Oct 16, 2013
OTREC research recently helped the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) determine where to place traffic management devices.
 
Driving down the freeway, motorists usually appreciate seeing lit-up signs with changing numbers that tell the estimated drive time to an upcoming location. These variable message signs (VMS), also called changeable (CMS) or dynamic message signs (DMS), provide drivers with information that helps them make route decisions.
 
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has put a high priority on the use of VMS to provide travel time estimates to the public.
 
Drive times on the VMS are estimated based on sensors which measure the speed of traffic, and an algorithm to calculate how the traffic will flow.
 
Given the many variables involved, it can be challenging to estimate reliable drive times. ODOT is particularly challenged: the Portland area, with its tight, circular freeway system, can become severely congested after only a couple of minor incidents.
 
That means Dennis Mitchell, ODOT’s Region 1 Traffic Engineer, has an interesting job.
 
Traffic engineers work to ensure the safety and efficiency of public roadways and transportation systems. Mitchell constantly looks for ways to...
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Jun 27, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation heard testimony earlier this month crafted by OTREC regarding continued funding for transportation research and University Transportation Centers.

On June 14, Lynn Peterson, Sustainable Communities and Transportation Policy Advisor to Governor John Kitzhaber delivered testimony (Read The Full Statement Here) prepared by OTREC, the Oregon Department of Transportation and others on how transportation research can maximize the return on investment of taxpayer dollars when it comes to transportation projects. The testimony was given to ensure continued federal support and funding for transportation research in the state of Oregon. In particular, Peterson requested continued support of University Transportation Centers (UTCs), like OTREC.

“The next transportation authorization needs to continue to provide a means of addressing the needs of applied and advanced research which is regional and national in scope,” Peterson said in the testimony. “In Oregon, we have developed a very successful model of collaboration between our research universities and between (OTREC), (ODOT) and local governments. This collaboration allows us to stretch our resources further and leverage our expertise and funding across our institutions, and ensures that research is able to be put into...

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Nov 05, 2010

Chris Monsere, an assistant professor in Portland State University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the "Engineering Education Advocate" award at the Oregon Transportation Safety Awards luncheon in Salem. The award was presented as part of the annual Oregon Transportation Safety Conference, sponsored by the Alliance for Community Traffic Safety and the Oregon Department of Transportation, or ODOT.

The award recognizes Monsere's teaching, research and service activities that have been geared toward improving the safety of Oregon's transportation system. Monsere has been the primary investigator on 11 OTREC projects, many of them related to safety. He's currently evaluating bike boxes designed to improve safety for cyclists. His other projects have focused on building a knowledge-based clearinghouse of safety-related data in Oregon and evaluating the effectiveness of ODOT's Safety Investment Program.

Oct 27, 2010

Students from OTREC programs gave the Oregon Transportation Commission their insights into the future of the transportation professions last week at a commission workshop in Bend. Students from Portland State University, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University joined OTREC researcher Kate Hunter-Zaworski on a panel aimed at providing the commission direction on its role in the changing transportation environment.

Hunter-Zaworski's presentation, "Aging in Place," focused on challenges an aging population places on public transit and other transportation systems. She recommended strategies to help older adults transition to transit use.

Student panelists offered the following:

  • Joe Broach, a Ph.D. student in urban studies at Portland State, discussed the development of next-generation travel models in the Portland region, including the regional bike travel model and the DASH dynamic activity-based travel model.
  • Kristin Kelsey, a University of Oregon architecture graduate student, discussed her work on site design, specifically on suburban multifamily sites.
  • Mary Ann Triska, a civil engineering Ph.D. student at Oregon State, discussed the role of civil engineers as public servants and the importance of both design and rules for different travel modes on shared roadways.

Themes that emerged from the panel include the importance of considering smaller-scale transportation planning, how to safely share road space...

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