In a big step forward for nonmotorized planning, a dashboard with bike data from the Washington, D.C. metro area is coming to BikePed Portal. Previously, a planner looking to see the latest biking numbers for the nation's capital would have to look at info from several jurisdictions, including Arlington County, the City of Alexandra, the District Department of Transportation, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, and the National Park Service, which manages counters on several trails and natural areas in the greater metro area.

Now, with funding from a National Park Service (NPS) Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU), a unique program that facilitates partnerships between federal and non-federal entities and research institutions, Virginia Tech and the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) are teaming up with data specialists at Portland State University (PSU) to create a new dashboard that will allow users to see all the D.C. bike data together in one place.

Housed at PSU's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), BikePed Portal...

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If you're biking through Cincinnati, Ohio in the next couple of years and find yourself pedaling on a Portland-style neighborhood greenway or two-way protected bike lane, it might be because two engineers from the City of Cincinnati's Department of Transportation & Engineering—Joe Conway and Brian Goubeaux—attended our Comprehensive Bikeway Design Workshop in the summer of 2022 and brought some inspiration home.

The City of Cincinnati is in the process of updating its Bicycle Transportation Plan, adopted in 2010 and due for a refresh. Goubeaux, a senior engineer for the City, said that design strategies and practices he learned during the summer workshop will likely find their way into the plan.

"We've been looking at implementing a neighborhood greenway. We've always had neighborhood greenways as a tool in the toolbox; it's always been listed on paper, but nothing has ever fully been implemented. So now as we're updating our bike plan, over the next six months or so, we're looking to include that as a priority for...

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Navigating an unfamiliar place is uniquely challenging for people with disabilities. People with blindness, deafblindness, visual impairment or low vision, as well as those who use wheelchairs, can travel more independently in urban areas with the aid of effective wayfinding technology. A new report from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) explores how to leverage low-cost methods to enable people to more easily move through public, urban indoor and outdoor spaces.

The study, led by Martin Swobodzinski and Amy Parker of Portland State University, used focus groups, two case studies, and an in-person structured wayfinding experience on the PSU campus to find the most helpful ways of getting around. Tactile maps were found to be a very useful resource, with an accessible mobile app also showing promise as an orientation and mobility aid.

The researcher will share more details about this project in a free webinar on December 15: Individual Wayfinding in the Context of Visual Impairment, Blindness, and Deafblindness.

WHY IS THIS RESEARCH IMPORTANT?

Environments and...

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Active transportation investments offer many types of benefits related to safety, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, physical activity and the economy. Metro, Oregon’s regional government for the Portland metropolitan area, wants to better understand the role of these investments in building stronger communities in their region, and in implementing the Metro 2040 Growth Concept.

Led by Portland State University in partnership with Metro, the Active Transportation Return on Investment (ATROI) study looked at twelve projects constructed in the greater Portland region between 2001 and 2016. These twelve 2040 Catalyst Projects were evaluated to determine if active transportation investments had significant effects on...

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Interested in active transportation research? What’s been done? What should be done? 

We’re excited to share the release of the Research Roadmap for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Council on Active Transportation (CAT). The Roadmap was created to foster research that will address important active transportation needs at the state DOT level and beyond. 

Funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), a team of researchers from the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University (PSU) and Toole Design prepared the Research Roadmap over the past 18 months. They reviewed existing and on-going active transportation research, identified key research needs from a wide range of sources, and held outreach activities with practitioners to refine and prioritize those needs.

The project offers guidance on where active transportation research has been, and where it should go next in developing speed management strategies to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety on arterial roadways, determining context-driven optimal spacing between marked crosswalks, addressing racial and economic disparities in safety improvements, refining guidance on bicycle signal timing, overcoming barriers to implementing active transportation in planning and engineering practice, and many more research questions:

  • The...
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Principal Investigator: Patrick Singleton, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the related presentations and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

Normally we assume that travel is a means to an end, but the latest NITC report examines other benefits of travel—aspects that aren’t about reaching a destination.

One such benefit is travel-based multitasking. A good example of this is using time on a commuter train to listen to music, relax or get some work done. The simple enjoyment of a walk in the fresh air relates to another benefit, known as subjective well-being, in which the act of travel itself makes a person feel better. These intrinsic benefits can impact travel behavior and mode choice, but our current models don’t have any way to reflect this.

NITC fellow Patrick Singleton investigated the policy and planning implications of this in his dissertation, Exploring The Positive Utility Of Travel And Mode Choice.

"The way we analyze travel behavior assumes people want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. We don’t include the...

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While it’s generally accepted that dense, mixed-use development promotes active travel, researchers don’t have a consensus on exactly how, and to what degree, land use determines people’s travel patterns.

NITC’s latest report, Active Travel Behavior and Spatial-Temporal Land Use Mixing, provides some clarity on the topic.

NITC fellow Steven Gehrke focused his dissertation research on transportation-land use interaction, and sees land use mix as a multidimensional construct.

“We can refocus—away from increasing density—and think more about how we configure land uses,” Gehrke said.

According to Gehrke’s research, more density does not necessarily equal more walking. Rather, the complementarity, composition, and configuration of land use types is essential for cultivating walkability.

Gehrke, who graduates this spring with a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Portland State University, conducted three empirical studies under his dissertation grant. The first focused on improving measurements of land use mix, introducing a land use mix measurement of the composition and configuration of local land use types.

The second study looked at other smart growth principles, like employment concentration and pedestrian-...

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The 2017 Oregon Active Transportation Summit is happening, and TREC and Portland State University are well represented.

The event began yesterday, March 20th, and continues through today at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. In a breakout session yesterday afternoon, TREC researchers Sirisha Kothuri and Tara Goddard presented along with Rebecca Sanders of Toole Design Group in a session titled “The Latest in Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Research” which explored systemic safety analysis, safety performance along road segments, and the psychology of roadway interactions.

Kothuri is a postdoctoral researcher and Goddard is a current Ph.D. candidate at Portland State. Both of them have been former NITC dissertation fellows, and Goddard presented her dissertation research on the effects of explicit and implicit attitudes on self-reported safety behaviors in yesterday’s session.

Both Kothuri and Goddard are also working on ongoing research through the NITC program. Goddard studies transportation psychology and Kothuri’s research centers on bicycle and pedestrian safety and signal timing.

Kothuri was also a presenter in a morning session yesterday, “Making...

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Vanessa Garrison didn’t set out to build a health movement. Growing up in Seattle’s Central District, a historically black neighborhood, Garrison just wanted her household and her community to be healthy.

“It was a challenge for me to develop solutions that work for the women I love,” Garrison said.

Those solutions, however, did set off a movement: GirlTrek, a community-based walking movement that has reached 250,000 black women and girls across the country. Garrison co-founded GirlTrek and serves as its chief operating officer.

> Garrison will tell her story at the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture Oct. 19 at Portland State University. Reserve a space if you plan to attend.

“Seattle is one of the most active cities in the country, but my household was completely inactive,” Garrison said. “All the women in my family were really experiencing health challenges due to chronic disease.”

Those problems ran deeper than simply inactivity. Obesity and inactivity often have roots in concerns about safety and other community issues built on historical trauma and systemic racism. A fitness-only approach, Garrison reasoned, would fail to overcome these powerful forces.

With friend Morgan Dixon, who would become her GirlTrek co-...

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A new NITC project has developed a robust pedestrian demand estimation tool, the first of its kind in the country.

Using the tool, planners can predict pedestrian trips with spatial acuity.

The research was completed in partnership with Oregon Metro, and will allow Metro to allocate infrastructure based on pedestrian demand in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.

In a previous project completed last year as part of the same partnership, the lead investigator, Kelly Clifton, developed a way to collect data about the pedestrian environment on a small, neighborhood scale that made sense for walk trips. For more about how that works, click here to read our news coverage of that project. 

Following the initial project, the next step was to take that micro-level pedestrian data and use it to predict destination choice. For every walk trip generated by the model in the first project, this tool matches it to a likely destination based on traveler characteristics and environmental attributes.

Patrick Singleton, a graduate student researcher at Portland State...

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