Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

The American Planning Assocation held its annual conference in Chicago this April.

Two OTREC universities sent students to attend, and OTREC staff member Jon Makler attended the Intelligent Cities "Unconference," which was held on Wednesday, April 17.

In addition to Portland State University graduate student research group Celillo Planning Studio, which won the APA student award for Application of the Planning Process, there were other PSU students who attended just to soak up the conference. Two students from the University of Oregon also attended and created a research poster for the conference.

This year's APA gave some focus to transportation. In addition to Monday, April 15 being themed "Transportation Day: Transforming Cities Through Transportation," there were also a handful of other transportation events including workshops titled "Sustainability Implications for Urban Transportation" and "Transportation Planning in a Changing Climate."

Makler, OTREC’s Education and Technology Transfer Program Manager, said that one of this year's highlights for him was the Unconference: a facilitated, participant-driven meeting which encouraged attendees to explore the ideas they were most interested in talking about. OTREC was one of about 25 organizations to take part in the Unconference.

After...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

The quality of OTREC research has recently been recognized on a national level.

Selected data from the Portland Oregon Regional Transportation Archive Listing (PORTAL) will be part of a new national data sharing platform.

The US Department of Transportation has released the first version of this platform, called the Research Data Exchange, which collects and publishes archived and real-time transportation data from multiple sources.

In the language of their home page, the Research Data Exchange (called the RDE for short) was primarily developed to “support the development, testing, and demonstration of multi-modal transportation mobility applications being pursued under the USDOT ITS Dynamic Mobility Applications (DMA) Program and other connected vehicle research activities.”

In other words, USDOT created this database so they could use it. But – in the spirit of collaboration common to those with an interest in collecting and managing vast amounts of information – they’re sharing it.

The RDE is free and open to the...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

OTREC research associate John MacArthur, in partnership with Drive Oregon, has been awarded a grant from Metro.

The grant is part of a $2.1 million effort by Metro to improve air quality and community health.

With the Metro grant, Drive Oregon and MacArthur plan to conduct a study of consumer perception and use of electric bicycles, pedal-bikes that provide extra propulsion from a rechargeable battery.

The idea is to see whether having the use of an e-bike will persuade non-bicycle-commuters to use a bike for the “first and last mile” of their daily commute; for example, to get from their workplace to the nearest MAX light rail station.

The e-bikes provided in the study will be foldable for convenient carrying onto the train. Ultimately, the partners of this study hope to increase the percentage of people who commute by bicycle and light rail, thus contributing to overall community health by reducing automobile emissions.

30 e-bikes will be loaned to 180 employees of Kaiser Permanente, at three designated work locations. Each participant will have the free use of an e-bike for one month, bookended by surveys about their expectations and perceptions of the experience.

MacArthur is conducting some overlapping research into e-bike use in a related OTREC...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

Flashing-yellow-arrow traffic signals offer convenience for drivers by permitting them to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic. This convenience, OTREC research has found, can come at the expense of safety, especially where the traffic mix includes pedestrians.

OTREC researchers David Hurwitz of Oregon State University and Christopher Monsere of Portland State University examined how driver behaviors affect pedestrian safety at flashing yellow arrows. Their findings show that drivers at these intersections often don’t even look for pedestrians.

This research will be the focus of OTREC’s first live interview-style Webinar May 7. Host Steph Routh of Oregon Walks will interview the researcher-practitioner team, explore real-world applications and take audience questions. The Webinar is free. Details are at this link:

Flashing-yellow-arrow Webinar

Flashing yellow arrows have been replacing other left-turn signals, such as solid green or flashing yellow or red circles, to indicate that drivers may turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. These turns are considered “permissive.” Turns where no conflicting traffic is present, such as those indicated with a green arrow, are “protected” turns. The flashing yellow arrow’s inclusion in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices sped up the signal’s adoption to indicate a permissive...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

During Hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Katrina in 2005, at least 11 highway and railroad bridges along the U.S. Gulf Coast were damaged. When the water rose during the storms, wave forces slammed into the bridges’ supporting substructures, and when it rose high enough, the water’s buoyancy had enough power to lift off sections of a bridge’s superstructure and lay them aside like giant Legos.

To build bridges that can withstand the force of hurricane waves, engineers must be able to estimate the effects those waves will have on bridge structures. An OTREC project led by Oregon State University professor Daniel Cox examined the effects of wave loading on highway bridge superstructures.

Cox and co-investigator Solomon C. Yim, also of Oregon State University, conducted experiments in the Large Wave Flume at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University. They used a 1:5 scale, reinforced concrete model of a section of the Interstate 10 Bridge over Escambia Bay, Fla, which failed during Hurricane Ivan.

To see more details about the project, “Hurricane Wave Forces on Highway Bridge Superstructure,” click here, or download the final report.

The problem addressed by this project is that, while...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

When planning their daily commute, most drivers account for the traffic they know is unavoidable: at peak times of day, like morning and afternoon rush hour, they probably allow extra time to get where they’re going.

The delays that are harder to accept are the unexpected ones, when accidents, road work, or a traffic bottleneck turn a thirty minute trip into an hour.

This unpredictable postponement leads to natural frustration on the part of drivers, as it may cause them to be late to work or late picking up children from school. A reliable road network is one in which this is a rare occurrence.

A project led by Portland State University’s Miguel Figliozzi explored the value of this travel-time reliability using a study of commuters’ route choice behavior, taking a look at the trade-offs between reliability, traffic congestion, and air pollution.

The details for the combined project can be found here.

In the first phase of the research, co-investigators David Levinson and Kathleen Harder of the University of Minnesota sought to measure the route choices drivers made in a real-world setting. Instead of just having people fill out a survey about whether they would choose to take major roads or the freeway to work, this study ambitiously placed GPS units in the cars of...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

Graduate student researcher Alex Bigazzi, of Portland State University, will present his work in Vietnam next week.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is hosting a transportation workshop in Ho Chi Minh city. The opportunity for Bigazzi to attend is the result of a spontaneous connection he made recently at a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, where he was giving a paper on truck-specific traffic management.

Large trucks contribute a large share of emissions, especially when traveling at a slow crawl through heavy traffic. Bigazzi’s work explores ways to mitigate the effects of this traffic congestion on air quality.

Bigazzi presented two papers at the 54th Annual Transportation Research Forum, which took place March 21-23 in Annapolis. One of them, “The Emissions Benefits of Truck-Only Lane Management,” offers a better understanding of the impacts of congestion on heavy-duty vehicles.

After a question-and-answer exchange, he was invited to present the same research in Vietnam’s largest city.

APEC’s 37th Transportation Working Group Meeting will take place April 8th through the 12th, 2013, at a Sheridan...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

David Timm, P.E., the Brasfield & Gorrie Professor of Civil Engineering at Auburn University, traveled to Oregon in mid-March as part of the NITC Visiting Scholar program.

Timm is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading expert in the field of perpetual pavement, a sustainable approach to pavement design. He is also the author of a perpetual pavement design software, PerRoad. Engineers in this field have developed a pavement system that has the potential to last for up to 50 years, with only minor periodic surface repairs.

The visit, arranged by Oregon Tech’s NITC Executive Committee member Roger Lindgren, started with a March 13 PerRoad workshop in Salem. The workshop was attended by designers from industry and from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

On March 14, Timm led another PerRoad workshop on the campus of Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. Following the workshop was a presentation, focusing on perpetual pavement design and the advancements being made at Auburn’s National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT).

The Klamath Falls workshop was attended by 14 engineers and engineering students, with 53 people attending the presentation afterward.

Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

A new OTREC research project, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation, will evaluate the effectiveness of a program to promote "ecodriving," or fuel-efficient driving.

The ODOT program seeks to help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions by giving commercial drivers training in ecodriving practices.

Led by Portland State University’s Donald Truxillo and John MacArthur, the project was one of the OTREC “Small Starts” grant winners announced earlier this month. The researchers are working with ODOT program manager Stephanie Millar.

ODOT’s effort, rather than concentrating on individual drivers, focuses on entities with a fleet of vehicles at their disposal. Entities  such as the city of Portland, or private, commercial companies  who maintain a fleet of cars and/or trucks will be given materials to educate their employees on ecodriving. It is part of a larger effort on Oregon’s part to reduce harmful emissions and help stop global climate change.

“Long-term...

Read more
Event Date:
Content Type: News Item

OTREC extends a warm welcome to Research Associate Krista Nordback, Ph.D., P.E., the newest member of the team. She just moved to Portland, Oregon after finishing up her Ph.D. in Denver, Colorado, to continue working on her favorite research focus: urban bicycle safety.

Nordback has been riding bikes since before she was old enough to remember. Together with her husband, Kurt, she continues to enjoy it as a form of both recreation and transportation. When the pair moved to Portland in February of this year, one of their first actions was to bike the Springwater Corridor, the Portland metro area’s 21-mile bike trail, all the way from Portland to Boring on their semi-recumbent tandem.

As a bicycle commuter, safety is one of Nordback’s top priorities, and it’s also the primary goal of her civil engineering research. In her PhD thesis, “Estimating Annual Average Daily Bicyclists and Analyzing Cyclist Safety at Urban Intersections,” she came up with methods for determining the average number of cyclists passing through a given intersection on a daily basis. In order to increase bicycle safety measures in urban areas, one of the first steps is simple yet essential: count the bikes. Having an understanding of the numbers of bicycles that traffic through an area is the starting point for coming up with...

Read more

Pages