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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Nineteen girls presented ingenious transportation ideas to a packed room on Friday, August 18, the closing day of TREC's 2017 National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI). For two weeks, the high schoolers had stayed in Ondine Residence Hall on the Portland State University campus; meeting for daily lectures at PSU's Engineering Building, hearing from some of the women who run transportation systems in Portland, Oregon and touring the city's agencies.

In between guest lectures and field trips, the NSTI class worked on group projects, which they presented at Friday's closing event to their family members and the course instructors.

On the first day of the camp, they were asked to think about a real-world transportation problem so they could use the skills they would gain to present a solution at the end of the course. The problems were real, and the solutions were impressive.

It might be because the guest lecturers were actual practitioners, who gave real talk about the issues they've encountered in their work and how they've tried to solve them.

It might also be because the curriculum was directed by TREC's own amazing Lisa Patterson and Ellee Stapleton along with Sarah...

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Principal Investigator: Kristina Currans, Portland State University
Project Overview: Data and Methodological Issues in Assessing Multimodal Transportation Impacts for Urban Development
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

As cities aim to promote sustainable, multimodal growth, sometimes the way we go about development review processes can create barriers to achieving the results we want. Some of the methods we have inherited, while still useful, have distinct limitations.

NITC dissertation fellow Kristina Currans took on this challenge in her doctoral research project, Data and Methodological Issues in Assessing Multimodal Transportation Impacts for Urban Development.

The guidelines for evaluating transportation impacts of new development were originally published  in 1976 by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). Decades later, we’re still using essentially the same processes all across the U.S. and Canada, and these methods—which harbor a lack of...

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

Transit-oriented development, or TOD, could be the “poster child” for sustainable urban development. It concentrates land uses, including commercial and multi-family housing, near transit stations so as to reduce car dependency and increase ridership. The benefits are manifold; increased community health, positive economic impacts, less harm to the environment and potentially greater social equity.

But what about affordability? In exchange for all these benefits, do TOD residents spend more money on transportation?

A new NITC...

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Principal Investigator: Patrick Singleton, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the related presentations and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

Normally we assume that travel is a means to an end, but the latest NITC report examines other benefits of travel—aspects that aren’t about reaching a destination.

One such benefit is travel-based multitasking. A good example of this is using time on a commuter train to listen to music, relax or get some work done. The simple enjoyment of a walk in the fresh air relates to another benefit, known as subjective well-being, in which the act of travel itself makes a person feel better. These intrinsic benefits can impact travel behavior and mode choice, but our current models don’t have any way to reflect this.

NITC fellow Patrick Singleton investigated the policy and planning implications of this in his dissertation, Exploring The Positive Utility Of Travel And Mode Choice.

"The way we analyze travel behavior assumes people want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. We don’t include the...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is now accepting proposals for Small Starts grants and Dissertation Fellowships.

SMALL STARTS

The purpose of a Small Starts grant is to assist researchers who are interested in transportation but have not had an opportunity to undertake a small project consistent with NITC's theme of Improving the Mobility of People and Goods to Build Strong Communities.

The NITC theme connects directly with the U.S. DOT priority of improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities. All proposals must be consistent with this theme, as defined in the request for proposals.

Faculty members and research faculty eligible to serve as Principal Investigators (PIs) at our partner universities: Portland State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, University of Oregon, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Utah may submit proposals and serve as PIs with NITC. 

Read more about Small Starts grants,...

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In late 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Location Affordability Index (LAI) Portal. Its purpose: to estimate housing and transportation costs at the neighborhood level.

The tool is meant to help consumers and communities understand the combined costs of housing and transportation associated with living in a specific neighborhood.

NITC’s newest report evaluated the LAI, particularly its applicability to previously dense urban areas that have experienced significant population loss, also known as "shrinking cities."

The report shows that the LAI overestimates housing costs, and confirms this through a household survey in Cleveland, Ohio. The report also issues a caution regarding the LAI’s transportation cost estimates. 

Final report: What do we know about Location Affordability in U.S. Shrinking Cities?

The project was headed up by NITC researcher Joanna Ganning, with co-investigator J. Rosie Tighe of Cleveland State University. Ganning had previously studied affordability and transportation...

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Principal Investigator: Victoria Perk
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief or the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

A new NITC report examines the property value impacts of Lane Transit District’s Emerald Express (EmX), a Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, system that connects downtown Eugene to Springfield, Oregon.

BRT is often seen as an economically powerful transit option, providing high-speed service with a generally lower price tag than a light rail system. It seems intuitive that a location-efficient area, with transportation access boosted by BRT, would be an economically desirable place to live; offering access to jobs, shopping and other destinations. Little research, however, has been done recently in the United States examining to what extent BRT affects property values.

The goal of the latest NITC study, led by Victoria Perk and Martin Catalá of the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida in partnership with Lane Transit District and the Florida Department of Transportation,...

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Principal Investigator: Lisa Bates, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related publications and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

Lead Investigator Lisa Bates gave a lecture at Portland State University in December 2017. Watch the video or view the presentation slides.


New transit service often spurs new...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities program (NITC) has selected its latest round of general research projects. The NITC executive committee chose to fund six projects out of the 22 proposals submitted.

The new projects feature principal investigators from five of NITC’s partner schools: the University of Arizona, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland State University and the University of Utah. Two projects involve collaboration between universities.

Each of the selected proposals advances NITC’s core theme of improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities:

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