When the COVID-19 pandemic first swept across North America and led to emergency shutdowns during the spring of 2020, the way people acquired food and household necessities was dramatically impacted. As stay-at-home orders minimized personal travel, transit services were reduced and many stores and restaurants either closed or modified their operations. 

Some of the gaps were filled by online retailers and delivery services. However, access to goods and services varied substantially depending on people's age, income level, and ability.

A new multi-university study funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the U.S. DOT-funded university transportation headquartered at Portland State University, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) captured how households responded as local, state, and federal governments imposed and lifted restrictions, brick-and-mortar establishments closed and reopened, and e-commerce and delivery services adjusted to the changing conditions.

The findings of this research are critical for emergency planning, but also for understanding the ever-changing mechanisms used to access retail and service opportunities (whether in person or online). The research identifies opportunities for future interventions to remedy barriers to accessing food, which will...

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Alex Bigazzi, a 2014 NITC dissertation fellow and graduate of Portland State University's Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. program, has published a paper based on his NITC-funded research in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

See ACS coverage of the project here.

Bigazzi's research evaluates the concentration of air pollution encountered by cyclists in Portland, Oregon.

In the study, volunteer research subjects rode bicycles equipped with instruments to collect high-resolution bicycle, rider, traffic and environmental data.

Participants rode a variety of routes including bicycle lanes on primary and secondary arterials, bicycle boulevards, off-street paths and mixed-use roadways. They were told to ride at a pace and exertion level typical for utilitarian travel, and breath biomarkers were used to record the amount of traffic-related pollution present in each cyclist’s exhalations. 

This research was the focus of Bigazzi's dissertation, Bicyclists’ Uptake of Traffic-Related Air Pollution: Effects of the Urban Transportation System, published by NITC in December 2014. It was related to an earlier project...

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Despite the many connections between transportation and public health, many agencies tasked with long-range transportation planning have yet to completely consider effects on health, a Portland State University research team found. The research will be presented at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Jan. 11-15.

Patrick Singleton, a Portland State graduate student researcher, will present the paper “Incorporating public health in U.S. long-range metropolitan transportation planning: A review of guidance statements and performance measures,” during a poster session Tuesday. The paper grew out of concepts developed in a Portland State course on transportation and health taught by Prof. Kelly Clifton, who is a coauthor on the paper.

Individually, transportation and public health each have a wealth of research. That research doesn’t always cross over, Singleton said.

“The integration of these disciplines is in its infancy,” he said.

If transportation planning agencies were to fully consider transportation and health connections, those considerations would show up in their long-term plans, the research team reasoned. Performance measures would point to the potential effects of a health focus.

The researchers focused...

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PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

Active travel such as walking and bicycling can lead to health benefits through an increase in physical activity. At the same time, more active travelers breath more and so can experience high pollution inhalation rates during travel. This webinar will review the state of knowledge about how roadway and traffic characteristics impact air pollution risks for bicyclists, including the latest PSU research quantifying bicyclists' uptake of traffic-related air pollution using on-road measurements in Portland. The PSU research team including Alex Bigazzi, Jim Pankow, and Miguel Figliozzi quantified bicyclist exposure concentrations on different types of roadways, respiration responses to exertion level, and changes in blood concentrations of pollutants. Implications for planners, engineers, and policy-makers will be discussed, including guidance for more pollution-conscious bicycle network planning and design. Additionally, ways for individual travelers to reduce their air pollution risks will be discussed.

This 60-minute webinar is eligible for one hour of training which equals 1 CM or 1 PDH. NITC applies to the AICP for Certification...

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The video begins at 0:29.

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Speaker: Brian Saelens, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Seattle’s Children’s Hospital & University of Washington
Topic: Links Between Public Transportation and Physical Activity (Effects of LRT on Physical Activity Based on Seattle GPS Study)

Summary: This seminar will explore the empirical evidence regarding the links between the use of public transportation and physical activity, with a specific focus on using integrated device and self-report methods to identify travel modes and physical activity.

Bio: Brian E. Saelens, Ph.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and Principal Investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Saelens is a clinical/health psychologist. His interest areas include obesity treatment and prevention, especially in environmental factors and policies that influence physical activity and eating behaviors in children and adults. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed original investigation and review articles.

The video begins at 1:47.

Joseph Broach, PhD candidate in Urban Studies, will discuss the results of his research, which models the propensity of children aged 6-16 to walk or bike to parks and school without an adult chaperone, extending existing work on children’s active travel in several ways: 1) focus on travel without an adult, 2) inclusion of school and a non-school destinations, 3) separate walk and bike models, 4) consideration of both parent and child attitudes and perceived social norms, 5) explicit inclusion of household rules limiting walking or bicycling.

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Summary: Researchers from the transportation, planning and health fields share the common goal of promoting physically active lifestyle. One challenge that researchers often face is the measurement of physical activity, particularly among children. This is because the sporadic nature of children’s physical activity patterns makes it difficult to recall and quantify such activities. Additionally, children’s lower cognitive functioning compared to adults prevents them from accurately recalling their activities. This presentation will describe the design and application of a novel self-report instrument - the Graphs for Recalling Activity Time (GReAT) - for measuring children’s activity time use patterns. The instrument was applied in a study of children’s risk for obesity and diabetes in a predominately Hispanic community in Milwaukee, WI. Time-use data for two weekdays and one weekend day were collected for various physical and sedentary activities. The data was then assessed against measurements of the children’s cardiovascular fitness, weight status and insulin resistance through exploratory analysis and structured equation modeling. Findings on GReAT’s reliability and new evidence on the impacts of time-use in...

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Summary: Since about 2008, the planning world has been experiencing a paradigm shift that began in places like California and Oregon that have adopted legislation requiring the linking of land use and transportation plans to outcomes, specifically to the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs). In response to this need, Calthorpe Associates has developed a new planning tool, called UrbanFootprint, on a fully Open Source platform (i.e. Ubuntu Linux, PostGIS, PostGreSQL, etc.). As a powerful and dynamic web and mobile-enabled geo-spatial scenario creation and modeling tool with full co-benefits analysis capacity, UrbanFootprint has great utility for urban planning and research at multiple scales, from general plans, to project assessments, to regional and state-wide scenario development and analysis. Scenario outcomes measurement modules include: a powerful ‘sketch’ transportation model that produces travel and emissions impacts; a public health analysis engine that measures land use impacts on respiratory disease, obesity, and related impacts and costs; climate-sensitive building energy and water modeling; fiscal impacts analysis; and greenhouse gas and other emissions modeling.

Bio: Garlynn Woodsong is a Project Manager in the regional and large-scale master planning team at Calthorpe...

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