On creating civic engagement, driving density and sharing a stage with the 'funniest person on earth'

Our cities reflect how we choose to live. Increasingly, we choose to live alone.

Eric Klinenberg spent seven years researching people who live alone for his book “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.” Klinenberg will discuss the implications for the future of transportation as keynote speaker for the Transportation and Communities Summit on Monday, Sept. 15.

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Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University, came to the topic after an earlier investigation into isolation. Instead of a problem, however, he found the sort of vitality that drives civic participation.

People who live alone, Klinenberg said, make cities vibrant places by nourishing the “social infrastructure”: the places and institutions that support people’s public lives.

 “When countries invest in public amenities, including transit, they make it easier for...

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Millennials prefer walking over driving by a substantially wider margin than any other generation, according to a new poll conducted by the National Association of Realtors and TREC, the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University.

The 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey found that millennials, those aged 18 to 34, prefer walking as a mode of transportation by 12 percentage points over driving. Millennials are also shown to prefer living in attached housing, living within walking distance of shops and restaurants, and having a short commute, and are the most likely age group to make use of public transportation.

The poll also found that millennials show a stronger preference than other generations for expanding public transportation and providing transportation alternatives to driving, such as biking and walking, while also increasing the availability of trains and buses. Millennials likewise favor developing communities where people do not need to drive long distances to work or shop.

> Jennifer Dill of TREC and Hugh Morris of NAR will discuss the findings in a free Webinar Aug. 5....

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A project led by Portland State University researchers Chris Monsere and Miguel Figliozzi has been nationally recognized as one of sixteen high value research projects by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Each year at its annual meeting, AASHTO's Research Advisory Committee selects four projects from each of its four regions to form a "Sweet Sixteen" group of important and influential projects.

The project, “Operational Guidance for Bicycle-Specific Traffic Signals,” reviewed the current state of practice for bicycle signals and evaluated cyclist performance characteristics at intersections. The research has been used to inform an FHWA Interim Approval for bicycle signals.

Bike signals are beginning to be common in major cities throughout the U.S., with some engineering guidance available from the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the...

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The Portland, Oregon chapter of WTS awards scholarships each year to help exceptional women advance in the field of transportation. Three of the scholarships last fall were awarded to students at NITC member campuses.

With NITC’s support, these students were able to attend the WTS International Conference in Chicago, Illinois May 20-22.

Miranda Barrus, a civil engineering student at the Oregon Institute of Technology, received the Sharon D. Banks Undergraduate Scholarship.

This was her first time attending the WTS International conference.

“Thanks to NITC, I was able to sit in a banquet room full of hundreds of women engineers,” Barrus said. “Being in the city itself was also a wonderful opportunity, seeing different sights and utilizing different forms of transit.”

Rae-Leigh Stark, a first year Masters of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) student at PSU, was awarded the Gail Achterman Leadership Scholarship. She described the conference as an “awesome opportunity.”

Keynote speaker Erin Brockovich was a high point for Stark, who appreciated Brockovich’s narrative of standing up for her beliefs and facing challenges with humor....

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The NITC program has selected three dissertation fellows for the spring 2015 round of dissertation funding.

Steve Gerhke, a civil and environmental engineering student at Portland State University, will research land use mixing and the impact it has on active travel.

His work will examine the relationship between land use mix and walking trips, mode choice and active travel behavior forecasting. Gehrke’s research aims to provide greater specificity to policymakers and practitioners interested in the active travel outcomes associated with increasing land use mix.

Christine Kendrick of PSU’s environmental science and management program will study the urban roadway atmospheric environment.

Kendrick proposes that urban arterial environments, with their high traffic volumes and wide mix of road users, are important targets for efforts to reduce travelers’ exposure to traffic-related air pollution. She hopes to advance research in this area by providing improved exposure assessment and exploration of mitigation strategies.

Nicholas Perdue, a geography student at the University of Oregon, will explore pedestrian modeling and agent cognition.

His dissertation is an extension of a current NITC project, Agent Based Model Simulating Pedestrian Behavioral Responses to Environmental Structural Changes, led by his faculty advisors Amy...

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The NITC program’s executive committee has awarded around $1.5 million in funding for 16 research projects. The projects reflect NITC’s theme as the national university transportation center for livable communities: safe, healthy and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities.

This funding round included a special focus on research examining economic effects of transportation. Funded projects on this focus area looked at urban greenways, location affordability in shrinking cities, transportation affordability in developments near transit, smart-parking programs and effects of bus rapid transit on surrounding property values.

Principal investigators on funded projects represent four of the five NITC program campuses: eight projects from Portland State University, three each from the University of Utah and the University of Oregon and two from the University of South Florida. The Oregon Institute of Technology is also a NITC member campus.

Eleven projects involve collaboration between multiple researchers, with two...

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As we previously reported, Patrick Singleton, a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Portland State University, was selected to attend the 2015 Eno Future Leaders Development Conference in Washington, DC, last week. As an Eno Fellow, Patrick attended a series of meetings and tours designed to be an introduction to the transportation policymaking landscape. Here, he shares his experience in his own words.

Last week I had the pleasure and honor to attend the 2015 Eno Center for Transportation’s Future Leaders Development Conference, in Washington, DC. Along with 19 other graduate students from around the country, I learned about federal transportation policymaking from leaders in the field.

During the week, we met with a wide array of distinguished speakers on a variety of transportation topics. We heard how Capitol Hill deals with transportation legislation from Congressional staffers. We debated big policy issues in the aviation industry with an airport CEO, trade organization lobbyists, and expert consultants. We learned about new requirements for performance management from...

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The goal is to keep people moving west. Seems like an easy enough task, but currently there is no way for cyclists to keep riding west from the University of Oregon campus on 13th Avenue after Hilyard Street in Eugene, Oregon.

That’s where LiveMove, the UO’s transportation and livability student group, stepped in and developed the 13th Avenue Project to create a two-way protected bike lane along the north end of the street. The new bike route will travel from the university campus to Olive Street, a distance of over a mile.

It’s a project that’s now on the city of Eugene’s Capital Improvement Plan budget for 2018, and it was the task of LiveMove president Ross Peizer and incoming vice president Brett Setterfield to present a poster outlining the project at the American Planning Association’s 2015 National Conference in Seattle, where they won the FAICP Choice Award.

After weeks of hard work and countless hours of looking at a computer screen, the team developed a poster that clearly and professionally detailed the 13th Avenue Project.

See the winning poster here.

During the presentation, the students had several people approach and ask what the project was all about.

“One particular individual...

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A new study led by Miguel Figliozzi of Portland State University provides a microscopic evaluation of how two advanced traffic control technologies work together.

Powell Boulevard, an east-west arterial corridor in southeast Portland, Oregon, has been the focus of several research studies by Figliozzi’s TTP research lab. The street is a key route for public transit buses as well as pedestrians and cars, but heavy traffic at peak hours often results in delays.

On Powell there are two systems operating concurrently: a demand-responsive traffic signal system called Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) and a Transit Signal Priority (TSP) system. The TSP in the Portland metro region is designed to give priority to late buses and to boost transit performance.

In previous studies Figliozzi’s lab has analyzed a multitude of factors on Powell Boulevard including traffic congestion, transit times, air quality and cyclists’ intake of air pollutants, and a before/after evaluation of SCATS.

For this study, the researchers used a novel approach to evaluate how well SCATS and TSP work together by integrating three major data sources and video recordings at individual intersections.

Figliozzi’s team worked closely with TriMet and the City of Portland to...

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Two Oregon elementary schools recently had their parking lots redesigned by the students.

5th grade classes at Beaverton’s Chehalem Elementary and 5th and 6th graders at Tobias Elementary in Aloha took part in a NITC education project, Investigations in Transportation, co-sponsored by Portland State University, the Portland Metro STEM Partnership and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The students' work yielded functional changes which will likely be made to the parking lots at both schools, resulting in better traffic flow and increased capacity.

William Becker, the director of PSU’s Center for Science Education, and Carol Biskupic-Knight began the NITC project in collaboration with the Portland Metro STEM Partnership, where Biskupic-Knight is the director of the STEM teachers academy.

The unit was designed to teach students real-world applications of core concepts in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). After exploring several potential engineering challenges at their schools, both groups of students chose to work on the “Parking Lot Dilemma.”

Transportation professionals from ODOT visited the...

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