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Even with uncertainty clouding the future of university transportation research, more than 150 people from around the country showed their dedication to providing the most useful transportation research at the Council of University Transportation Centers2011 summer meeting. OTREC hosted the conference June 13-15 at Portland State University.

University transportation researchers and staff, along with federal and state transportation officials, convened for three days of work sessions, meetings and exploring. OTREC-organized tours gave a Portland flavor to the proceedings, letting visitors explore the city by every available transportation mode. The 4T trail took participants on a light-rail train, a trail, an aerial tram and a streetcar (or trolley). The bike tour showed off the bicycle infrastructure that is making Portland nationally known. An architecture walking tour highlighted downtown Portland’s buildings and parks. And the food-and-beer tour explored the city’s burgeoning food-cart scene and copious microbreweries.

For many people, the conference provided the...

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OTREC Director Jennifer Dill's recent trip to Europe found people of all ages and walks of life on bicycles, perhaps not surprising given the resources dedicated to bicycle facilities. Photos in the slideshow are from Milan (first four) and Munich (last five).

Check out the bike museum photo of tire concepts: imagine riding to work on springs or corks!

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Thursday, Jan. 27 dispatch from the TRB annual meeting in Washington, D.C.:

Not everyone who attends the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., stays until the end. This year, many who planned to leave before Thurday’s sessions just couldn’t pull themselves away.

Thank the snowstorm.

With fresh snow quickly coating the capital region, flights were canceled and delayed while other traffic came to a standstill. Even the annual meeting’s internal transportation system ground to a halt, as shuttle buses between the three conference hotels stopped running. The Capital Bikeshare program that had served attendees so well on a tour of the district earlier in the week shut down for the weather.

Conference attendees got their exercise walking between hotels, and stopping for snowball fights along the way. Others, with an unplanned night in town, gave more business to District bars.

Along the way, a conference dedicated to the multitude of transportation modes ended up highlighting the original: walking. “Turns out I actually walked 6.3 miles (or more) yesterday,” Richard Moeur, a Phoenix-based traffic engineer, wrote on Twitter. “Need snowshoes!”

Jennifer Dill, OTREC’s director, said the streets in the District’s core were clear by Thursdsay, although the scene Wednesday night was chaotic. “The snow does shut down Washington,” Dill said. “Buses were getting stuck going uphill. There was a big line for taxis.”

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Ten OTREC researchers, staff, and students participated in the Transportation Research Board and University Transportation Center Transportation Systems for Livable Communities Conference last week in Washington, D.C. The conference brought together researchers and practitioners from transportation, housing and public health.

Highlights of the conference included an insightful discussion on defining livability. Despite inconclusive debate on the definition, participants agreed that for the concept to be embraced it can neither be dictated nor prescribed.  Performance measures also were a recurring theme of the two-day conference. Concepts explored included: re-evaluating outdated measures such as volume-to-capacity ratio and level of service to better reflect different modes, shifting thinking from mobility to accessibility and proximity, and data standardization and measurement methodologies. To complete the livability picture, the multigenerational and socioeconomic considerations need to be included.

The following four OTREC research projects were highlighted during the conference poster session:

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On Monday, OTREC faculty and students met with transportation scholars and practitioners from China. Professor Haixiao Pan from Tongji University in Shanghai presented his research on transit-oriented development titled "From TOD to 5D in a Fast Growth City with High Density." His look at Chinese cities indicates that levels of walking and bicycling are key to reducing vehicle miles traveled, perhaps even more so than transit use.

Liyuan Gong, deputy director of the Jinan Public Transport Development Institute, and Wenhong Wang, department head of the Beijing Urban Engineering Design and Research Institute Co., gave overviews of bus rapid transit systems in several Chinese cities.

Professor Connie Ozawa, director of the School of Urban Studies and Planning, welcomed the group to Portland State University. OTREC Director Jennifer Dill presented her research on travel behavior of TOD residents and John Gliebe, OTREC researcher and urban studies assistant professor, presented on dynamic travel demand modeling. Arlie Adkins, an urban studies doctoral student, presented "Getting the Parking Right for Suburban TODs."

The forum gave students and faculty opportunities to exchange ideas about integrating transportation and land use in China and the United States. In both countries, some transit-oriented developments have fallen short of transit-use goals for similar reasons, such as convenience and time. Reliability of transit service often plays a greater role...

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Kelly Clifton and Jennifer Dill, both OTREC researchers at Portland State University, are on the organizing committee for the World Symposium on Transport & Land Use Research. The inaugural symposium will run July 28 to 30, 2011 in Whistler, British Columbia. Research papers are being accepted now.

The symposium is projected to meet every three years, following in the footsteps of the Access to Destinations conferences held in 2004 and 2007. It wil bring together academics and practitioners focused on the ties between economics, planning and engineering in the transportation and land-use fields 

Interdisciplinary research papers on topics that address the interaction of transport and land use will be accepted for consideration until Dec. 31. Welcome domains include: engineering, planning, modeling, behavior, economics, geography, regional science, sociology, architecture and design, network science, and complex systems.

Papers will be categorized and ranked by peer reviewers. Theoretical, empirical, case-study, and policy-oriented contributions are welcome. All papers will be considered for publication in the Journal of Transportation and Land Use.

See the...

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OTREC Director Jennifer Dill participated in the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) conference in Crystal City, Virginia from October 1-4, 2009.  She moderated a session on Understanding the Motivations for Travel Choice: Public Transit, Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and Walking.  She also made two presentations:  Individualized Marketing Programs for TDM: Long-Term Effects and the Role of Psychological Theories and Land Use Policy Innovation: Jurisdictional Experiences in Adoption and Implementation.  While in DC, she took the opportunity to meet with every office in the Oregon congressional delegation

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OTREC would like to congratulate PSU Professor Jennifer Dill for earning the 2009 Woman of the Year award from the WTS Portland Chapter. Professor Dill will being honored along with other award recipients at a banquet on May 14th. In addition to the award, Dill also had an article, ìBicycling for Transportation and Health: The Role of Infrastructureî published recently in the Journal of Public Health Policy.

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Portland State University is committed to supporting research that is both regionally focused and globally relevant. This fall PSU has published a brochure featuring some of its exemplary research including OTREC sponsored projects by researchers Madeleine Pullman and Jennifer Dill. Dr. Pullman's research addresses the logistical issues raised by the rising demand for locally produced foods. She has studied supply chain success stories like that of Country Natural Beef, a cooperative family business committed to environmental responsibility, as well as other enterprises that have been slower to adopt such values, in order to better understand the impediments to change. Dr. Dill's research team has given GPS devices to bicycle commuters and collected rider surveys in order to collect data about the routes cyclists take, gender differences in riding and other information that can help cities better understand cyclistsí infrastructure needs. This regionally aimed research creates universal models of environmental responsibility and sustainability from which other cities can benefit.

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On August 21, Katie Drennan and Ante Vulin, from Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office, visited with OTREC and IBPI staff to learn more about the Consortium and the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Institute. Mary Rae Moller, Dr. Robert Bertini, Dr. Jennifer Dill, Dr. Lynn Weigand, and Hau Hagedorn participated in the discussion with Congressman Blumenauer’s legislative assistants.

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