Studying transportation, or even just curious about it as a career? We encourage currently enrolled Portland State University students to join the on-campus Students in Transportation Engineering & Planning (ITE-STEP) group!

STEP engages PSU students in transportation issues through field trips, speakers, projects, and social events. The group works to build relationships and a shared understanding between transportation students from different disciplines, both within PSU and with other universities. Within STEP, students can also take on leadership roles in cultivating community and education around the transportation issues important to them. STEP is also home to PSU’s ITE student chapter, to help students stay connected to the local professional organization Oregon ITE (Institute of Engineers).

Join the STEP mailing list through which STEP leadership and transportation faculty send out announcements on transportation scholarships, jobs, internships, and events.

Introducing the 2021 - 2022 STEP Leadership Board

A warm welcome to the new leadership board for STEP:

  • President - Cameron Bennett (MS Civil Engineering)
  • VP of Finance & Conferences - Asif Haque (MURP)
  • VP of Events - Nick Meusch (MURP)
  • VP of Communications - Christian Galiza (BS Civil Engineering)
  • ...
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An increasing trend in the number of bicycle crashes in the U.S since 2009 has been a major challenge to safety. A new PSU masters thesis in civil engineering offers insights: "Improving Bicycle Crossings at Unsignalized Intersections through Pavement Markings: Analysis of the City of Portland Innovative Strategy" by Frank Boateng Appiah of Portland State University.

For a deeper dive into this research, read BikePortland's coverage of the study. For more on the researcher, read our 2020 interview with Frank.

The City of Portland, Oregon has experimented with an innovative treatment to improve bicycle crossings at unsignalized intersections. This treatment, termed a high visibility cross-bike, was installed at crossings of neighborhood bicycle greenways with busy roadways. The marking is similar to a zebra-striped pedestrian crosswalk but with green pavement markings rather than white. Although the cross-bike marking does not currently require motorists to yield for bicycles waiting to cross the roadway, it was hypothesized that the presence of the marking...

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Last week, we celebrated a return to in-person learning on the Portland State University campus with a welcome-back-to-school luncheon for transportation students. The gathering, held Wednesday Oct 13 on the rooftop of PSU's Urban Center building, was intended as a reboot for the Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP) student group. Around 40 people attended for lunch, greetings, and introductions to some of the core transportation faculty. TREC director Jennifer Dill gave an overview of some of the ways TREC can support students in their transportation careers (for example, funding for attending trainings and conferences.) Transportation students can also apply for scholarships through TREC – see some past PSU transportation scholars.

ELECTIONS FOR STEP LEADERSHIP BOARD

The next order of business will be to...

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Jaclyn Schaefer is a graduate of the civil engineering master's program at Portland State University. A former Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, she is now a Transportation Engineer 2 in training at the Washington State Department of Transportation. During her time at PSU, Jaclyn worked as a graduate research assistant on various projects with Dr. Miguel Figliozzi. At the 2020 TRB Annual Meeting, she presented the results of a study examining how the presence of bicycles on roads without bicycle lanes affects passenger vehicle travel speeds. Jaclyn was awarded NITC scholarships during both the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years.

Connect with Jaclyn on LinkedIn

Tell us about yourself?

I am a recent graduate from Portland State University, where I received a MS in civil and environmental engineering, and previously completed a BS in civil engineering. During my time as a graduate student at PSU, I was fortunate to work under Dr. Miguel Figliozzi conducting research on factors affecting traffic speeds and speed limit compliance on roads with a high percentage of bicycles (an ODOT research project with co-PI Avinash Unnikrishnan) and studying the spatial distribution of...

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We are proud to congratulate Portland State University masters student Nicholas Meusch, who has been awarded a scholarship by the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Board of Directors, with a nomination endorsed by TriMet. APTF scholarships are aimed to help with tuition, books, educational materials and other expenses for students who show interest in the public transportation industry as a career, as well as high academic achievement and involvement in extracurricular citizenship and leadership activities.

Nick, a second-year student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program at PSU, currently works as a proposal manager for Elcon Associates, a minority-owned, electrical and systems engineering firm that performs consulting services for transit agencies operating rail transit systems (including TriMet and the Portland Streetcar).

Connect with Nick on LinkedIn

Nick was selected by Dr. Aaron Golub as one of two PSU graduate nominees for the 2020 American Planning Association Transportation Planning Division student paper competition, with a paper on the topic of brownfield conversions of private gasoline fueling stations to drive-through electric vehicle fast charging stations. As zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) require a greater demand...

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Last year, a car driver hit a César Chávez K-8 School student at the intersection of N. Portsmouth Ave and N. Willis Blvd in Portland, OR. It underscored what parents, teachers and Portland community members have been demanding for many years: increased investment in traffic safety at schools during pick up and drop off hours.

What’s more: Portsmouth’s residents already had a lot of ideas of how to improve pedestrian safety at this intersection.

Seeking to help the community take action on these ideas, Safe Routes to School advocacy professionals William Francis and Hanna Howsmon at Community Cycling Center and César Chávez teacher Sam Balto recommended this intersection as a potential quick build project for the Better Block PSU pathway program-–a partnership between the volunteer-led group Better Block PDX and the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University that pairs transportation students with community-led projects. 

“PSU students support community members with the technical aspects of infrastructure improvements–elevating and materializing their ideas by developing plans, designs, and engineering concepts. It’s a shift from the status quo with a ground-up approach, and their transportation expertise can help community members in navigating the permit process or proposing informed solutions to the city,” shared Hau Hagedorn, TREC Associate...

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Dr. Huajie Yang, who graduated in 2020 with a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from Portland State University, devoted his doctoral research to studying the impacts of light rail transit. His dissertation, "Short-term and Long-term Effects of New Light Rail Transit Service on Transit Ridership and Traffic Congestion at Two Geographical Levels," quantitatively examines the effect of new Light Rail Transit (LRT) services on transit ridership and traffic congestion over time.

Connect with Huajie Yang on LinkedIn

Yang examined light rail's impacts at two different geographic levels. At the corridor level, he conducted case studies of two light rail lines in the Portland, Oregon region (TriMet's Green and Orange MAX lines). At the regional level, he used a synthetic control method to construct a control Urbanized Area that closely approximates the counterfactual transit ridership and traffic congestion scenario - in the absence of light rail projects - in three urbanized areas across America.

The results of the corridor-level study suggest that both the Green and Orange lines increased transit ridership in the short and long term, and relieved traffic congestion in the short term, while having no...

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We're proud to announce the publication of a new NITC dissertation: "Methodologies to Quantify Transit Performance Metrics at the System-Level," by Travis Glick of Portland State University.

Performance metrics have typically focused at two main scales: a microscopic scale that focuses on specific locations, time-periods, and trips; and, a macroscopic scale that averages metrics over longer times, entire routes, and networks. When applied to entire transit systems, microscopic methodologies often have computational limitations while macroscopic methodologies ascribe artificial uniformity to non-uniform analysis areas. These limitations highlight the need for a middle approach. This dissertation presents a mesoscopic analysis based around timepoint-segments, which are a novel application of an existing system for many transit agencies.

In the United States, fix-route transit is typically defined by a small subset of bus stops along each route, called timepoints. For this research, routes are divided into a consecutive group of bus stops with one timepoint at the center. Each timepoint-segment includes all data collected in that segment during one hour of operation. Visuals for congestion and headway performance, based on the aggregated datasets, are designed to...

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The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is a department of the state government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for systems of transportation. It was first established in 1969 and has a passionate, talented, diverse workforce of almost 5,000. This story was originally shared in ODOT'S February 2021 Oregon Toll Program newsletter.


Francisco Ibarra, a Toll Program planning intern, is currently attending Portland State University for his Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree. Francisco is from East Portland and has lived in Gresham for most of his life. Francisco knows the importance of collaborative planning with community members.

As a research assistant to the Toll Program Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee [at ODOT], Francisco attends meetings, listens to questions, and follows up with researched answers. Recently, he completed research on air quality monitoring related to transportation and health. He is ready to provide help to support the Toll Program and committee in every way he can.

"This project is...

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Since 2013, local transportation activist group Better Block PDX has developed partnerships with organizations across the Portland Metro area. Most notable were the connections that emerged between the communities’ needs for creative transportation solutions and the expertise of Portland State University (PSU) transportation students.

That collaboration evolved into Better Block PSU, a pathway program led by PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Center that integrates tactical urbanism and placemaking into the engineering and planning curriculum at PSU. Most recently we shared an update on Re-Imagining a Safer Route to the César Chávez School, which advanced to the Spring 2021 engineering capstone.

We’re excited to announce the latest projects to have been accepted into the Better Block PSU pathway program:

  • City of Independence Neighborhood Greenways: This project will help create a low-stress biking and walking network through Independence connecting local schools, businesses, and parks.
  • Community Green Space for Parkrose: This project plans to create a pathway from the Parkrose neighborhood to the Columbia Slough to increase access to green space and community knowledge of the Slough.
  • Arleta Triangle Transformation...
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