Navigating an unfamiliar place is uniquely challenging for people with disabilities. People with blindness, deafblindness, visual impairment or low vision, as well as those who use wheelchairs, can travel more independently in urban areas with the aid of effective wayfinding technology. A new report from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) explores how to leverage low-cost methods to enable people to more easily move through public, urban indoor and outdoor spaces.

The study, led by Martin Swobodzinski and Amy Parker of Portland State University, used focus groups, two case studies, and an in-person structured wayfinding experience on the PSU campus to find the most helpful ways of getting around. Tactile maps were found to be a very useful resource, with an accessible mobile app also showing promise as an orientation and mobility aid.

The researcher will share more details about this project in a free webinar on December 15: Individual Wayfinding in the Context of Visual Impairment, Blindness, and Deafblindness.

WHY IS THIS RESEARCH IMPORTANT?

Environments and...

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Researchers Jennifer Dill, Jiahui Ma, Nathan McNeil, Joseph Broach and John MacArthur of Portland State University have published a new article in the November 2022 issue of Transportation Part D: Transport and Environment. The open-access article, "Factors influencing bike share among underserved populations: Evidence from three U.S. cities," examines bike share use and interest among lower-income residents and people of color in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

There is evidence that lower-income and people of color (POC) in the U.S. do not use bike share as much as higher-income and white people. Using data from residents living near bike share stations in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, the paper examines reasons for these disparities. Researchers looked at many factors that might explain bike share use and interest in lower-income, racially diverse, traditionally underserved neighborhoods. They focused on residents who live near bike share stations, so that proximity would not be a barrier.

A few key findings:

  1. People who are not members, but are interested in using bike share, including POC, are motivated to use bike share for fun, recreation, and social reasons (as opposed to utility).
  2. Knowledge of bike share and receiving information from interactive sources (for example,...
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Would monetary incentives encourage more people to buy e-bikes? 

Portland State University (PSU) researchers are examining how purchase incentive programs can expand the current e-bike market, and the latest product to come out of this research is a white paper released earlier this month: “Using E-Bike Purchase Incentive Programs to Expand the Market – North American Trends and Recommended Practices (PDF)

The paper offers methods of identifying the most effective program structure for the incentive provider's priorities, and helpful information on how to administer and track the program. 

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How could a free transportation class for people living in the Salt Lake City region strengthen community conversations and advocacy around local priorities in transportation policy? Researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and University of Utah (UU) explored that question by bringing a well-known learning model from Portland, Oregon to SLC.

For over 25 years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has partnered with PSU to offer the Portland Traffic and Transportation Course – a free 10-week course designed to provide local community members the skills and knowledge to participate in transportation decisions affecting their neighborhoods. This model has proven to be a success story in public agency-university partnership in community education. Building upon a 2015 project that documented the Portland course and developed a curriculum handbook, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) has provided more funding for a pilot community transportation class–the Wasatch Transportation Academy– in Salt Lake, City Utah. Their first class was held on January 24, 2022 (view class recordings here) and ran through...

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