California and Oregon Use "Carrots and Sticks" to Build Planner Commitment to Mitigating Climate Change

posted on Monday, November 20, 2017, 4:00pm PST
Principal Investigator: Keith Bartholomew, University of Utah
Learn more about this research by viewing the one-page Project Brief, related products and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

New laws in California and Oregon—California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) and the Oregon Sustainable Transportation Initiative (SB 1059)—have made them the first states in the nation to try and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using the transportation planning process.

A new NITC report coauthored by Keith Bartholomew and David Proffitt of the University of Utah evaluates how these pioneering laws have changed local planning processes in each state. Under these laws, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) must include climate goals in their regional transportation plans; coordinating land use and transportation infrastructure in a way that aims at reducing per capita GHG emissions.

"The MPOs have to show how, in the future, they could accomodate population growth, new housing and new...

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TREC is searching for a transportation data program manager to administer our Portal Program.

The Portal Program Administrator will work on a variety of transportation data projects that require data synthesis, analysis, presentation and visualization.

This individual will work closely with the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), PORTAL (the Portland Region transportation data archive), and bike-ped data to develop requirements and recommendations on improving the usability of the Portland regional transportation, and bicycle and pedestrian data to help meet the needs of transportation agency end-users.

The PORTAL transportation data archive contains freeway (speed, count, travel time), arterial (travel time, traffic signal, bicycle count, pedestrian push button), transit, incident, weigh-in-motion and weather data. The BikePed Portal is the national archive for bicycle and pedestrian count data.

For more information and to apply, visit the Portland State University job posting or view the full...

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Our National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research program has awarded grant funding for a new series of Small Starts projects.

Small Starts grants assist researchers who are interested in transportation but have not yet had an opportunity to undertake a small project—$15,000 in funding or less—that supports NITC's theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities.

The latest projects selected by NITC's executive committee support that theme in exploring livable streets, multimodal safety and transportation efficiency.

The six newly funded projects are:

  • Is There a "Buy Local" Case for Lower Travel Speeds? Testing Differences in Driver Recognition of Local Versus National Retail at Different Travel Speeds—Jonathan Bean and Arlie Adkins, University of Arizona (Full Proposal)
  • How Will Autonomous Vehicles Change Local Government Budgeting and Finance? A Case Study of Solid Waste, Drop-off/Pick-up Zones, and Parking—Benjamin Clark, University of Oregon (...
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Abolfazl Karimpour, Graduate Research Assistant in Engineering Mechanics at University of Arizona

Learn more about Abolfazl by following him on Facebook, or find his published articles on LinkedIn.


Tell us about yourself:

My name is Abolfazl, I born in Mashhad, Iran. I am a second year Ph.D. student in Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, The University of Arizona. My specialty is in Transportation Engineering, and I am working as a full time research assistant in the Smart Transportation Lab.

Why did you decide to attend University of Arizona?

I had the opportunity to continue my studies and enroll in the doctoral program in Iran, however it would not have provided me with the same learning opportunities as studying at the University of Arizona. Working and researching in UofA enabled me to advance my educational goals and make positive contributions to the field. My background in Transportation Engineering closely matches with what my colleagues are doing in Smart Transportation Lab, which made me choose this university. 

What are your career aspirations after you graduate?

My...

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Principal Investigator: Reid Ewing, University of Utah
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

A new report from the University of Utah uses data to settle a debate that has been ongoing among transportation researchers since the 1990s: what are the effects of compact development on traffic congestion?

One camp argues that dense, compact development with a mixture of land uses will ultimately relieve congestion by encouraging fewer auto trips. On the opposite side, proponents of highway-induced, sprawling development argue that sprawl decreases congestion by funneling traffic away from dense areas, acting as a "traffic safety valve."

Led by Reid Ewing of the University of Utah and Shima Hamidi of the University of Texas at Arlington, this NITC study sought to address the question through cross sectional data. So which of these forms of urban development is better at reducing area-wide traffic congestion?

Surprisingly, neither.

Ewing and Hamidi arrived at the conclusion that development density—whether...

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Livability encompasses several aspects of community, including safe, walkable neighborhoods; quality transit service and healthy green spaces. Making these types of benefits more available to underserved and marginalized populations is a key component of TREC's research focus. With the support of the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture Endowment, every year we host leaders who have made great strides in advocating for health, safety, and bicycle and pedestrian access.

For our 4th annual Ann Niles Lecture we've invited Tamika Butler – Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. In her current role she grows healthier, safer, and stronger communities through the creation of urban parks and community gardens—addressing the critical lack of green and recreational spaces in greater Los Angeles' underserved neighborhoods. Prior to this, Butler was the the executive director of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, bringing energy and passion to the quest for better bicycle access. 

Through our programs, including the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPIand...

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Principal InvestigatorIvis Garcia, University of Utah
Learn more about this research by viewing the related presentations and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

Students in the University of Utah’s Westside Studio investigated how to improve access to downtown from the west side of Salt Lake City.

Led by Ivis Garcia, the project's goal was to learn from residents about their use of an existing multi-use path, the Jordan Park River Trail, and to help enhance the connection between residents living near the trail and the downtown area on the river's east side.

Students surveyed 300 residents and conducted focus groups, which revealed that many area residents either didn't know about the trail or didn't perceive it as a safe place to walk. Local community leaders also visited the class and shared their expertise with students.

"A lot of elements of the course were around teaching community engagement and action," Garcia said.

In order to enhance users...

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In 2014, NITC published a study on racial bias at crosswalks under a Small Starts grant. Read coverage of that project in the New York Times and Washington PostThe next phase of the research is now complete, with more comprehensive findings. 

Principal InvestigatorKimberly Kahn, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page. Hear firsthand from the PI by tuning in for the webinar on October 26th (recording available post-webinar).

Led by Dr. Kimberly Kahn of Portland State University, the purpose of...

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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...

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Principal Investigator: Nicole Ngo, University of Oregon
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page. Hear firsthand from the PI by tuning in for the webinar on November 9th (recording available post-webinar).

In 2011, San Fransisco introduced SFPark, a smart parking program. SFpark uses demand-responsive pricing to open up parking spaces and reduce circling and double-parking. Rates can vary by block, time of day and day of week, and are adjusted at most once per month.

In the latest NITC report, researcher Nicole Ngo of the University of Oregon investigates the effects of the demand-responsive pricing program on transit usage and congestion.

The study focused on metered, on-street parking and used the timing of SFpark's pricing changes as a natural experiment. Researchers observed effects on three important...

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Principal Investigator: Ann Joslin, University of South Florida (USF)
Project OverviewTravel to Food: Transportation Barriers for the Food Insecure in Tampa Bay
Learn more about this research project by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report.

In Tampa Bay, Florida, it's hard to get around without a car. For those who depend on transit, the simple task of bringing groceries home can take up an entire afternoon. 

Add the extra difficulty of food insecurity—which affects a wide variety of people and may mean they can't afford to go to the grocery store, but must travel to a food pantry—the task of procuring those groceries gets even more difficult. 

Now take away the possibility of transit. Where does that leave you? Hungry, wherever you are.

According to a new study from NITC investigators at the University of South Florida (USF), there are 136,401 people in Florida's Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties who are both food insecure and lack adequate access to transit.

Food insecurity affects a wide range of people and most acutely affects vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, seniors and individuals with disabilities.

The study, led by...

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