A new NITC report from the University of South Florida makes it easier than ever for cities to collect useful bike data.

Cities like Portland, Oregon, Atlanta and San Francisco have started using smartphone apps to learn how people are using their bicycle infrastructure. The data can help planners decide what designs or upgrades are needed for the bicycle network.

The NITC project Rapidly Expanding Mobile Apps for Crowd-sourcing Bike Data to New Cities takes this idea a step further by creating a proof-of-concept multi-region architecture that would allow cities to share the same set of mobile apps, rather than each city launching its own.

This would significantly reduce the cost of deploying the apps.

Sean Barbeau of USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) led the team in developing the open-source software that allows existing apps to communicate with regional servers.

With it, rather than each city having to modify and deploy their own iOS or Android app, all that a city would need to do is set up a server specific to their geographic area.

Having...

Read more

A NITC education project offers a new curriculum in multimodal transportation planning for graduate courses.

The development of this curriculum, along with a freshly minted course in multimodal transportation, allowed the University of South Florida (USF) to begin offering a graduate certificate in sustainable transportation for the first time in the spring of 2016.

The certificate program is multi-disciplinary and draws students from various fields including planning, engineering and public administration.

These educational efforts are designed to meet the needs of a growing field. Multimodal planning—planning for walking, cycling and transit in addition to auto travel—is becoming increasingly prioritized as communities across the U.S. redefine their planning practices.

As with any fast-developing discipline, the state of the practice sometimes outpaces existing courses and training materials.

Led by Kristine Williams, the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) developed a set of training modules that can be used in university settings and also to help planners in the field stay on top of the latest developments. 

“There are pieces of multimodal planning in different courses, but the state of the practice has really changed a lot. We wanted to...

Read more

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...

Read more

Despite efforts to get more people biking, North America still has low ridership numbers.

The problem? Biking is hard.

A new NITC report by John MacArthur of TREC offers a solution to that problem: e-bikes. 

Many people surveyed say that having to pedal up hills and arriving at their destination sweaty are major deterrents to commuting by bike, even when bike lanes and other facilities are there.

Researchers have put a lot of thought into ways to get more people riding bicycles by improving bicycle infrastructure, land use and public engagement. The efforts are largely due to concerns about congestion, climate change and public health.

Comparatively little research, however, has focused on the bicycle itself.

MacArthur and co-investigator Jennifer Dill teamed up with Drive Oregon, Metro and Kaiser Permanente Northwest to provide Kaiser employees with electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) to use for a trial period of ten weeks. The goal was to see if e-bikes might help overcome some commonly cited barriers to cycling.

The study, Evaluation of Electric Bike Use at Three Kaiser Permanente NW Employment Centers in Portland Metro Region, took place in Portland, Oregon from April 2014 to September 2015. A total of 150 Kaiser employees participated in the study. Fewer than 10 percent of...

Read more

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,...

Read more

Climate change caused by human activity is increasingly recognized as a threat to life on earth.

Despite the lack of a comprehensive national response to this threat, several states have already taken ambitious measures to combat climate change.

A new NITC report examines the approaches used in four leading states—California, Maryland, Oregon and Washington—to identify strengths and weaknesses of the transportation-land use-climate policy framework in each state, and to find opportunities for improvement.

Rebecca Lewis and Rob Zako of the University of Oregon just released their report, Assessing State Efforts to Integrate Transportation, Land Use and Climate

“States have been seen as laboratories of democracy, where we ground-test the ideas that might later apply at the federal level. States should be looking to learn from each other,” Lewis said. “States and cities are the ones taking action.”

The four states examined in this report are progressive in adopting state-level legislation to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) from transportation.

Since the transportation sector accounts for almost one-third of all GHG emissions in the United States, transportation planners and policymakers have the ability to take...

Read more

Six students in the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter of the Oregon Institute of Technology had an in-person meeting earlier this month with Congressman Greg Walden, Representative of the 2nd District of Oregon.

The students, along with Faculty Advisor Dr. Roger Lindgren, were in Washington DC attending the 2017 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting. Funding for the student travel was provided by NITC.

Students Andrew Wixon, Alex Antonaras, Ryan Kelly, Kevin Baker, Jason Millar and Jordan Preston had the opportunity for a brief conversation with the congressman as part of their TRB experience. Students at Oregon Tech have a strong tradition of participating in NITC projects and events.

Oregon Tech has partnered with the university transportation center at Portland State since its 2006 inception as OTREC, and continues this collaboration by being a part of the expanded NITC program grant established in 2016.

The ITE student chapter at Oregon Tech, since its establishment in 2002, has provided its student members with a variety of transportation learning activities including field tours, webinars, traffic bowl participation and travel to conferences.

One of the group's main priorities is putting engineering students in contact with practicing engineers and real-world...

Read more

Portland State doctoral student Patrick Singleton won the best presentation award for the Doctoral Research in Transport Modeling and Traveler Behavior session of the Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, D.C. This marks the second year running that a Portland State student has won the award, after Steven Gehrke won in 2016.

Singleton presented “Exploring the Positive Utility of Travel and Mode Choice,” drawn from his dissertation research. Positive utility of travel is a concept that travel can provide benefits and be motivated by factors beyond reaching a destination.

The award will be formally presented during the Network Modeling Committee meeting at next year’s Transportation Research Board conference.

Singleton continues to rack up awards. He has been named the NITC university transportation center student of the year and has received Eno and Eisenhower fellowships, being named the top-ranked Eisenhower recipient at the 2015 TRB annual meeting. He was also named a NITC dissertation fellow in 2016.

He is a doctoral student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department and is involved in several TREC research projects. His adviser is Prof....

Read more

Proponents of advanced bikeways will point out a growing body of research on these facilities’ safety and benefits for cycling. They can now add another benefit: higher home values.

Research led by Jenny Liu of Portland State University looked at property around advanced bikeways in Portland, defined as bicycle boulevards, protected bike lanes and buffered bike lanes. She found positive effects on property values close to one of these bikeways and an even stronger effect where the network was denser.

Liu presents her research Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Learn more or download the research paper.

For single family home sales, being a quarter mile closer to an advanced bikeway translated to a $686 premium, while increasing the density by a quarter mile represented a $4,039 premium. For multi-family homes, the effect of being close to a bikeway wasn’t statistically significant on sale price, but increasing the density of bikeways translated to $4,712 of value.

The research can inform policymakers who may question how much residents value bikeways and provide insight into siting decisions. “My results don’t...

Read more

Saddling transit-oriented developments with parking requirements better suited to typical suburban developments can make housing and office space near transit scarce and overly expensive. That’s one implication of a NITC research report examining driving and parking at these centers.

It makes sense that transit-oriented developments—dense, walkable centers close to transit that combine residential, commercial and office uses—would generate fewer car trips and need less parking than other development types. But until now, no one has found out how much less parking.

NITC researcher Reid Ewing of the University of Utah took up the challenge and reveals the answer in a report: a lot less. The developments Ewing’s team studied generally generated less than half the driving, and required fewer than half the parking spaces, than standard guidebooks predict. They presented some of their findings Jan. 10 during the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Learn more about the conference or download the paper.

Ewing’s team studied transit-oriented developments in five United States metropolitan areas and found the...

Read more

Pages