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 home....

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OTREC was well-represented at this year’s Western ITE conference, the 2013 conference for the Western District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Eight graduate student researchers presented papers at the conference, which took place July 14 through 17 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Portland State University students Katherine Bell, Kirk Paulsen, Adam Moore, Wei Feng, Sirisha Kothuri, Pamela Johnson, Sam Thompson and Alex Bigazzi attended the three-day conference and showcased their work in transportation research.

The conference was held at the Arizona Biltmore, a 1920’s luxury hotel created by architects Albert Chase McArthur and Frank Lloyd Wright. For the engineering and planning students, the Biltmore held its own attraction as an example of unique architecture, and in between events they enjoyed walking the grounds. 

Katherine Bell, a Master’s student whose research interests include planning, modeling and performance measures for freight, gave a presentation on the use of a smart phone application with a GPS device for freight data collection. This was her second time presenting at the...

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OTREC at Portland State University is pleased to announce the 2013 OTREC/NITC scholars.

Each year, OTREC and NITC recognize outstanding students, awarding them scholarships to further their work on transportation projects.

This year's scholarship winners tackle a range of projects, including long-range visions on how to improve equity in transportation, plans for proposed facility upgrades at specific locations, investigations into new ways to strengthen pavement, and the development of advanced technologies to assist the flow of transportation in the real world.

 
Arlie Adkins, a Ph.D. student at Portland State University (PSU), is surveying recent movers to learn that people of low-income households often find it harder to live in areas that are friendly to active transportation: many of the "walkable" neighborhoods are now premium real estate, so accessibility becomes inaccessible.
 
Dustin Hirata and Kyler Weisenback, seniors in the Computer Engineering Technology Department at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT), are developing a software application for the collection of intersection turning movement counts for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Their application will be deployed on...
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Each year, Portland State University’s MURP, or Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning, program hosts a public presentation to showcase the work of its graduating master’s students. Students who graduate with a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning spend the last two terms of their program collaborating on workshop projects, completing planning tasks for local clients or business organizations.

This year’s presentations took place on Wednesday, attended by a crowd of about a hundred PSU students, professors, MURP clients and community members. Six groups presented their projects. Some of the projects were transportation-focused, especially one titled "Lombard Re-Imagined."

Swift Planning Group, composed of members Kathryn Doherty-Chapman, Zef Wagner, Brian Hurley, Jake Warr, Rebecca Hamilton, and Jodi Jacobson-Swartfager, developed a plan to improve Lombard Street, a key transportation corridor in North Portland.

The challenge facing the group had to do with the many roles that Lombard street plays. The street is both an arterial throughway and a state highway. It is an overdimensional freight route, for trucks that are too big to go anywhere else in North Portland, and it has also been designated as a main street in Metro’s 2040 Growth Concept. The various...

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Five OTREC-supported student transportation researchers presented their work Wednesday at Portland State University's first Student Reserach Symposium. Tara Goddard and Katherine Bell presented their work in panel sessions, while Sam Thompson, Patrick Singleton and Oliver Smith presented posters.

Goddard presented her paper, "Are Bicycling and Walking 'Cool'?: Adolescent Attitutes About Active Travel," in the public health and urban studies session. She'll offer an in-depth take on the same topic at noon May 24 for OTREC's Friday transportation seminar. Click here for more information.

Bell's paper, "Evaluation of Smart Phone Weight-Mile Truck Data for Supporting Freight Modeling, Performance Measures and Planning," details some of her work with civil engineering associate professor Miguel Figliozzi. Click here to download a version of the paper.

Thompson's poster was "A Study of Bicycle-Signal Compliance Employing Video Footage;" Singleton's poster was "A Theory of Travel Decision-Making: Applications for Active Travel;" Smith's was "The Effects of Mode Choice on Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Portland, Oregon."

The symposium, which organizers...

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Continuing a tradition started last year, Portland State University's Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning hosted a gathering called "TRB Aftershock" to showcase student research presented at the recent Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The event also allowed students to network and describe their research with practitioners in an informal setting.

More on the event is at the STEP blog here.

A total of 133 researchers from OTREC campuses will have their work featured at the Transportation Research Board national conference the week of Jan. 13 in Washington, D.C. Seventy-two separate sessions will feature research from Portland State University, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and the University of Utah.

The weeklong conference is the event of the year for transportation researchers across the country and an important opportunity for students and faculty to share research results, learn best practices and network.

As OTREC prides itself on developing the next generation of the transportation workforce, students are well represented at the conference. Nearly 50 students will have their research presented at lectern or poster sessions and many of those students are the lead authors of papers accepted for the conference.

Portland State University alone is sending 30 graduate and undergraduate students to the conference. Katherine Bell, a Portland state graduate student, will present research at a freight planning and logistics session on Monday. Bell worked with Miguel Figliozzi of Portland State’s civil and environmental engineering department on an OTREC research project that could mark a sea change in how freight data is collected and used.

Oregon is one of a few states to collect a tax on heavy trucks based on their weight and miles driven. In 2010, The Oregon Department of Transportation started a pilot project to...

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PSU’s Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP) hosted the 10th Annual Region X Conference on November 16, and it was the most widely-attended Region X event in recent memory.  With participating universities including Oregon State University, Cal Poly Pomona, University of Oregon, University of Utah, University of Washington and Washington State University, the more than 100 registrants “really surprised” STEP President S. R. Thompson. “The turnout was high compared to previous years.” This is likely in part due to the first-time participation of the two Washington schools.

This year’s conference featured student research presentations and a poster session, as well as three afternoon breakout sessions that offered tours of effective transportation engineering examples in the Portland Metro area. Thompson reports a unanimously positive response to the breakout sessions from those tour participants who followed up with her after the conference adjourned.

The conference’s morning keynote was also popular and garnered plenty of student participation in the discussion that followed. “We did things a little differently for the keynote presentation this year,” Thompson said. The presentation featured a panel of notable transportation professionals from the Portland area who each discussed their respective entries into the transportation field as well as the joys and challenges of the work.

"We were lucky in terms of our panel...

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While the annual Region X Student Transportation Conference in November always attracts students from across the northwest, this year’s conference pulled some from much farther south: Pomona, Calif.

The conference is a showcase for student transportation research in the Pacific Northwest (Federal Region X), which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Region X serves as a microcosm of transportation for the entire country, making it a prime testing ground for studies in transportation operations and planning.

The conference was sponsored by OTREC and hosted this year by Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), the Portland State University Student Chapter of ITE.

When professor Xudong Jia of Cal Poly Pomona learned about the conference, he was determined that his students would find a way to attend. With the support of OTREC, Cal Poly Pomona sent five students to the conference, a mix of undergraduate and graduate students in civil and transportation engineering.  The students were interested in both the research and tours, as well as gleaning tips for how to organize a student-led conference: something the Cal Poly students will be doing when they host the TransModal Connection Conference in February in San Louis Obispo.

In addition to visiting the Western Federal Lands Materials lab in Vancouver, Wash., the team competed in the Oregon Section ITE William C. Kloos Traffic Bowl. Though a transportation mishap left them...

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Portland State University inducted graduate student Kristina Currans into the Denice Dee Denton Women Engineers Hall of Fame in a ceremony Nov. 15. Currans is the second transportation engineering student to win the student award.

Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, took the Outstanding Female Engineer honors.

Currans’ boundless enthusiasm and dedication to her work quickly become apparent to anyone who works with her, said Kelly Clifton, an associate professor of civil engineering and director of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative. “I’ve never met someone able to manage so many things,” said Clifton, who nominated Currans for the honor.

Currans works with Clifton as a part of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative and on several OTREC research projects. “She brings a tremendous amount of energy,” Clifton said.

After graduating Oregon State University with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree in 2010, Currans soon made a name for herself in transportation circles. She started her graduate coursework at Portland State and worked during academic breaks with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Transportation Planning Analysis Unit, home to state and regional transportation models.

“For someone who had just graduated with an undergraduate degree, she completed that internship and really impressed ODOT,” Clifton said. “To do that so quickly caught everyone’s attention.”

Currans tested and worked with the Statewide Integrated...

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