Last week, we celebrated a return to in-person learning on the Portland State University campus with a welcome-back-to-school luncheon for transportation students. The gathering, held Wednesday Oct 13 on the rooftop of PSU's Urban Center building, was intended as a reboot for the Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP) student group. Around 40 people attended for lunch, greetings, and introductions to some of the core transportation faculty. TREC director Jennifer Dill gave an overview of some of the ways TREC can support students in their transportation careers (for example, funding for attending trainings and conferences.) Transportation students can also apply for scholarships through TREC – see some past PSU transportation scholars.

ELECTIONS FOR STEP LEADERSHIP BOARD

The next order of business will be to...

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An aerial view of a multifamily housing complex next to a road
Photo by cegli
Kelly Clifton, Portland State University

Many cities are reconsidering their reliance on ITE's Trip Generation Manual, now in its 10th edition. 

Kelly Clifton, TREC researcher and associate dean for research of Portland State University's Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science, is one of the people leading the charge to identify better, more nuanced ways to anticipate transportation demand; especially person (non-car) trips. In an extended series of TREC projects, Clifton and...

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The city of Portland is using research and expertise from TREC researchers to change how it calculates fees for new development. Developers pay the fees, called transportation system development charges, to offset some of the costs of providing transportation infrastructure.
 
The foundation for those fees has been cars: that is, how many car trips a development will generate. In December, the Portland City Council voted to instead use “person trips” as the basis for those fees.
 
Researchers Kelly Clifton and Kristina Currans have assembled an impressive portfolio of research projects on trip generation. Their research caught the attention of city officials, who brought Clifton and Currans in as consultants to help them rethink the way they assess new fees for development.
 
Their work found a receptive audience of practitioners at TREC’s flagship conference, the Transportation and Communities Summit, last fall. Clifton and Currans held a workshop on improving trip generation methods to better represent the mix of modes found in livable communities. That led to a collaboration with transportation consultants...

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A new NITC report offers a multimodal framework for transportation impact analysis – a welcome tool for professionals in many cities seeking more detailed data about non-drivers.

Improving Trip Generation Methods for Livable Communities, a research project headed by Kelly Clifton of Portland State University and Nico Larco of the University of Oregon, is the latest effort in an ongoing collaboration to create more open sourced, widely available data about non-motorized road users.

Over the last decades, cities have become more invested in fostering the conditions to support walking, biking and public transit.

The land development process presents a unique challenge.

Prior to a zoning change or new development, someone has to determine what its impact on the transportation system will be, and whether upgrades will be necessary to accommodate travelers to the new destination. Trip generation is the first step in the conventional transportation forecasting process.

Current trip generation methods used by engineers across the country tend to focus on motorized modes.

Without reliable trip generation rates for anyone but drivers, the transportation impact is difficult to predict. Certain land uses will draw far more walkers,...

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OTREC research has taken steps toward developing trip generation rates for sites in a multimodal context.
Trip generation refers to the number of vehicle trips that are predicted to originate in a particular zone. The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) provides standard trip generation rates, but these rates are primarily measured in low-density suburban areas.
In areas that have a more compact urban form, better access to transit and a greater mix of land uses, fewer (and shorter) vehicle trips might actually be generated there than the current ITE rates indicate.
A project headed by Kelly Clifton, of Portland State University, examines the ways in which urban context affects vehicle trip-generation rates across a variety of land uses.
 
Results from this study reveal a trend: For all land uses tested, vehicle-trip rates decrease as neighborhood types become more urban.
There is a strong industry bias toward using ITE-published rates, so that when local governments are evaluating transportation impacts and calculating transportation system development charges, they are often compelled to use the ITE rates...
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As we prepare for the next step in our development as a center, we're taking a look back at the seven years since OTREC's founding:

The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, or OTREC, was founded in 2006 with a theme that emphasized advanced technology, the integration of transportation and land use, and healthy communities. OTREC’s mission is to inform transportation decision making through timely, useful primary research and to build the capacity of the transportation workforce.

Reflecting the DOT mission, OTREC promotes choices that make our transportation system safe, resilient and adaptable. Providing access to travel options that promote the health of our communities and our environment makes our country stronger.

From the research that makes our communities living laboratories to the innovative education and technology transfer efforts that wed research and practice, our programs lay the groundwork for livable communities. Our advanced technology projects have shown the effect of traffic-signal timing on pedestrians’ exposure to pollution and helped a state Department of Transportation place sensors to best estimate travel times for the least cost. Our healthy communities projects have helped shape...

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Oregon Tech students boosted their knowledge of sustainable pavement on a conference field trip and brought what they learned back to fellow engineering students on their Klamath Falls campus. Students Jared Jones, Zachary Hudspeth, Michael Eagle and Adam Kershaw attended the Oregon Asphalt Conference in Eugene March 5, sponsored by an OTREC student-support grant. Hudspeth, the ITE Student Chapter president, led the group.

The conference was organized by the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon (http://www.apao.org/2013ConfProgram2.htm).

The Oregon Tech students were especially interested in hearing about advances in warm-mix asphalt and RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement). These two asphalt pavement technologies greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional asphalt paving.

After returning to campus, the students shared their experiences with students enrolled in Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering 573 Transportation and Land Development class.

The Oregon Institute of Technology welcomed the head of the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon for the Oregon Tech NITC Visiting Scholar Seminar. Jim Huddleston, the association’s executive director, spoke Feb. 21 at Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls campus.

The seminar drew 45 people, including students, faculty and professionals from local consulting engineering firms.

Huddleston, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Oregon State University, has more than 20 years’ experience in pavement design, construction and analysis. He is one of the nation’s leading experts on asphalt roadways, including innovative and sustainable applications such as recycled, warm-mix and porous pavements.

On his visit, Huddleston also congratulated Oregon Tech senior Zachary Hudspeth on winning an Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon scholarship in December. Hudspeth is the president of Oregon Tech’s Institute of Transportation Engineers student chapter.

The seminar and student group are supported by OTREC’s National Institute for Transportation and Communities program.

While the annual Region X Student Transportation Conference in November always attracts students from across the northwest, this year’s conference pulled some from much farther south: Pomona, Calif.

The conference is a showcase for student transportation research in the Pacific Northwest (Federal Region X), which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Region X serves as a microcosm of transportation for the entire country, making it a prime testing ground for studies in transportation operations and planning.

The conference was sponsored by OTREC and hosted this year by Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), the Portland State University Student Chapter of ITE.

When professor Xudong Jia of Cal Poly Pomona learned about the conference, he was determined that his students would find a way to attend. With the support of OTREC, Cal Poly Pomona sent five students to the conference, a mix of undergraduate and graduate students in civil and transportation engineering.  The students were interested in both the research and tours, as well as gleaning tips for how to organize a student-led conference: something the Cal Poly students will be doing when they host the TransModal Connection Conference in February in San Louis Obispo.

In addition to visiting the Western Federal Lands Materials lab in Vancouver, Wash., the team competed in the Oregon Section ITE William C. Kloos Traffic Bowl. Though a transportation mishap left them...

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Portland State University inducted graduate student Kristina Currans into the Denice Dee Denton Women Engineers Hall of Fame in a ceremony Nov. 15. Currans is the second transportation engineering student to win the student award.

Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, took the Outstanding Female Engineer honors.

Currans’ boundless enthusiasm and dedication to her work quickly become apparent to anyone who works with her, said Kelly Clifton, an associate professor of civil engineering and director of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative. “I’ve never met someone able to manage so many things,” said Clifton, who nominated Currans for the honor.

Currans works with Clifton as a part of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative and on several OTREC research projects. “She brings a tremendous amount of energy,” Clifton said.

After graduating Oregon State University with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree in 2010, Currans soon made a name for herself in transportation circles. She started her graduate coursework at Portland State and worked during academic breaks with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Transportation Planning Analysis Unit, home to state and regional transportation models.

“For someone who had just graduated with an undergraduate degree, she completed that internship and really impressed ODOT,” Clifton said. “To do that so quickly caught everyone’s attention.”

Currans tested and worked with the Statewide Integrated...

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