Nov 07, 2014

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Speaker: Darwin Moosavi, MURP, Portland State University
Topic: Capturing the Ride: Exploring Low-Density Flexible Transit Alternatives in Salem-Keizer

Summary: Current fixed-route transit service provided by Salem-Keizer Transit is inefficient in the low-density neighborhoods of West Salem, South Salem, and Keizer. The lack of sidewalks, non-gridded circuitous streets, and large single-family residential lots all contribute to a lack of ridership. As a result, traditional fixed-route transit service is not cost-effective in these areas. Through a five month planning process, a group of Portland State University graduate students, better known as Paradigm Planning, tackled the task of addressing this problem in each of the three study areas. Paradigm’s planning process explored mode and route options in order to produce a plan that provides innovative and feasible alternatives to current transit service that will better meet the needs of the community. Through an intensive community engagement process, the residents in each neighborhood were given a voice in shaping the future of transit in their neighborhood.

Bio: Darwin Moosavi is a Master in Urban & Regional Planning candidate at Portland State...

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Oct 30, 2014

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Summary: The Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) discretionary New Starts program is the federal government's largest discretionary funding program. From heavy to light rail, from commuter rail to bus rapid transit systems, the FTA's New Starts program has helped to make possible hundreds of new or extended transit fixed guideway systems across the country, including most of TriMet’s light rail extensions and WES commuter rail. Beginning in 2001, FTA has required project sponsors to prepare a Before and After Study report on the effectiveness of planning and implementation of New Starts and Small Starts projects. The studies focus on five transit characteristics – project scope, capital costs, operating and maintenance costs, service levels, and ridership behavior – and compares these characteristics at various planning milestones, as well as before and after implementation of the project.

TriMet, in conjunction with FTA, has completed or nearly completed Before and After Study reports for three projects – Interstate MAX, WES Commuter Rail, and the Green Line – and is in the process of working on two more. This presentation will briefly describe the federal New Starts program, FTA requirements...

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Sep 09, 2014

With his 2011 book, “Human Transit,” consultant Jarrett Walker provided planners and community members with a new way to think about the choices transit planning requires. Since that time, Walker has focused on what transit actually delivers. He calls this concept “abundant access”: how much of your city is available to you in a short amount of time.

Walker will delve into this topic Monday, Sept. 15 as the keynote speaker at the Oregon Transportation Summit. Online registration for the summit closes Wednesday night.

Register now!

“Abundant access is an interesting way to think about transit and something that brings it into the personal frame of liberty that is missing from most analysis of urban outcomes,” Walker said. “How we talk about sensations of freedom, so that we don’t just sound like bureaucrats who know what’s good for everyone.”

Urbanist leaders go astray, Walker said, when they put other goals ahead of the liberty and opportunity that useful transit provides. That could mean catering to developers or creating a symbolic transit system that is fun to ride but doesn’t serve regular transit users well.

Walker calls the New Urbanist conceit of prioritizing an aesthetically pleasing...

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Sep 09, 2014

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Topic: Using "big data" for transportation analysis: A case study of the LA Metro Expo Line

Summary: Access to a comprehensive historical archive of real-time, multi-modal multi-agency transportation system data has provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate how “big data” can be used for policy analysis, and to offer new insights for planning scholarship and practice. We illustrate with a case study of a new rail transit line. We use transit, freeway, and arterial data of high spatial and temporal resolution to examine transportation system performance impacts of the Exposition (Expo) light rail line (Phase 1) in Los Angeles. Using a quasi-experimental research design, we explore whether the Expo Line has had a significant impact on transit ridership, freeway traffic, and arterial traffic within the corridor it serves. Our results suggest a net increase in transit ridership, but few effects on traffic system performance. Given the latent travel demand in this heavily congested corridor, results are consistent with expectations. The benefits of rail transit investments are in increasing transit accessibility and person throughput within high-demand...

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Aug 18, 2014

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Topic: Examining the Role of Internal Planning Decisions in Improving Transit Performance and Economic Outcomes
Summary: Scholars and practitioners continuously seek best practices to increase transit ridership, efficiency, and modal share. The ongoing suburbanization and decentralization of U.S. metropolitan regions brings new challenges for accomplishing these goals. Investigating possible strategies for improving transit outcomes in the existing socioeconomic setting, scholars from the Florida State University have pointed to the role of internal performance factors. In a series of research studies, they have found that improving transit service characteristics, such as frequency, connectivity, regional coverage, intermodal integration, as well as decentralization of network structures, could result in increased transit ridership and productivity. These positive effects could be observed even in auto-oriented, low-density environments. 

This presentation will briefly summarize the previous findings regarding the role of internal factors in improving transit performance and elaborate on the most recent study, which has attempted to assess the...

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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.

Jul 22, 2014

Transit supporters offer up a host of arguments for their favorite form of transportation but may struggle to counter a response of “prove it.” This year’s Oregon Transportation Summit could help change that.

Fresh research showing some of the benefits of transit will keep the public transportation track lively and relevant during the sixth annual summit. Morning and afternoon workshops spotlight transit, bookending a luncheon keynote by noted transit planner Jarrett Walker.

The Oregon Transportation Summit takes place Monday, Sept. 15 at Portland State University.

University of Utah researcher Reid Ewing made national and international headlines recently with a study showing the effect of light rail in a busy travel corridor. The study, funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, was the first to document a drop in automobile traffic after the opening of a light-rail line. Ewing presents his research at a...

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Jun 16, 2014

Portland State University students in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program came up with some innovative transit solutions for the Salem-Keizer area, just south of Portland, Ore. in the Willamette Valley.

The Salem-Keizer transit provider, known as Cherriots, requested that a planning group come up with alternative forms of transit that would be a better fit for the study area. MURP students Darwin Moosavi, Brenda Martin, CJ Doxsee, Mike Sellinger, Lauren Wirtis and Matt Berggren took on the challenge as their capstone project.

The bus service currently provided by Salem-Keizer Transit is inefficient in the low-density neighborhoods of West Salem, South Salem, and Keizer. Buses in those neighborhoods often run half-full, or nearly empty, along looping, circuitous roads that lack an interconnected grid pattern.

The student team, Paradigm Planning, proposed a “flexible transit” system which can better serve this type of low-density suburban area.

Fixed-route transit is typical bus service, in which buses come to predefined stops at regularly scheduled intervals. Demand-responsive or paratransit, the opposite extreme, is an on-demand service typically reserved for the elderly or disabled, in which a rider calls to be picked up by a bus at...

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Jun 09, 2014

Historically, large-scale transportation infrastructure projects have had devastating outcomes in communities of color. With twentieth-century urban renewal efforts often came the displacement of underprivileged communities, the loss of low-income neighborhoods and their replacement with affluent housing and freeways.

According to new OTREC research from the University of Oregon, transit-oriented development, or TOD, can offer a different trajectory. Rather than displacing residents, TOD has the potential to improve neighborhoods for the benefit of those who live there.

OTREC researcher Gerardo Sandoval grew up near MacArthur park, one of the two sites studied, and has witnessed firsthand the neighborhood’s dramatic change. “I think the coolest thing about MacArthur Park is that now it’s considered a national model for TOD. When I was growing up there … nobody saw it like that. It was thought of more as a low-income area,” Sandoval said.

The project examined two California neighborhoods: MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, and Fruitvale, in Oakland. In both neighborhoods, the majority of residents are recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America, many of whom have significantly lower incomes and rely heavily on public transportation.

In the last few decades, both sites have seen TOD coincide with neighborhood revitalization, and...

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May 27, 2014
The Multnomah Youth Commission, or MYC, held its first Youth Summit on Transit Justice on May 17, 2014 at David Douglas High School.
 
The MYC, a group of young people ages 13-21, plays an advisory role for local government in Multnomah County and the City of Portland.
 
The summit held on Saturday the 17th was an entirely youth-led event, with members of the MYC meeting at David Douglas at 11 a.m. After they spent the morning organizing their materials and preparing their arguments, they opened the doors for adults.
 
PSU professor Lisa Bates, who is studying the transit-dependent population for NITC, was in attendance with her capstone students. As part of a capstone course where students are required to conduct research that leads directly into social equity, Bates’ students worked with the youth of the MYC on transit justice. They applied a social science research foundation to their ideas and assisted them with using some best practices in the field. 
 
At 2:30 p.m., transit policymakers and community leaders began to enter the high school. Following a brief introductory presentation, the young people split up the group into breakout sessions.
 
During the sessions, members of the...
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