Jun 18, 2014

When it comes to transportation investments, states have a good measure of automobile traffic to inform decisions: vehicle miles traveled. Bicycling and walking don't have a similar measure, leaving more guesswork in planning for those modes.

OTREC research associate Krista Nordback is helping to fix that disparity for Washington state. Working with graduate assistant Michael Sellinger, Nordback has published a research report presenting methods to estimate cycling and walking in the state.

The research is part of a larger effort, which includes Nordback's NITC research project, to create and apply pedestrian-miles-traveled and bicycle-miles-traveled -- PMT and BMT, resepectively -- measures at the state level. In the report, Nordback recommends improvements to Washington's Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project and outlines how PMT and BMT could be estimated.

Washington already leads the nation in its nonmotorized count program, collecting bike and pedestrian counts in more than 30 cities across the state. The statewide focus of Nordback's project sets it apart from similar studies limited to the local or regional level.

The report identifies key needs for programs such as Washington's, including more counts in rural areas and the need to combine short-duration...

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Mar 10, 2014

The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation hosted its first Webinar Feb. 27, with OTREC researcher Krista Nordback providing an overview of bicycle and pedestrian count programs for the 250-plus registered participants.

The Webinar marks an expansion of IBPI’s professional development offerings, which now also include a sustainable transportation study-abroad program and a wider selection of workshops geared toward transportation professionals and university instructors. Webinar participants were eligible to receive continuing education credits, new this year for IBPI live Webinars and in-person workshops.

While the title of the Webinar, “We are Traffic: Creating Robust Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Programs,” asserts a place for walking and bicycling in traffic discussions, Nordback began with a question: If we really believe that bicycling and walking are modes of traffic, how is that going to change how we measure those modes?

Nordback outlined the Federal Highway Administration’s Traffic Monitoring Guide, published last year. She covered why counting and understanding bicycle and pedestrian volumes is...

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Oct 29, 2012

This fall, the Friday transportation seminar series at Portland State University has focused on data collection and how information is used to make transportation investments. The Oct. 26 seminar, with the University of Minnesota’s Greg Lindsey, covered tracking and modeling travel behavior.

Engineers and planners alike have relied on traffic counts for their traffic models, but data behind bike and pedestrian travel has been fuzzy. Now, researchers such as Lindsey are offering new methods for conducting bike and pedestrian counts on trails and multiuse paths.

With little guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, Lindsey said, most of the efforts in creating best practices have bubbled up from communities like the Twin Cities, chosen as Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Cities. Lindsey and his researchers monitored six trails in Minneapolis, using inductive loops and infrared beams.

To address calibration problems and offer validity to their field numbers, Lindsey also sent students into the field to verify counts. The technology allowed for finer-grained detail, especially over a 24-hour period. OTREC Director Jennifer Dill noted, “Too much in the past we’ve lumped “bike and peds” together and your work and analysis is demonstrating that they truly are different modes, with different behaviors.”

Lindsey stressed the importance of conducting this type of research, and measuring our “bicycle miles traveled” and “pedestrian miles traveled” in...

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