A streetcar crosses a road with a bicycle signal, with a light rail train visible on an overpass overhead.
Jul 28, 2020

Portland State University researchers have received funding for five new transportation research projects via the National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC), a research consortium funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and led by Portland State. The projects listed below have been awarded to PSU faculty along with some inter-university collaborators, and will investigate a range of topics from leveraging advanced technology to create smart transportation systems to improving universal access and equity: 

Led by Avinash Unnikrishnan, Miguel Figliozzi and Subhash Kochar of Portland State University

Travel time reliability is a key metric of interest to practitioners and researchers. This project will evaluate and develop methods to determine confidence intervals and hypothesis tests for select travel time reliability parameters. The researchers will also study the applicability of existing travel time reliability metrics for class one vehicles (bicycles and motorbikes) and the feasibility of defining an overall travel time reliability of an arterial segment that considers all modes. 

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Jaime Orrego-Onate, wearing glasses and an orange T-shirt, faces the camera with a mountain in the background.
Jul 21, 2020
  • Learn more about Jaime Orrego-Oñate: Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn


 Jaime Orrego-Oñate, a civil engineering PhD candidate at Portland State University (PSU), has been awarded a $15,000 Oregon Sylff Fellowship for International Research. As a Chilean national completing a Ph.D. in transportation engineering at PSU, Jaime is poised to promote the expansion of American research abroad into countries that lack research resources. His research focuses on understanding the role of the urban form in active transportation decisions. With his work, he hopes to address an information gap between pedestrians’ motivations to walk and how urban planners can encourage this behavior. This is of particular importance in the context of Jaime's home region, Latin America, where walking has been decreasing due to the rise of use of private automobiles.

"I want to spearhead positive change by convincing societies like mine that they can improve urban development," Orrego-Oñate said.

The Sylff program aims to identify and nurture leaders who will overcome differences in nationality, language, ethnicity, religion, and political systems to tackle global issues, and whose high integrity and drive to address issues unique to their respective countries can make a real difference....

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A view through the front windshield of a car, with two bicyclists on the road ahead.
Jul 21, 2020
Photo by Pav_1007 on iStock
Jaclyn Schaefer, Miguel Figliozzi, and Avinash Unnikrishnan; Portland State University

The new article Evidence from Urban Roads without Bicycle Lanes on the Impact of Bicycle Traffic on Passenger Car Travel Speeds published in Transportation Research Record, the Journal of the Transportation Research Board, demonstrates that bicycles do not significantly reduce passenger car travel speeds on low speed, low volume urban roads without bicycle lanes. Authored by Jaclyn Schaefer, Miguel Figliozzi, and Avinash Unnikrishnan of Portland State University, the research shows that differences in vehicle speeds with and without cyclists were generally on the order of 1 mph or less – negligible from a practical perspective.

A concern raised by...

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Webinar: A National Scan of Bike Share Equity Programs. Image shows three young women biking away from the camera.
Jul 21, 2020
 Photo credit: Ian Sane

OVERVIEW

Connecting with cities and bike share operators from across the United States, Portland State University conducted a nationwide scan on what programs and initiatives were running to address equity in bike share. The report “National Scan of Bike Share Equity Programs” documents responses from over 70 bike share systems. This resource will help cities and operators navigate the range of actions that have been implemented to make bike share systems more equitable, examine successful strategies employed across the U.S., and understand how those successes (and challenges) are being measured and articulated. In doing so, we hope the report helps bike share systems learn from the experiences of others, innovate, and more quickly move toward greater equity. The research team will be joined by a bike share operator to discuss what they learned, best practices, and where they see the future of bike share equity programs headed.

THE RESEARCH

This webinar is based on a study funded by the Better Bike Share Partnership and the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and conducted at Portland State University. Read more...

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E-bikes
Jun 29, 2020

MOBILITY BY E-BIKE STUDY

Share your trips with transportation researchers to grow knowledge about e-bike mobility and sustainability.

We're seeking e-bike users from all over the U.S. to join a new research project led by John MacArthur of Portland State University and Chris Cherry of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They're looking at the sustainability effects of e-bikes and utilitarian travel behavior of e-bike users, including origin, destination, route, time, speed, mode replacement, and trip purpose. Passively share your trips with us - just plug in a dongle, download our app, and ride like you normally do. The study is open to U.S.-based participants who ride an e-bike with a Bosch onboard computer, and use an iPhone.

Questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions. To learn more and participate, visit the Mobility By E-Bike Study project website.

HOW DOES THE STUDY WORK?

1) Instrumentation

Researchers developed a low-impact instrumentation platform that leverages and merges the unique capabilities of e-bike and smartphone sensors. This technology relies on communication between the e-bike and...

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A close-up view of the motor mounted on the back of an e-bike, behind the rider's seat.
Jun 25, 2020

Authored by Mike McQueen and John MacArthur, Portland State University

Electric bikes (e-bikes) are quickly becoming common in U.S. cities and suburbs, but we still have a ways to go compared to our neighbors across the Atlantic.  In recent years, e-bike sales have steadily increased with unprecedented growth in Europe, especially in the Netherlands. Can the U.S. catch up? E-bikes offer a cheaper alternative to car travel and also provide physical activity. Riders with limited physical ability find that e-bikes extend their overall mobility. Beyond the practical, e-bikes are also just fun to ride. In fact, e-bikes encourage users to cycle farther and more often than conventional bicycles. More importantly to local and regional U.S. governments, e-bikes could be a useful tool to address our current climate crisis by reducing transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Related research: MacArthur and McQueen are also...

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TREC awards for 2017, 2018 and 2019 bike to work month
May 28, 2020

Authored by Tammy Lee, Transportation Data Manager, Portland State University

Traditionally, the month of May is Bike to Work Month. Last year this time, Oregon logged 179,177 trips for a total of 1,374,835 miles by 10,397 riders. And last year this time TREC was winning the PSU bike to work month department challenge. So what are we seeing in the data now?

For continuity from the last time we posted some bike volume observations, we’re again showing data from the Hawthorne Bridge and Tilikum Crossing (Figure 1) in Portland, Oregon. At the moment, daily volume across the Hawthorne Bridge remains relatively low. Typically we’d expect bike volumes across the Hawthorne would be higher in May, especially because if this were “normal” times we’d be competing in the Bike to Work Month challenge. Bike volumes across the Tilikum show higher volumes beginning in April, especially on the weekends since the March 23, stay-at-home order was issued.

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a TOD in Portland
May 21, 2020
Photo by Nathan McNeil
Nathan McNeil and Jennifer Dill, Portland State University

Does living in a transit-oriented development (TOD) actually change the way people travel? That's the fundamental question that 15 years of research in Portland, Oregon seeks to answer.

Since 2005, Portland State University has worked with Portland’s Metro regional government to survey occupants of buildings for which developers had received funding from...

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Scholars
May 19, 2020

Each year, through our Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) program, TREC offers a range of scholarships to assist students pursuing equitable, sustainable, and multimodal transportation. Four Portland State University students were awarded TREC scholarships for the 2020/2021 academic year: Darshan Chauhan of civil & environmental engineering, and Robert Hemphill, Philip Longenecker and Briana Orr of urban studies & planning.


Darshan Chauhan (Walter H. Kramer Fellowship)

Darshan Chauhan (see his NITC student spotlight here) is a graduate research assistant in civil engineering at Portland State University. He has served as the treasurer of STEP (Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning), PSU's transportation student group, and generously volunteers his time at a variety of transportation-related events via PSU's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC). He defended his masters thesis on network flow problems in fall 2019, and is now a PhD student in the civil engineering...

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