In order to make sure bicyclists' needs are considered when improving a transportation system, planners and engineers need to know how many people are biking, and where. 

Traditional bicycle counters can provide data for limited sections of the bike network, often these counters are installed at important locations like trails or bridges. While limited in location, they count everyone who bikes by. Meanwhile, GPS & mobile data cover the entire transportation network, but that data only represents those travelers who are using smartphones or GPS. Combining the traditional location-based data sources with this new, crowdsourced data could offer better accuracy than any could provide alone. 

"Knowing how many people are bicycling on a street is really important for a number of reasons. As just a few examples, bicycle volumes give you a way to understand safety data and determine crash rates. They provide insight into where and how bicycle trips are taking place, which can help plan for new or improved facilities," said Nathan McNeil of Portland State University.

Supported by a pooled fund grant administered by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), Dr. Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University led a research project aimed at fusing traditional and...

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Active transportation investments offer many types of benefits related to safety, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, physical activity and the economy. Metro, Oregon’s regional government for the Portland metropolitan area, wants to better understand the role of these investments in building stronger communities in their region, and in implementing the Metro 2040 Growth Concept.

Led by Portland State University in partnership with Metro, the Active Transportation Return on Investment (ATROI) study looked at twelve projects constructed in the greater Portland region between 2001 and 2016. These twelve 2040 Catalyst Projects were evaluated to determine if active transportation investments had significant effects on...

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Portland State University students interested in a career in advancing biking and walking can find financial support through two active transportation scholarships from the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at PSU. Since 2008, nineteen students have been awarded.

Mia Birk, the founding donor, is an independent consultant with 27 years of experience in helping to make cities more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. She served as the City of Portland's bicycle coordinator from 1993 to 1999, then as President and CEO of Alta Planning + Design until 2016. Her TED Talk makes the case for "Pedaling Towards a Healthier Planet," and her book, Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet, tells the story of her twenty-year crusade to...

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An increasing trend in the number of bicycle crashes in the U.S since 2009 has been a major challenge to safety. A new PSU masters thesis in civil engineering offers insights: "Improving Bicycle Crossings at Unsignalized Intersections through Pavement Markings: Analysis of the City of Portland Innovative Strategy" by Frank Boateng Appiah of Portland State University.

For a deeper dive into this research, read BikePortland's coverage of the study. For more on the researcher, read our 2020 interview with Frank.

The City of Portland, Oregon has experimented with an innovative treatment to improve bicycle crossings at unsignalized intersections. This treatment, termed a high visibility cross-bike, was installed at crossings of neighborhood bicycle greenways with busy roadways. The marking is similar to a zebra-striped pedestrian crosswalk but with green pavement markings rather than white. Although the cross-bike marking does not currently require motorists to yield for bicycles waiting to cross the roadway, it was hypothesized that the presence of the marking...

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A national non-motorized count data archive, BikePed Portal provides a centralized standard count database for public agencies, researchers, educators, and other curious members of the public to view and download bicycle and pedestrian count data. It includes automated and manual counts from across the country, and supports screenline and turning movement counts.

BikePed Portal was established in 2015 by Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) researchers at Portland State University through a pooled fund grant administered by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC). Other project partners include the Federal Highway Administration, Oregon Department of Transportation, Metro, Lane Council of Governments, Central Lane MPO, Bend MPO, Mid Willamette Valley Council of Governments, Rogue Valley Council of Governments, City of Boulder, City of Austin, Cycle Oregon, and Oregon Community Foundation.

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A view through the front windshield of a car, with two bicyclists on the road ahead.
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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Street icons for bicycle and pedestrian
Photo by Cait McCusker
Nathan McNeil, Portland State University; Kristin Tufte, Portland State University

In the past decade bike and pedestrian count programs have sprung up all over the United States, gathering data to evaluate biking and walking infrastructure. However, these modes have not been studied with the quantitative rigor applied to motor vehicle travel. A research project funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), led by Nathan McNeil of Portland State University (PSU), offers a method for monitoring the quality of this bike-ped count data.

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A bicycle passes in front of a bus
Photo by Canetti
Miguel Figliozzi, Portland State University

When buses and bikes share space, it's complicated. Not only are there safety risks for cyclists, but also potential delays in bus service and stressful navigation for bus operators. The quest to increase bus speeds—and plausibly...

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Bicyclists cross an intersection with a bike signal, near a red car
John MacArthur, Portland State University

What if your bicycle could warn you that a car is coming from a side street you can't see? Or let you know that your front tire is getting a little low, or that you're approaching a pothole that wasn't there yesterday? A NITC research project led by John MacArthur of Portland State University explores how connected vehicle (CV) technologies could encourage an increase in bicycling. As CV technology moves forward in the rest of the transportation system—with buses and connected streetcars requesting early green lights from the traffic signals, and cars chatting with each other...

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