A blindfolded woman navigates a wheelchair up a ramp
Jul 10, 2018

On Sunday, July 1, a group of blindfolded Portland State University students were seated in wheelchairs, struggling not to drop their long white canes while using both hands to roll between obstacles. Taking turns under simulated low-vision and mobility conditions, they attempted to follow the spoken instructions of orientation and mobility instructor Scott Crawford. Many of these PSU students hope to one day have a job like his.

Crawford has over 27 years teaching experience working with Blind and Low Vision individuals. He travels around the United States giving hands-on lessons in orientation and mobility, and PSU Assistant Professor Amy Parker was excited to host him as a guest lecturer at TriMet's indoor Transit Mobility Center in Northwest Portland. In addition to teaching, Parker is the coordinator of PSU’s new Orientation and Mobility Program under the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and her students are learning to be O&M specialists. Unaccustomed to navigating in wheelchairs, much less blindfolds, the students learned valuable lessons as they fumbled, took wrong turns and bumped into guard rails. See photos from the event.

This workshop is just the latest in...

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Mar 31, 2016

Protected bicycle lanes have gained popularity as a safer way to get more people cycling. Earlier research from the Transportation Research and Education Center, TREC, at Portland State University showed that people feel safer in lanes with a physical barrier between bicycle and motor vehicle traffic.

The research hadn’t closely studied the intersections, where the barriers—and the protection they offer—go away. With little research guidance, agencies across the country could face the prospect of using untested approaches or avoiding protected lanes altogether.

TREC, through its National Institute for Transportation and Communities pooled-fund program, is now addressing intersections for protected lanes. The program lets agencies and interested partners invest small amounts to join research with a national impact. For this project, 11 partners each put $5,000 to $50,000 toward the $250,000 cost.

The project will help agencies decide which intersection treatments to use in which cases, and what elements each should include. Toole Design Group will work with the Portland State research team to tailor the results to practitioners.
 
“Right now, it’s based on their judgment,” said...

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Feb 16, 2015

The Federal Transit Administration has announced a $945,000 grant for a Portland State University project to help transportation agencies respond to regional emergencies. The project is led by TREC, with partners TriMet, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management and Metro.

The announcement came as part of $29 million in grants through the FTA’s Innovative Safety, Resiliency, and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstration program. The grants will help transit agencies improve safety, better withstand natural disasters, and respond more effectively to emergencies. A list of selected projects is available online.

The TREC project will develop and test a transportation demand management system that uses social media and intelligent transportation systems for large-scale emergency response and recovery. While managing demand is a cornerstone of campaigns to reduce private vehicle trips, it is often absent from emergency recovery plans, said project lead John MacArthur of TREC.

“This looks at how transit can be a reliable backbone to keep a city functioning,” MacArthur said. “That means during the response period, but also during recovery, which can last a long time.”

Agency partners expressed enthusiasm for the collaborative approach to an issue they all face.

“TriMet provides shelter buses for small-scale...

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Jan 09, 2015

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