Staff from OTREC at Portland State University toured three partner campuses to prepare for the first round of projects under the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program, or NITC. Portland State, the University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Utah teamed up for the program, funded with a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The University of Utah was the first to receive a visit, March 19-20, in Salt Lake City. There, NITC executive committee member Keith Bartholomew hosted tours and meetings. Staff met with student representatives from various disciplines and with potential researchers from across campus before meeting potential community partners at the Utah Transit Authority offices. OTREC finance and communications staff members met with their University of Utah counterparts.

The meetings marked the first connection for much of the Utah faculty and OTREC staff. While the University of Oregon and Oregon Tech were already partners under the original OTREC grant, the NITC program marks Portland State and Utah’s first formal collaboration under the federal University Transportation Centers program.

On April 9, staff met with current and potential transportation researchers at the University of Oregon...

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The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Portland State University $3.5 million for research and education on sustainable transportation topics, the department announced today. The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), the university transportation center based at PSU, will administer the grant.

OTREC, a partnership between PSU, the University of Oregon and the Oregon Institute of Technology, will join with the University of Utah to carry out the grant. This award reaffirms OTREC’s evolution into one of the nation’s leading transportation livability research centers and provides the resources to address national problems strategically.

Research and educational programs under the grant will focus on the following topics:

  • Improving health and safety for all users
  • Increasing the efficiency and understanding of cycling, walking and transit
  • Making the best use of data, performance measures and analytical tools
  • Integrating multimodal transportation with land use
  • Taking long-term action on transportation emissions and climate change.

PSU was one of 63 applicants for 22 grants. The grant competition challenged university transportation center leaders to demonstrate the ability and experience to produce the country’s best transportation research and educational programs. “In five years, OTREC has advanced the state of research on topics such as the connections between transportation...

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PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

Gateway communities are the small towns outside of national parks, forests, scenic rivers, and ski resorts. This presentation will highlight the housing, transportation, and development challenges that these communities faced in the aftermath of the COVID 19 pandemic. Our study...

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Webinar: Visual Exploration of Trajectory Data
 

PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

This webinar will demonstrate the tremendous value of GPS trajectory data in understanding statewide travel patterns and measuring performance. First, Dr. Markovic (U of Utah) will conduct visual exploration of GPS trajectories that capture about 3% of all the trips in Utah. He will briefly discuss the problem of scaling GPS trajectories to the population, and then focus on the use of scaled trajectories in computing origin-destination matrices, vehicle-hours delays, vehicle-miles traveled, and trip-based performance measures. Second, Dr. Franz (CATT Lab) will demonstrate a suite of visual analytics that enables transportation agencies to easily explore terabytes of GPS trajectory data. He will demonstrate different tools and share the experience of 5 state DOTs that are currently using CATT Lab's trajectory data suite.

KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Trajectory data represents the most complete vehicle-probe data and provides unprecedented opportunity for transportation system analysis.
  • Transportation agencies can easily leverage visual analytics to obtain insights in statewide traffic patterns and...
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PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

The aim of this research is to investigate pedestrian behavior at signalized intersections using state-of-the-art LIDAR sensing technologies and to use this data, along with vehicular data, to develop a more effective multimodal signal control system.

In the presentation, the presenters will describe a novel method of collecting pedestrian crossing behaviors at signalized intersection, discuss the findings and implications of data analytics, and introduce a novel approach to dynamic flashing yellow arrow mechanisms to reduce the conflict between left turn vehicles and crossing pedestrians.

KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Understand the framework of LiDAR sensing solutions;
  • Understand how to collect pedestrian behaviors at intersections;
  • Understand how to provide new protection for crossing pedestrians with object-tracking technologies.

THE RESEARCH

This webinar is based on a study funded by the National Institute...

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PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

Small towns and cities outside of national parks and other major natural amenities throughout the western United States are becoming increasingly popular places to visit and live. As a result, many of these gateway and natural amenity region (GNAR) communities—including places such as Jackson, Wyoming, and Moab, Utah—are facing a variety of “big city” issues, such as severe congestion, lack of affordable workforce housing, and concerns about sprawl and density. This webinar will introduce the planning and transportation concerns being experienced by GNAR communities throughout the west. It will then share the tools and resources developed by the University of Utah to train planners to work in these unique communities and to help these communities enhance livability and sustainable transportation options. The webinar will also introduce the University of Utah’s new Gateway and Natural Amenity Region Initiative and ongoing research aimed at better understanding and addressing the planning and transportation issues in GNAR communities. 

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Connected Vehicle System Design for Signalized Arterials
 

PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

It can be expected that connected vehicles (CVs) systems will soon go beyond testbed and appear in real-world applications. To accommodate a large number of connected vehicles on the roads, traffic signal control systems on signalized arterials would require supports of various components such as roadside infrastructure, vehicle on-board devices, an effective communication network, and optimal control algorithms. In this project, we aim to establish a real-time and adaptive system for supporting the operations of CV-based traffic signal control functions. The proposed system will prioritize the communication needs of different types of CVs and best utilize the capacity of the communication channels. The CV data sensing and acquisition protocol, built on a newly developed concept of Age of Information (AoI), will support the feedback control loop to adjust signal timing plans.

Our multidisciplinary research team, including researchers from transportation engineering and electrical engineering, will carry out the project tasks along four directions that capitalized on the PIs’ expertise:

  1. Data collection and...
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A bus stop with a shelter, bench, and sidewalk showing people boarding the bus
 

PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

Improving bus stops by providing shelters, seating, signage, and sidewalks is relatively inexpensive and popular among riders and local officials. Making such improvements, however, is not often a priority for U.S. transit providers because of competing demands for capital funds and a perception that amenities are not tied to measurable increases in system effectiveness or efficiency. This webinar focuses on the role that bus stops play as the point of first contact between transit agencies and their potential riders, and how the quality of that contact can influence both ridership and accessibility for riders with mobility-related disabilities. The webinar will use results from recent research sponsored by NITC and the Utah Department of Transportation looking at possible impacts that bus stop improvements made by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) have had on stop-level ridership and demand for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services. The results demonstrate how investments in bus stop facilities are not...

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PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

Older adults often face challenges with mobility and accessibility, which can limit their independence and quality of life. This seminar will explore these issues and lessons learned from the research to improve travel experiences and satisfaction for older adults.

KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Highlights the importance of considering diverse dimensions of older adults' needs.
  • Found a significant dissatisfaction and vulnerability experienced by older adults with limited mobility.
  • Identified the need for addressing the critical accessibility and mobility gaps with older adults.

THE RESEARCH

This webinar is based on a study funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communites (NITC) and conducted at the University of Utah. Read more about the project: Transportation for Seniors (T4S): Developing a New Accessibility Measure to Support Older Adults in a Post-Pandemic World.

SPEAKERS

Andy Hong, University of Utah...

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Image: Salt Lake City overview on a sunny day. Text reads: Transportation Benefits of Polycentric Urban Form, Jan 19, 2021.
 

PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

A “polycentric” region consists of a network of compact developments connected with each other through high-quality transportation options. Rather than continuing the expanse of low-density development radiating from an urban core, investments can be concentrated on central nodes and transit connections. This development pattern is very popular in Europe and is linked to significant benefits. This presentation is aimed at exploring the academic literature and empirical evidence surrounding polycentric development, analyzing more than 120 regional transportation plans to see how they promote polycentric development, defining types of centers in a hierarchy of centers, quantifying the transportation benefits of polycentric development, examining a case study of best practices, and, finally, outlining context-specific strategies for Salt Lake County and the Wasatch Front region.

KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Regional transportation plans suffer from a lack of consistent indicators to designate centers and guide their developments.
  • On average, households living in centers tend to make fewer and shorter automobile trips, take transit more, walk more, and bike less.
  • Tours (a sequence of...
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