A view of the ballroom with attendees eating lunch during the Summit keynote

The 11th annual Transportation and Communities Summit 2019, held at Portland State University (PSU) on September 19–20, drew attendees from 14 states across the U.S. Over 250 people joined us for the Summit day, and nearly 60 took part in the deep-dive workshop day. We hope the event offered new opportunities for collaboration and synergy between researchers, practitioners, and community members.

Peter DeFazio, the U.S. Representative for Oregon's 4th congressional district, kicked off the day with a video welcome message for the summit attendees, followed on the main stage by TREC director and urban planning faculty Jennifer Dill. 

At lunchtime Ben Wellington, the data...

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People talking and looking at materials in a workshop

We held our annual flagship professional development event, Transportation & Communities, on September 13 and 14. In honor of the event's ten-year anniversary, we changed up the format: Rather than a typical conference with one-hour sessions and a keynote gathering, we offered a selection of intensive half-day workshops. See photos from the event.

The workshops gave practitioners a chance to take a deep dive into new skills in order to walk away with new tools or frameworks that could be applied to their work. We offered a review of congestion mitigation strategies, universal access and equity in pedestrian planning, and discussion on how smart technology could be implemented in suburban communities. Several workshops were based on findings from new research by the National Institute for...

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2017 TCS RecapView slides from the breakout sessions and workshops, see PDFs of the posters, revisit the PechaKucha presentations, or read instructions for recording your continuing education credits.


The two-day 2017 Transportation and Communities Summit, held at Portland State University (PSU) on September 11–12, drew 315 attendees from over 10 states and over 40 cities and towns. This was the largest summit we’ve ever hosted, and we hope it created new opportunities for collaboration between researchers and practitioners.

This event was sponsored by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), a national university transportation center managed by TREC housed at PSU. NITC is a partnership between PSU, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology, the University of Utah, and our newest partners - the University of Arizona and the University of Texas at Arlington.

NITC researchers at all six of the partner universities were introduced in a series of "Meet the Researcher" tweets and videos, to familiarize attendees with the research interests of NITC faculty and to open the...

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For someone who refuses to make predictions, Brian David Johnson has a long list of examples of how the future he envisioned came true.

It’s his job, after all.

As a futurist, Johnson helps organizations imagine what they’ll be doing 10 years in the future and then models the steps they’ll need to achieve that vision.

Johnson will describe his work, and offer insights relevant to transportation professionals, as the keynote speaker at the Transportation and Communities Summit Sept. 9 at Portland State University.

Transportation figures heavily into both popular visions of the future and Johnson’s work—but not in the same way. “Cities and transportation and infrastructure are some of the most important parts of futurecasting”—Johnson’s name for this method of modeling—he said.

Although audiences raised on jet pack-based transportation science fiction don’t welcome this message, “the cities of the future are going to look like the cities of today,” Johnson said. “It’s one of the most unpopular things I tell people.”

But consider the alternative. “Culturally, we value the past, and our future will look a lot like that,” Johnson said. “I don’t think that’s a bad thing. ‘The Jetsons’ is a sci-fi dystopia.”

Finding a future that looks like the present, or even the past, is a surprising theme in Johnson’s work, which has included consulting for firms such as Intel and trade...

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The first Transportation and Communities Summit picked up where its predecessor summit left off, offering a day of professional development opportunities and a few new touches. Around 275 people attended this year’s summit, held Sept. 15 at Portland State University.

The highlight for many, according to post-event surveys, was the keynote address by author and sociology professor Eric Klinenberg. Keeping alive a tradition from earlier Oregon Transportation Summits, Klinenberg’s address gave insight into an issue that intersects with transportation—in this case, the rise of single-occupant households—without directly detailing the transportation implications.

The breakout sessions allowed attendees to delve deeper into topics directly related to their professions. A full 54 percent of survey respondents called the breakout sessions the most valuable piece of the summit program. The most highly rated sessions were “Waiting to Connect,” on connected vehicles; “Something from Nothing,” on funding; “Zeroing in on Safety,” on Vision Zero; and “Baby, You can Drive my Car;” on the sharing economy. 

Slides from all these presentations are available at the summit page.

For the first time, summit sessions were Webcast for those who couldn’t attend in person...

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On creating civic engagement, driving density and sharing a stage with the 'funniest person on earth'

Our cities reflect how we choose to live. Increasingly, we choose to live alone.

Eric Klinenberg spent seven years researching people who live alone for his book “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.” Klinenberg will discuss the implications for the future of transportation as keynote speaker for the Transportation and Communities Summit on Monday, Sept. 15.

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Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University, came to the topic after an earlier investigation into isolation. Instead of a problem, however, he found the sort of vitality that drives civic participation.

People who live alone, Klinenberg said, make cities vibrant places by nourishing the “social infrastructure”: the places and institutions that support people’s public lives.

 “When countries invest in public amenities, including transit, they make it easier for...

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With his 2011 book, “Human Transit,” consultant Jarrett Walker provided planners and community members with a new way to think about the choices transit planning requires. Since that time, Walker has focused on what transit actually delivers. He calls this concept “abundant access”: how much of your city is available to you in a short amount of time.

Walker will delve into this topic Monday, Sept. 15 as the keynote speaker at the Oregon Transportation Summit. Online registration for the summit closes Wednesday night.

Register now!

“Abundant access is an interesting way to think about transit and something that brings it into the personal frame of liberty that is missing from most analysis of urban outcomes,” Walker said. “How we talk about sensations of freedom, so that we don’t just sound like bureaucrats who know what’s good for everyone.”

Urbanist leaders go astray, Walker said, when they put other goals ahead of the liberty and opportunity that useful transit provides. That could mean catering to developers or creating a symbolic transit system that is fun to ride but doesn’t serve regular transit users well.

Walker calls the New Urbanist conceit of prioritizing an aesthetically pleasing...

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(First published by BikePortland.org)

Sue Groth’s job: use math and millions of dollars to stop injuries before they happen.

The team Groth leads at the Minnesota Department of Transportation has probably saved a few hundred lives over the last 10 years. In that time they’ve reinvented “highway safety” spending and seen traffic fatalities fall almost twice as fast as they have in Oregon and the rest of the country.

Groth is the plenary speaker at the Sept. 15 Oregon Transportation Summit hosted by OTREC at Portland State University. Michael Andersen of BikePortland spoke to her last week to talk about MnDOT’s daring decision to give up some of the “gobs of money” it gets for highway safety and hand it to local agencies instead.

What’s the nature of your work on the safety movement called Vision Zero, also known as Toward Zero Deaths?
My state happened to be one of the first to adopt it. We have had a program for over 10 years now and have had some pretty good success. We don’t have to accept the fact that 400 people a year die on the roads in Minnesota, or 33,000 nationally.

400?
Oh, I’d better give you a precise number: 387. Minnesota’s had great success. One year we actually got down to 368.

(Editor’s note: 387, it turns...

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Transit supporters offer up a host of arguments for their favorite form of transportation but may struggle to counter a response of “prove it.” This year’s Oregon Transportation Summit could help change that.

Fresh research showing some of the benefits of transit will keep the public transportation track lively and relevant during the sixth annual summit. Morning and afternoon workshops spotlight transit, bookending a luncheon keynote by noted transit planner Jarrett Walker.

The Oregon Transportation Summit takes place Monday, Sept. 15 at Portland State University.

University of Utah researcher Reid Ewing made national and international headlines recently with a study showing the effect of light rail in a busy travel corridor. The study, funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, was the first to document a drop in automobile traffic after the opening of a light-rail line. Ewing presents his research at a...

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What is the highest number of deaths and serious injuries we should accept from our transportation system? For transportation agencies who have long sought to reduce traffic fatalities, a movement to eliminate them completely has gained currency.

This year’s Oregon Transportation Summit brings a strong safety theme, including plenary session and morning and afternoon workshops. Registration for the summit officially opens today.

Register or learn more about the summit, which takes place Monday, Sept. 15.

The 2014 Oregon Transportation Summit opens with a plenary session titled “Envisioning Vision Zero.” Vision Zero is the approach, initiated in Sweden, to not accept deaths or serious injuries as a tradeoff for other goals of the road network. In the United States, a national effort called Toward Zero Deaths grew out of these principles.   

Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths has been a leader among state programs, working with partners across jurisdictions and service categories across the state to address roadway deaths and injuries. Sue Groth oversees this effort as the state traffic engineer and director of the Office of Traffic, Safety and Technology for the Minnesota Department of Transportation....

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