Jun 15, 2011

While the national parks system may have some of the most natural areas in America, there’s nothing natural about how most Americans travel through them: by car.

Todd Johnson, an OTREC graduate research assistant, is hoping to change that for at least one state park. The Eno Transportation Foundation recently chose Johnson for a year-long assignment to find ways to reduce traffic congestion at Arches National Park near Moab, UT.  Every year, Eno puts out five assignments throughout the country to improve transportation at national parks and monuments.

Johnson, a Master of Science student in civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University, previously worked as a transportation interpreter at Rock Mountain National Park, encouraging people to take a shuttle service rather than driving.  He has a similar goal for his stint at Arches.

“We want to get people out of their cars,” Johnson said. “Right now when the parking lots fill up, people park on the side of the road, creating a safety hazard and diminishing the beauty of the park. I will help with implementing solutions to deal with congestion using (Intelligent Transportation Systems) and social media.”

Johnson, an avid cyclist, will also be looking at encouraging alternative forms of transportation through Arches. The park is looking to construct more hiking and biking trails to prevent visitors from driving from one attraction to another, Johnson said. Currently, the park’s roads...

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Jun 10, 2011

Every day, trucks travel in, out and through Portland delivering the goods that make the city and region’s economy thrive. But urban freight traffic in the Portland metro area has become increasingly congested and unreliable, leading to longer travel times, fewer goods being distributed and more greenhouse gases being emitted. OTREC researchers have worked with commercial vehicle GPS data and freeway traffic sensor data to understand the impact of urban congestion on commercial vehicle fleets and what can be done to reduce congestion.

In “Algorithms to Quantify the Impacts of Congestion on Time-Dependent Real-World Urban Freight Distribution Networks” (Read Paper Here) and “The Impacts of Congestion on Time-definitive Urban Freight Distribution Networks CO2 Emission Levels” (Read Paper Here), OTREC researcher Miguel Figliozzi and his team attempted to quantify and measure the impacts of congestion on freight from a business, as well as environmental perspective. The project team combined time-dependent algorithms, real-world traffic data, and open source software Google Maps to...

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