?

OTREC staff researcher Krista Nordback took up the issue and will present her findings Monday, Jan. 13 at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The bike count data from sites across Boulder, Colo., certainly impressed Nordback.  “Bike to Work Day has this huge spike,” she said. “The bike counts double at a lot of the count sites.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if we could see something similar with the motor vehicle count data?”

In a twist that might only happen in Boulder, with its ample bike counters, Nordback had a harder time tracking down the motor vehicle counts. She lucked out, finding that the city’s red-light cameras had been counting cars alongside their primary job of catching red-light runners.

Those motor vehicle counts showed a consistent drop on Bike-to-Work days compared with average workdays in June and July. It was a small drop, but even finding that was unprecedented: no studies had documented a statistically significant drop in motor vehicle counts during any bike-to-work event.

...

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Nov 12, 2013
Recently OTREC took a look at suburbia to see how many people were walking and biking to local destinations.
Traditionally, studies of suburban locations have found that due to the low density of suburban areas and their single-land-use patterns, active transportation is rare.
In a research project by Principal Investigator Nico Larco and Co-Investigator Robert Parker, of the University of Oregon, active transportation was found to be more common than expected in suburban areas with commercial strip destinations.
In their project “Overlooked Destinations: Suburban Nodes, Centers, and Trips to Strips,” Larco and Parker observed active travel behaviors around typical suburban commercial sites. They examined six strip malls -- four in Portland, Ore. and two in Atlanta, Ga. -- to map out the “pedshed,” or walkable zone surrounding these sites.
Investigators were surprised by what they found.
For each site, they created detailed pedestrian-network GIS maps. They compared the network extents of maps that included only publicly available, street centerline data with maps that included pedestrian...
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