Monday is the first day for lectern and poster sessions at TRB. Researchers from universities affiliated with the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program have 12 presentations on the day's schedule.

Chris Monsere of Portland State University presents "Operational Guidance for Bicycle-Specific Traffic Signals in the United States" at an 8:30 a.m. poster session in Hall E (all listed rooms are in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center). The poster is part of a state department of transportation high-value research session.

Last July, the project, led by Monsere with co-investigator Miguel Figliozzi, was honored as a "Sweet Sixteen" project by the Research Advisory Committee to the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research. Each year, the committee collects High Value Research highlights from member states across the country. From these, each of the four RAC regions selects its top four projects to form the Sweet Sixteen. 

More information on the research is on the project page.

Other highlights for the day

  • Nicholas Stoll of Portland State University gives a lectern presentation on using bus GPS data to identify congestion hot spots at 8 a.m. in Room 150A. Read our feature story on this research. 
  • Patrick...
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Sunday, the first day of the Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, D.C., is workshop day. Portland State University doctoral student Tara Goddard presents in a showcase of research stemming from the prestigious Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship program.

Goddard probed the question of why so many bicyclists die in traffic crashes. Cyclists are 12 times more likely to be killed in a crash than a driver or passenger in a car. She wondered what role drivers' attitudes toward cyclists might play.

Goddard's research uses a survey to measure drivers' attitudes and self-reported behaviors and to test drivers' implicit attitudes toward both other drivers and cyclists. She pairs the survey piece with a lab experiment that uses hazard-perception video clips to examine whether drivers notice cyclists. 

By this approach, Goddard hopes to understand drivers' attitudes and whether those attitudes can predict how they act on the road. That understanding can potentially lead to steps to improve cyclist safety. Her workshop runs 9 a.m. to noon in Room 202B of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Disaster recovery workshop

John MacArthur of TREC presents "Smart, Shared and Social: Enhancing All-Hazards Recovery Plans With Demand...

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Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation released an ambitious plan to make sure the public has access to federally funded research. The plan could have far-reaching effects both inside the department and with organizations such as states, universities and contractors.

To help the transportation community sort out implications of the plan, two Transportation Research Board standing committees—Library and Information Science for Transportation and Conduct of Research—are sponsoring a workshop Sunday during the TRB annual meeting. The workshop, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., will offer background, plan details and training on the new requirements along with best-practice case studies.

Although the plan includes many exceptions, it represents a big step toward the goal of making publicly funded research available to the public, said Kendra Levine, co-chair of the LIST committee and research librarian at the University of California Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies Library

In the past, it hasn’t always been clear...

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Painted as the “next big thing” in transit, bus rapid transit systems have the luster of a new concept -- and the lack of research literature to match. A NITC research project set out to change that, producing a far-ranging research report delving into the influence of BRT on jobs, housing and development.

Bus Rapid Transit systems occupy a space between regular bus and light rail systems. Like regular bus systems, BRT systems typically use rubber tires and internal combustion engines and run on paved roads. However, the systems may share many features with light-rail trains, including exclusive lanes, off-vehicle payment systems and low floors and large doors for quicker boarding.

Led by Arthur C. Nelson at the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center, the project, “National Study of BRT Development Outcomes,” looked at systems around the country, finding evidence that BRT systems influence development patterns in important ways. The research found that BRT systems are tied to positive outcomes for development and job location, although not necessarily changes in population or housing.

Bus rapid transit systems hold the promise of bringing communities some of the positive outcomes traditionally associated with light-rail transit systems but at a lower cost. The research will be of interest to...

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In recent decades, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has gained popularity across the United States due to its relatively low costs of development (compared to the investment requirements of putting in a new light rail system, for example) and its potential to drive economic development.

However, there is a need for more comprehensive research devoted to understanding its economic impacts across various sectors.

NITC researcher Joanna Ganning is the lead author on a research paper that will be presented at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board this month, which seeks to estimate the effects of BRT stations on employment growth.

Using Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics data, Ganning and her research team investigated the impacts of BRT on employment changes of each major industry sector between 2002 and 2010.

The researchers analyzed employment data surrounding 226 BRT stations along nine BRT corridors which were opened during the study period, as well as employment data from equally sized areas around control points.

Metropolitan areas included in the analysis were Phoenix, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, New York City, Cleveland, Ohio and Eugene, Oregon.

With the presence or absence of BRT stations as the independent variable, the team found that BRT statistically significantly influenced employment change for just one...

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Traffic congestion on urban roadways can influence operating costs and cause travel delays.

Portland State University master’s students Nicholas Stoll and Travis Glick will present a paper introducing solutions for locating the sources of congestion at the 2016 annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board.

With their faculty advisor, Miguel Figliozzi, Stoll and Glick looked into using bus GPS data to identify congestion hot spots.

By using high-resolution GPS data to visualize trends in bus behavior and movement, the researchers were able to examine the sources of delay on urban arterials.

These visualizations, which can be in the form of heat maps or speed plots like the one shown here on the right (an application of numerical method applied to a 2,000 ft segment of SE Powell), can be used by transportation agencies to identify locations where improvements are needed. For example, adding a queue jump lane at a congested intersection can improve flow.

The researchers used fine-grained bus data provided by TriMet to create the visualizations. Buses have been used as probes to estimate...

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States can reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a broad range of approaches, but none will have much luck without continued support from leaders and the public, according to NITC program research from the University of Oregon. In a conference paper for the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C., a team led by Rebecca Lewis took a close look at the efforts West Coast states have made to reduce emissions from the transportation.

Cutting transportation emissions depends on three variables: vehicle efficiency, fuel carbon content and vehicle miles traveled, or VMT. The paper focuses on the last leg: cutting driving. While more efficient automobiles and alternative fuels have come on the market in recent years, a growing population and longer commutes can wipe out any emissions gains from shifts in fuel economy and fuel type.

Washington, Oregon and California have all passed statutes to cut statewide greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2020. The approaches vary in their targets, plans and strategies.

Lewis and her team present the research in a poster session Tuesday, Jan. 12 at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in...

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Planners and policymakers make decisions that shape neighborhoods based on the best data they have. Unfortunately, when it comes to predicting where people want to live, those data give an incomplete or inaccurate picture.

Behavioral models often rely on basic socioeconomic data such as household size, income and age. But deciding where to live depends on attitudes toward a tangled mix of transportation, urban form and housing characteristics. A NITC project helped untangle these decisions by creating a framework to understand neighborhood preference.

Steven Gehrke presents some of this project’s research findings Wednesday, Jan. 13 at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.

A team led by Kelly Clifton, with Gehrke and Kristina Currans, designed survey techniques that give a clearer picture of the decision-making process. Their work is detailed in the NITC report “Understanding Market Segments for Current and Future Residential Location and Travel Choices.”

Gehrke’s TRB paper details one piece of that research project. The research team presented respondents a series of images...

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The NITC program has selected a dissertation fellow for the fall 2015 round of dissertation funding.

Tara Goddard, a Portland State University Ph.D. candidate, will be awarded a $15,000 fellowship to support her doctoral dissertation research.

Goddard's dissertation explores drivers' behaviors toward bicyclists in roadway interactions.

Bicyclists in the United States are twelve times more likely than car occupants to be killed in a traffic crash with a car. Existing research into crash causation has focused on physical factors such as vehicle speed and intersection type, with little of it delving into psychological and cultural variables.

Goddard is researching drivers' attitudes toward bicyclists, by means of an online survey, in an effort to understand how those attidutes may predict behaviors. She hopes to reveal some of the underlying causes of bicycle and motor vehicle collisions.

Her research aims to advance community livability and safety goals.

Stay tuned for more on this research as it unfolds, or sign up for our mailing list and choose “Research Findings” in order to receive NITC reports as they are published.

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