Returning to primarily on-campus learning, the fall term at Portland State University starts September 27, 2021. See PSU’s COVID-19 Student Resources for the latest info on our campus vaccination requirement for students and staff. Some in-person courses may shift to offer an online or hybrid attendance option as the situation evolves; stay tuned for any updates. 

Students enrolled in a PSU degree program can register online. Not a current PSU graduate student? Lifelong adult learning is a guiding principle of PSU, and you can still take these courses through the non-degree application process or as a post-baccalaureate student (opens Sept. 7th). Taking a course is one way to see if one of our PSU graduate degree programs...

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The National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research consortium, led by Portland State University, has awarded $485,456 in total funding for seven new research projects spanning five universities. With the extension of the FAST Act, NITC received one additional year of funding, and given this limited time frame, we emphasized projects that were relatively short in length, relied on existing expertise, and would yield specific outputs and outcomes. Several of the projects have an equity focus, and much of the research aims to make it easier to get around multimodally and/or by walking. The seven new projects are:

Led by Danya Rumore of the University of Utah and Philip Stoker of the University of Arizona
  • Rumore and Stoker focus on the unique transportation challenges of 'gateway' communities, or small towns adjacent to natural areas that attract large populations. Their previous...
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If you could securely pick up your packages on your commute by public transit, from any carrier—be it USPS, FedEx, UPS or other companies, would you? Transit agencies could be missing a potential strategy to increase ridership by offering common carrier parcel lockers at transit facilities. 

Mitigating the demands on our urban transportation networks by consolidating parcel deliveries at high trafficked transit facilities could also benefit retailers, logistics and carrier companies, and consumers. But how do we ensure the equitable distribution of these sites for disadvantaged populations, while keeping accessibility in mind?

Using real world data from the Portland, OR region, a new study from researchers at Portland State University (PSU) offers a multiple-criteria approach using accessibility and equity metrics, including ridership, mode of transportation, spatial distribution, and sociodemographic profiles of coverage areas. 

Limited Free Access: The article in Transportation Research Record, "Accessibility and Equity Analysis of Transit Facility Sites for Common Carrier Parcel Lockers," by Katherine Keeling, Jaclyn Schaefer and Miguel Figliozzi, will be...

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How can we use a variety of data-driven speed management strategies to make transportation safer and more efficient for all modes–whether you’re driving, walking or taking transit?

The project was led by Yao Jan Wu, director of the Smart Transportation Lab at the University of Arizona. Co-investigators were Xianfeng Terry Yang of the University of Utah, who researches traffic operations and modeling along with connected automated vehicles, and Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University, whose research has focused on improving signal timing to better serve pedestrians. Join them on Sept 15, 2021 for a free webinar to learn more.

"We want to improve mobility for all users, be it pedestrians, vehicle drivers or transit riders, and there are different strategies to do this. How do we harness data to drive us to these strategies?" Kothuri said.

Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), this multi-university collaboration addressed the question from three angles:

  • Wu and his students in Arizona looked at the impact of speed management strategies on conventional roadways...
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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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Research demonstrates that marginalized populations experience significant barriers in accessing transit. The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) and the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative (HRAC) at Portland State University are working with the University of Utah in a project funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) to understand how people from selected historically marginalized communities experience discrimination and harassment on transit and in public areas such as sidewalks, bus stops, and transit platforms when accessing transit.

The study will be conducted in two sites: Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah. In Portland, the study population will include racially and ethnically diverse people experiencing homelessness and people who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming; and ride TriMet. In Salt Lake City, the study population will include people experiencing homelessness as well as diverse groups based on their gender, racial, and ethnic identity; who ride Utah Transit Authority. We are seeking transit riders to help inform the study through photos and interviews. Participants will be compensated up to $50 for their labor. The researchers will be recruiting participants for this study through the end of August. 

PARTICIPATION INVOLVES:

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We're proud to announce the publication of a new NITC dissertation: "Methodologies to Quantify Transit Performance Metrics at the System-Level," by Travis Glick of Portland State University.

Performance metrics have typically focused at two main scales: a microscopic scale that focuses on specific locations, time-periods, and trips; and, a macroscopic scale that averages metrics over longer times, entire routes, and networks. When applied to entire transit systems, microscopic methodologies often have computational limitations while macroscopic methodologies ascribe artificial uniformity to non-uniform analysis areas. These limitations highlight the need for a middle approach. This dissertation presents a mesoscopic analysis based around timepoint-segments, which are a novel application of an existing system for many transit agencies.

In the United States, fix-route transit is typically defined by a small subset of bus stops along each route, called timepoints. For this research, routes are divided into a consecutive group of bus stops with one timepoint at the center. Each timepoint-segment includes all data collected in that segment during one hour of operation. Visuals for congestion and headway performance, based on the aggregated datasets, are designed to...

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Our multi-year study on automated transit fare collection offers a key finding that won't surprise you: Despite the convenience, the rush toward cashless fare systems has created barriers for lower-income riders seeking to use transit. Results from focus groups, surveys, and a review of current transit agency practices suggest that continuing to accept cash is a crucial way to keep transit accessible. However, dealing with cash has drawbacks: it’s time intensive and expensive. Using a detailed cost-benefit model, the researchers explored the costs for agencies to maintain some cash options and found that some simple approaches can be quite effective. The best bang for the buck? Cash collection on board buses.

Launched in 2019, the research project "Applying an Equity Lens to Automated Payment Solutions for Public Transportation" was supported by a Pooled Fund grant program from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and conducted at three universities: Portland State University (PSU), the University of Oregon (UO), and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). The other funding partners were City of Eugene, OR, City of Gresham, OR, Lane Transit District, Clevor Consulting Group, and RTD (Regional Transportation District) Denver....

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Last month, Portland State University announced the 2021 awards for faculty and staff excellence for research, graduate mentoring and research administration. The awards are among the university's highest honors. The 2021 Presidential Career Research Award recipient is Jennifer Dill. Dill is a professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Director of the Transportation Research & Education Center at PSU, and Director of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, a national university transportation center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

TREC Communications Director Cait McCusker interviewed Dr. Dill last week to learn more about the origin and trajectory of her career in transportation research at PSU.

What led you to choose transportation research as your career?

Growing up in the 1970’s, I was surrounded by environmental issues. It was the time of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the EPA, Earth Day, pollution, the oil crisis...all of that shaping my view on the world. When I went to undergraduate at UC Davis I knew I wanted to do something related to environmental policy and cities. Cities held a certain fascination for me, and in college I started...

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The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is a department of the state government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for systems of transportation. It was first established in 1969 and has a passionate, talented, diverse workforce of almost 5,000. This story was originally shared in ODOT'S February 2021 Oregon Toll Program newsletter.


Francisco Ibarra, a Toll Program planning intern, is currently attending Portland State University for his Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree. Francisco is from East Portland and has lived in Gresham for most of his life. Francisco knows the importance of collaborative planning with community members.

As a research assistant to the Toll Program Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee [at ODOT], Francisco attends meetings, listens to questions, and follows up with researched answers. Recently, he completed research on air quality monitoring related to transportation and health. He is ready to provide help to support the Toll Program and committee in every way he can.

"This project is...

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