Dr. Brian Taylor, Professor in Urban Planning and Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA, was the guest speaker and OTREC Visiting Scholar for the CTS Transportation Seminar on November 16, 2007. Dr. Taylor presented "Transit’s Dirty Little Secret: Analyzing Patterns of Transit Use." Later in the day, he was also the keynote speaker at the fall TransNow Student Conference at PSU, presenting "Rethinking Congestion" to the group of students from around the northwest. Professor Taylor’s research centers around transportation policy and planning. In particular, his work explores how society pays for transportation systems and how these systems in turn serve the needs of people who have low levels of mobility.
Congratulations to Oren Eshel, OTREC's 2007 Student of the Year! Orenís interest in regional planning techniques drew him to Portland, where is he is a Master of Urban and Regional Planning graduate student at Portland State University. Oren embarked upon graduate study to focus on public transit, equity in provision of transit services, and regional planning. Oren is a research assistant in the Intelligent Transportation Systems Lab at PSU, and is working on a project to evaluate an adaptive ramp metering system in the Portland region. He is also an intern with the City of Portland’s Transportation Planning section. Oren was nominated by faculty for this award not only because he excels at research and in the classroom, but because he has made a significant mark on the multidisciplinary transportation program at PSU. Oren is President of the PSU transportation student group and ITE chapter (STEP) and coordinated the Fall 2007 Transportation Northwest District 10 Student Conference, which attracted over 70 students from across the region.
OTREC welcomed Robin Kline, Amy Stearns and Lydia Mercado from the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) on November 5. They met with OTREC staff, university leadership and the OTREC Executive Committee. A poster session and reception was held in the afternoon, where RITA staff heard from faculty principal investigators and students who are working on OTREC projects. Members of the OTREC Board of Advisors also met the RITA representatives. RITA oversees the University Transportation Center program, through which OTREC receives federal funding.
OTREC is pleased to announce the formation of its Board of Advisors, as outlined in the OTREC Strategic Plan. The Board consists of representatives from public agencies (including FHWA, FTA, ODOT, TriMet, Port, etc.), private industry and transportation-related interest groups. The role of the BOA is to help develop OTRECís foundation and provide guidance on OTRECís overall mission. The Board will help with long-range planning and direction, identify priority research topics, review annual report and goals, serve as a connection to key agency partners and provide statewide, multimodal, public/private perspectives on research, education and outreach. A complete list of members can be found here.
Dr. Robert Bertini and OTREC faculty and staff hosted guests from Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. on October 31. Nobuo Okubo, Senior Advisor to the Board (Technology), Ryogo Takagi, Manager of Technology Planning and Assistant to Mr. Okubo, and Hayato Akizuki, Director, Technology Planning, were given a tour of Portland transit systems and met with leaders from TriMet, the City of Portland, and Metro. They also toured the ITS Lab at PSU, and had lunch with faculty and community representatives who talked about the history of Portlandís transportation systems. They were welcomed to PSU by Interim President Michael Reardon and Vice Provost for Research William Feyerherm. They ended the day with a ride on the Portland Streetcar and Portland Aerial Tram.
OTREC is pleased to announce the second issue of OTREC News. Issues of OTREC News include reports on our research projects, profiles of students and faculty, introductions to our Executive Committee and Advisory Board, updates on education programs and events, reports of partner university transportation news, and examples of exciting collaboration within our Consortium. This issue includes a special feature describing the strong relationship between OTREC and the Oregon Department of Transportation. Read the newsletter here: Newsletter Fall 2007.
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer was the guest speaker at the weekly Transportation Seminar on Friday, Oct. 26, 2007. His presentation, “Transportation Infrastructure Investment: Past, Present and Future,” focused on the anniversaries of the 1808 and 1908 national transportation plans and the next transportation reauthorization bill. His presentation was hosted by the PSU Center for Transportation Studies and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium.
The Region X Consortium held its fall meeting in Seattle on October 15-16. Representatives from UTCs (OTREC, AUTC, TransNow, NIATT) and state DOTs (ODOT, WSDOT, ITD) attended the bi-annual meeting to discuss regional collaboration for transportation research and education efforts. Agenda items included further discussion of a Region X Memorandum of Understanding that would allow for pooled-funds with which the Consortium will sponsor major research projects from a regional needs perspective. TransNow hosted the meeting and led discussions on freight, infrastructure, and traffic operation research. Hau Hagedorn gave an OTREC update and faculty participants from Oregon included Chris Monsere and Peter Dusicka from PSU and Chris Higgins and Karen Dixon from OSU.
Professor John Pucher, a car-less commuter from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, was the first fall OTREC Visiting Scholar and CTS Seminar guest on September 28, 2007. His presentation, "Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from Europe," was standing room only, and the audience enjoyed his photos of bike-friendly features in cities across Europe. Pucher examined a range of public health impacts of our urban transport systems and argued that the current car dependence of American cities is responsible for enormous environmental harm, social isolation, lack of physical activity, and traffic dangers. He described how improving the convenience, safety, and attractiveness of walking and cycling in crucial to overcoming these negative impacts. Pucher discussed specific policies and programs used in Europe, and advocates their widespread adoption in American cities. A lively discussion with faculty, students and members of the Portland Bicycle Master Plan Committee followed the seminar.