In June 2019, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) launched a new incentive package aimed at making transportation more accessible for low-income households. In the "Transportation Wallet for Residents of Affordable Housing" pilot program, people living in affordable housing developments received access to free transportation options like transit passes, bike or scooter share memberships, rideshare and carshare credits.

Portland State University researchers evaluated the pilot program to find out how participants used the Transportation Wallet and how it helped them use different transport modes to get around.

A February 2021 paper in Transportation Research Record by Huijun Tan, Nathan McNeil, John MacArthur and Kelly Rodgers presents insights into the implementation and effectiveness of a transportation financial incentive program for low-income populations. Access the paper: "Evaluation of a Transportation Incentive Program for Affordable Housing Residents."

Main findings include:

  1. The financial support of this program encouraged some participants to use new mobility services (including Uber/Lyft, bike share, and e-scooter) that they had never used before.
  2. The program increased access for participants, helping them make more trips and, for some, get to places they otherwise could not have gone.
  3. Transportation fairs, where...
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The city of Portland is using research and expertise from TREC researchers to change how it calculates fees for new development. Developers pay the fees, called transportation system development charges, to offset some of the costs of providing transportation infrastructure.
 
The foundation for those fees has been cars: that is, how many car trips a development will generate. In December, the Portland City Council voted to instead use “person trips” as the basis for those fees.
 
Researchers Kelly Clifton and Kristina Currans have assembled an impressive portfolio of research projects on trip generation. Their research caught the attention of city officials, who brought Clifton and Currans in as consultants to help them rethink the way they assess new fees for development.
 
Their work found a receptive audience of practitioners at TREC’s flagship conference, the Transportation and Communities Summit, last fall. Clifton and Currans held a workshop on improving trip generation methods to better represent the mix of modes found in livable communities. That led to a collaboration with transportation consultants...

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