Sep 25, 2013
Imagine you are in downtown Portland, you have a meeting in 45 minutes, and you are hungry. You have a bike, but where could you get food and still make it to your meeting on time?  What if you walked? Or took transit? 
WithinReach is an Android-phone App designed to answer these types of questions. It was created by six PSU students for the Computer Science Capstone program.
The app provides the user with a map of locations reachable by foot, bike or transit from their current location, within a time period that the user can specify. Users can also search for nearby locations of interest via integration with Google places, and set a specific date/time/location for future planning.
The Capstone project was proposed by OTREC researchers Kristin Tufte, Jon Makler, and Morgan Harvey, who specified the functionality they wanted the program to have but left it up to students whether to develop it for a web-based platform or as a smartphone app.
When group members Kyle Greene, Alex Flyte, Clinton Olson, Haneen Abu-Khater, Hanrong Zhao, and Vi Nguyen heard about the transportation-focused project, they jumped at the chance to work on it, excited about the prospect of developing an application that would be useful in a real world environment. 
 
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Jul 26, 2013

OTREC had visitors on Wednesday, July 24.

A delegation of six ECTRI directors from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, and Finland are finishing up a "Scanning Tour" of the United States, and OTREC was the third stop on their four-stop tour.

The European Conference of Transport Research Institutes, or ECTRI, is an international non-profit organization. Its members are 26 major transport research institutes or universities from 19 European countries, and its mission is to help build the "European Research Area" (ERA) in transport.

The 2013 Scanning Tour's theme is "Transport and Liveability: Sustainabiity of urban areas." Assisted by the Transportation Research Board, ECTRI made four stops in the USA: Washington, D.C., to participate in the TRB conference; Cambridge and Boston, Mass. for a visit to Volpe and to MIT's freight lab; Portland, Ore., to talk with Jennifer Dill and John MacArthur about OTREC's sustainable transportation program; and finally Davis, Calif., to visit the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis.

Wednesday's visit was brief and pleasant. OTREC staff gave the delegation a presentation about the work that OTREC does and its sustainable cities initiative, followed by questions...

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Jul 18, 2013

The 2013 Oregon Transportation Summit will take place this fall, on September 16 at Portland State University. The summit brings together transportation professionals to shape the agenda for future research, and this year's plenary speaker addresses new federal legislation which will have a direct affect on that agenda.

Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution will deliver the remarks at the summit's morning plenary session. The topic is MAP-21, a new act which was passed by Congress in 2012. Short for "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century," the act redistributes the scope and responsibilities of transportation departments at all levels, from municipal to federal.

"What MAP-21 essentially did is, it enhanced the evolution that's available within the federal program," Tomer said. "Because it is an overarching policy, it touches on every actor in the system in a unique way." For example, "MPOs (Metropolitan Planning Organizations) are now tasked with collecting performance measurements ... and state offices are pushed to do a little more planning when it comes to freight."

In general under the new law, "states have more authority to spend federal money in the ways they want than before," Tomer said. 
This flexibility at the state level is the answer Tomer would give to those who worry that the new act will cut funding for bikes and walking. Although there is less funding designated for bicycling and...
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May 03, 2012

Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning, the OTREC-funded transportation student group at Portland State University, held its biggest-ever Urban Olympics, the annual celebration of Portland’s quirks and oddities. The 2012 games, held in April, featured participation from planning, engineering and public health departments.

Teams competed in games such as Urban NASCAR, which included slow-biking and gummy worm-eating components, and the noncopyright-infringing “Astonishing Rush” scavenger hunt. The first-year master of urban and regional planning, or MURP, students took the participation award, with 16 competitors, while the best department award went to the second-year MURPs.

The best team award went to Team Jellis, composed of Jamie Jones and Scotty Ellis. More awards are at the STEP website.

Photos are after the jump.

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