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...

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Tara Goddard, a doctoral candidate in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, has been selected as the 2016 NITC university transportation center student of the year.

NITC takes pride in the development of tomorrow’s transportation leaders, involving students in research and supporting student transportation groups.

Goddard is the 11th student of the year since Portland State established its university transportation center in 2006. She is being recognized at the Council of University Transportation Centers 2017 Annual Awards Banquet in Washington, D.C., where she's also attending the Transportation Research Board annual meeting.

Goddard’s dissertation research explores drivers’ attitudes and behaviors toward bicyclists. This reflects her broader interest in the intersectionality between transportation and the social sciences, and how professionals in both disciplines can work together to improve upon public spaces and the ways that people interact within them.

This research focus comes with exciting opportunities for future work, a future which is still being determined: Goddard has applied for academic positions in different parts of the world and is waiting to hear what country she will be living in next year. Meanwhile, she is staying busy.

“I am vigorously trying to wrap up my PhD in the next two months, and...

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Pedestrians often have to wait longer than drivers for the light to change. Increased delay for pedestrians can lead to noncompliance, which can have a negative impact on safety.

Most planning efforts geared toward those on foot have tended to focus on safety, but pedestrian efficiency is also important.

NITC researchers will present on this topic at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Learn more and download our guide to the conference.

Sirisha Kothuri, a research associate in civil engineering at Portland State University, is the principal investigator on this NITC research project, an extension of her doctoral dissertation work.

Kothuri and co-investigator Edward Smaglik of Northern Arizona University will present their work Sunday, Jan. 8 in a workshop at the TRB conference. Their research looked at pedestrian strategies around the country to determine if they were primarily safety or efficiency measures.

“Generally, pedestrian strategies, if they exist at all, are safety based,” Kothuri said.

So the first task was to identify efficiency-based strategies for pedestrians. Then the research team undertook a...

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The final report on this research is available now: Design for an Aging Population

Published in April 2017, this study sought to increase understanding of the obstacles faced by people with impairments in vision, hearing and/or mobility, which are common issues for older people, and generate physical product solutions.

The research shows that aging riders face conceptual, physical and social barriers that impact their willingness to use buses. Using the bus was seen as inconvenient, time consuming, physically draining and potentially frustrating. Priority seating areas designated for older and disabled users fill quickly. People with mobility challenges may use bulky walkers and require the availability of grab bars, and users of wheeled mobility devices need different device security. Several situations noted in the study show that physically challenged riders are subject to awkward, uncomfortable social dynamics more than other bus users. Innovation in easy access seats and secure WhMD stations at the front of the bus are critical for older users, as it makes riding the bus less draining and more safe.

This research was presented at TRB's 2017 annual meeting. See below for our coverage of the research at TRB.


Seniors make up a...

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Portland State University has secured a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for transportation research, education and outreach. Portland State’s Transportation Research and Education Center, TREC, will administer the grant, which is expected to total $15.6 million.

The grant names TREC's National Institute for Transportation and Communities program, or NITC, as one of five national university transportation centers. TREC will expand the NITC program and add new partners University of Arizona and University of Texas at Arlington. Existing partners University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology and University of Utah remain partners in the Portland State-led program.

The NITC program will focus on four research areas: increasing access to opportunities; improving multi-modal planning and shared use of infrastructure; advancing innovation and smart cities; and developing data, models and tools. Among the 11 projects funded in the first year of the grant are:

  • A smart platform for connected vehicle infrastructure and signal control;
  • A multidisciplinary look at how the concept of walkability has left out disadvantaged neighborhoods and how to address those gaps;
  • Two innovative efforts to help transit connect people with jobs and opportunities;
  • An examination of the economic and business effects of converting infrastructure for nonmotorized...
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TREC research takes center stage in Washington, D.C. at this week’s University Transportation Center Spotlight Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The conference spotlight topic changes each year. This, the 10th annual conference, focuses on pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Conference chair Jennifer Dill, director of TREC and its NITC program, opens the program Thursday by defining the safety threats for people walking and bicycling in our communities. She will then task attendees with addressing the problem.

“I’m pleased to have the leading researchers on these issues together,” Dill said. “This conference provides opportunities for collaboration and synergies that advance the state of research.”

TREC’s John MacArthur and Christopher Monsere moderate a breakout session on bicycle infrastructure that includes a presentation from Monsere and NITC researcher David Hurwitz on right-hook crashes. Portland State researchers also present topics including pedestrian crossing enhancements, the psychology of roadway interactions,and developing an online tool for pedestrian and bicycle...

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Vanessa Garrison, co-founder of national walking movement GirlTrek, gave the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture October 19 at Portland State University. Her simple, powerful message has mobilized more than 75,000 black women and girls since 2011 to start changing their lives and their communities for the better.

“Change starts with one woman,” she said. That is GirlTrek’s change theory: start with one woman, and there is a ripple effect.

Every time one woman is inspired by GirlTrek to commit to a daily habit of walking, so the theory goes, she can begin to motivate her friends, family or neighbors to walk with her and the movement gains another focal point around which to build momentum.

It's about health, but so much more.

In improving her own health, each GirlTrek walker gains the strength to effect other positive changes in her world.

With a group of women walking together every day, the neighborhood becomes safer. Then, depending on the needs of the community, more change begins to evolve. Are there safe sidewalks? Does traffic speed down the streets of the neighborhood? Should there be more destinations to walk to? What forms of social injustice can be addressed at the local level? These are questions that GirlTrek staff members love to help trekkers answer.

“Whatever it is that a women needs, to go back into her community and create change, we help bring her there,” Garrison said...

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A new NITC report introduces an important tool for safety analysis: a naturalistic method of data collection that can be used to improve the cycling experience.

Before now, most naturalistic studies (studies where data are collected in a natural setting, rather than a controlled setting) in bicycle safety research have been captured by stationary cameras and haven't followed cyclists along a route.

Researchers in this study used first-person video and sensor data to measure cyclists' reactions to specific situations.

Safety research in general has advanced significantly through naturalistic driving studies, which gather data from real drivers to illuminate the causes of traffic incidents both major and minor. For motorized vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been developing portable, vehicle-based data collection technologies since the early 1990s.

Portland State University researchers Feng Liu, Miguel Figliozzi and Wu-chi Feng sought to capture the cycling experience with physiological sensors and helmet-mounted cameras.

Their report, Utilizing Ego-centric Video to Conduct Naturalistic Bicycling Studies, offers a successful method for integrating video and sensor data to record...

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The 2016 Transportation and Communities Summit set off on a different path from previous summits and brought new energy into discussion of the future of transportation. Around 285 people attended the summit, held Sept. 8-9 at Portland State University, an increase from last year. 

First-time attendees made up a sizable percentage of conference-goers. Of those responding to a post-summit survey, more than 40 percent had never attended a summit before.

Responding to feedback from previous attendees, TREC organizers added a day of workshops before the main summit day. The workshops allowed attendees to dive deeper into specific transportation topics and interact with moderators and other participants to address real-world problems.

The lively poster session also served its goal of fostering conversations between practitioners, academics and students. Attendees consistently rate networking as one of the most valuable aspects of the summit, and the poster session—with more than twice the posters of previous summits—helped make those interactions more productive.

Topical breakout sessions form the backbone of the summit, showcasing the best thinking around issues from researchers and practitioners. Previous summits offered two breakout slots with four sessions each, meaning a single attendee could only attend a quarter of the sessions offered. The 2016 summit, by contrast, offered three breakout slots with...

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