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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NITC researchers have created a design manual to aid traffic engineers, transportation planners, elected officials, businesses and community stakeholders in re-envisioning their streets.
 
Traditionally, road design in the U.S. has been based on the simple principle of moving as many cars as possible.
 
The ...
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The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) is teaming up with Alta Planning + Design to offer a firsthand, on-the-ground training opportunity at the end of October.

They will teach a trail design course at Portland State University, with field tours of some of Portland's biggest trail challenges and best solutions.

Course instructors are Alta associates Robin Wilcox, George Hudson, and Karen Vitkay. They will share their experience and provide examples from some of the best trails around the country.

Multi-use trails, not accessible by car but meant to be shared by pedestrians, cyclists and the occasional leashed dog, are pleasant routes by almost anyone’s standards. Often winding through wooded areas or along waterways, insulated from the noise of traffic and offering contact with nature, they present an attractive alternative to cyclists who are not as comfortable riding on busy streets.

While any segment of trail can offer a pleasant stroll, the true beauty of shared-use trails lies in being able to use them: as an alternate, off-street means of travel, a route to school or a way to get to work in the morning. A widespread switch from driving on streets to...

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In 2009, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the Copenhagen Wheel, a device that converts an ordinary bicycle into a hybrid e-bike.

An e-bike is considered a motorized bicycle under Massachusetts law. This means that once the 13-pound, 26-inch Copenhagen Wheel is attached to the rear wheel of a bicycle, the resulting vehicle requires a driver’s license to operate, must be registered with the DMV, and its rider must wear, not just a bike helmet, but a motorcycle helmet to be in compliance with the law.

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are well established in China and other Asian and European countries but market adoption has been slow in the United States.

Part of the reason could be that the law is often nebulous where e-bikes are concerned.

NITC researchers at Portland State University conducted a policy review revealing the current state of legislation regarding e-bikes in the United States and Canada.

The report, Regulations of E-Bikes in North America, provides a summary of legal definitions and requirements surrounding the use of electric-assist bicycles in each of the 50 states, Washington D.C. and 13 Canadian provinces.

No two jurisdictions are exactly alike in their legal treatment of this relatively new mode...

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Three Portland State University graduate students in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning used GIS technology to collect and analyze residents’ thoughts about walkability needs for Portland, Oregon’s northeast Cully neighborhood.

Their report, Engaging Cully, was the final product of a ten-week course called Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS), taught by PSU professor Vivek Shandas.

In PPGIS, community input is used to create GIS-based data and diagnostics maps which can inform planners’ decision-making process. Team members Travis Driessen, Brandi Campbell and Eduardo Montejo worked with community-based organizations and residents to assess the needs of the Cully neighborhood’s pedestrian network using PPGIS methods.

Prior to this project, Driessen, who is working toward a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems at PSU, was already collaborating with David Hampsten, a board member of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association and member of the East Portland Action Plan, to help Prioritize Portland! – a coalition consisting of multiple organizations including the Northeast Coalition...

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New research from NITC looks at Health Impact Assessment, or HIA, in transportation planning.

The leading causes of death in the United States are no longer communicable diseases. Instead, chronic conditions linked to behaviors and shaped by environments—such as obesity and diabetes—are today’s most pressing public health concerns.

HIA is a way of evaluating the effects that planning decisions will have on public health.

Researcher Nicole Iroz-Elardo studied this relatively new endeavor, analyzing and comparing three contemporary case studies in HIA.

She will share her findings in an IBPI webinar on July 16, 2014.

By engaging professionals from multiple disciplines, HIA can give planners a larger knowledge base to inform decisions. 

In a collaborative process that did not emerge in the U.S. until 1999, stakeholders and community members engage with public health professionals to identify and deliberate about health interests related to the proposed plan.

They generally focus on health equity, and use as a framework the social determinants of health: a broad range of factors developed...

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