In a pilot study funded by the NITC Small Starts program, researchers explored whether drivers behave differently toward pedestrians waiting to use a crosswalk based on the pedestrian’s race. The study – the first examining the effects of race on pedestrian crossing experiences – found that black pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars and waited nearly a third longer to cross than white pedestrians.
Minorities are disproportionately represented among pedestrian fatalities in the United States. The Center for Disease Control reported in 2013 that in the first decade of this century, the fatality rates for black and Hispanic men were twice as high as they were for white men.
Researchers Kimberly Barsamian Kahn and Tara Goddard of Portland State University, and Arlie Adkins, of the University of Arizona, hypothesized that if minority pedestrians experience more delay at crosswalks, they might take greater risks when crossing – risks that could contribute to the disparate fatality rates.
Kahn, an assistant professor of social psychology, studies contemporary forms of racial bias that are hidden within society. Working with Goddard and Adkins, who were interested in the social equity impacts of transportation, Kahn put together a controlled field experiment to measure differences in...
OTREC and the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) are proud to announce the winners of the 2014 IBPI scholarships.
Portland State University students Liz Kaster, Bryan Blanc, and Gena Gastaldi have each been awarded one of three scholarship opportunities from IBPI, made possible through the generous donations of Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich; Alta Planning + Design, and DKS.
The Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich scholarship supports a graduate student who intends to pursue a career related to bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Liz Kaster, a second-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) student, was awarded the Alta Planning & Design scholarship through IBPI last year, and this year she has been selected for the Burkholder/Rich scholarship.
As a recipient of the Burkholder/Rich scholarship, Kaster will work with a faculty member to develop and carry out a short-term project on a topic that can immediately help practitioners plan for more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly communities.
This year’s winner of the Alta Planning + Design scholarship is Gena Gastaldi, a MURP student with a focus on active transportation and urban design. The Alta Scholarship supports a graduate student who is highly motivated...Read more
With the emergence of electric vehicles (EVs) as an environmentally friendly alternative to the internal combustion engine, OTREC researcher Robert Bass decided to investigate some of the uncharted effects of their growing prevalence.
Bass is interested in measuring and understanding the impacts that electric vehicle charging stations have on their cities’ power distribution systems.
Electric Avenue, located on the Portland State University campus where Bass is an associate professor, is the perfect research opportunity: a row of EV charging stations along Southwest Montgomery Street, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue in downtown Portland, Ore.
Launched in August 2011 as a joint project by Portland General Electric, PSU and the City of Portland, Electric Avenue is intended as a research platform for understanding the impact EVs have within the larger context of the city.
Nonlinear loads such as EV chargers can introduce power quality issues to a city’s electricity distribution system. Bass, with PSU undergraduate student Nicole Zimmerman, set out to measure the power quality effects of EV chargers along Electric Avenue.
Power quality manifests in several ways; for this study, the researchers focused on...Read more
OTREC research from Portland State University has developed a new method of travel demand modeling for pedestrian trips.
Transportation professionals use travel demand modeling to forecast how many people will be using a given portion of the transportation infrastructure. This is typically done using a four-step process, the first step of which relies upon a basic unit known as a transportation analysis zone, or TAZ.
A TAZ is a relatively coarse unit of space that can vary in size depending on planners’ needs; typically it encompasses somewhere around 3,000 residents.
Planners started using TAZs in the 1950s, on mainframe computers with limited capabilities, for guidance in making highway investment decisions. As transportation modeling practice has evolved, computers are capable of processing more data and models are being increasingly relied upon to answer more complex questions.
Despite growing investment in infrastructure that supports active forms of travel, existing modeling tools often poorly represent the nuances of the pedestrian environment. The project’s principal investigator, Kelly Clifton of Portland State University, explores ways to improve upon the modeling tools currently in existence.
When considering pedestrian travel, the current practice is usually to...Read more
Note: In advance of the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting, the biggest forum on the transportation research calendar, OTREC.us is profiling some of the researchers who will present their work.
How long is too long to wait for the light to change? At stoplights, pedestrians often experience longer delays while cars are given priority.
To design traffic signals that serve the needs of walkers, planners must understand the motivations behind pedestrian behaviors.
Working with professors Kelly Clifton and Christopher Monsere, Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University created a survey designed to shed some light on what makes pedestrians decide to follow, or not follow, traffic laws.
To collect data, Kothuri and a team of graduate students armed with an 11-question survey posted themselves at four different intersections in northeast Portland, Ore.
Two of the intersections had recall signals, where pedestrians are automatically detected, and the other two had actuated signals, where pedestrians must press a button to get the light to change.
Survey respondents were asked for their attitudes about delay in signal timing, and for the reasons that determined their crossing the street.
Responses showed that pedestrians were more content...Read more
OTREC hosted a “welcome to the neighborhood” reception last week for managers of TriMet.
The regional transit provider for Portland, Ore, just relocated its offices to a building near the OTREC headquarters. TriMet's arrival in Harrison Square, just a few blocks from PSU in downtown Portland, was toasted by an informal gathering: TriMet executives were invited to the OTREC offices Tuesday, Oct 29 for a meet-and-greet.
The two agencies are both deeply involved with transportation in the Portland region, and since they're going to be neighbors now too, OTREC's education and technology transfer program manager Jon Makler arranged the event.
Several members of TriMet's senior staff joined OTREC staff and researchers for an hour of refreshments, research briefings, and a few rounds of "Transit Route Bingo."
OTREC Director Jennifer Dill and TriMet's Olivia Clark, head of government relations, kicked off the meeting with some welcoming remarks, then Makler gave the TriMet managers a brief powerpoint presentation, explaining the various overlapping areas of transportation at PSU. He introduced them to OTREC, IBPI, and PORTAL, and the role each group plays.
The presentation also featured a slide for each faculty researcher, explaining their areas of special interest and...Read more