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Several notable transportation projects have come out of Portland State University’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program this spring.

 

Each year, graduating students finish up their two-year program of study by forming into groups and carrying out a professional project. Clients work with Portland State University to identify planning needs that would be a good fit for the MURP program, and students choose projects based on their interests.

 

...

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Portland State University’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program matches students with clients every year to execute professional-level planning projects.

 

This spring, InSite Planning Group, a team of six MURP students, conducted a detailed corridor study for the city of Beaverton.

 

The ...

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Five teams of Portland State University seniors worked on projects in the transportation arena, as the final outcome of their Capstone course.
The transportation Capstone projects were completed under the advisement of Dr. Robert Bertini, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Portland State University and OTREC’s founding director.
Senior Capstone projects in engineering are about more than just technical aspects of design. They are an opportunity for students to meet with clients and consult with professionals, to develop the communication and collaboration skills which will be necessary in future careers.
John Edwards, a student team leader, described the project as a great opportunity. “We learned a great deal about project management and communication in working with professionals,” Edwards said.
In each project, students met with clients under the guidance of faculty to come up with solutions to problems that the clients were facing.

A group led by Krista Hager worked on a concept design for bicycle parking at the Goose Hollow eastbound MAX Station in southwest Portland, Ore.

The existing grade conditions and the...
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Portland State University students in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program came up with some innovative transit solutions for the Salem-Keizer area, just south of Portland, Ore. in the Willamette Valley.

The Salem-Keizer transit provider, known as Cherriots, requested that a planning group come up with alternative forms of transit that would be a better fit for the study area. MURP students Darwin Moosavi, Brenda Martin, CJ Doxsee, Mike Sellinger, Lauren Wirtis and Matt Berggren took on the challenge as their capstone project.

The bus service currently provided by Salem-Keizer Transit is inefficient in the low-density neighborhoods of West Salem, South Salem, and Keizer. Buses in those neighborhoods often run half-full, or nearly empty, along looping, circuitous roads that lack an interconnected grid pattern.

The student team, Paradigm Planning, proposed a “flexible transit” system which can better serve this type of low-density suburban area.

Fixed-route transit is typical bus service, in which buses come to predefined stops at regularly scheduled intervals. Demand-responsive or paratransit, the opposite extreme, is an on-demand service typically reserved for the elderly or disabled, in which a rider calls to be picked up by a bus at...

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On Saturday, May 31, Green Street Stewards of Portland, Ore. held a block party to celebrate and foster community partnerships.
Green Street Stewards are community members who have volunteered to help support and maintain Portland’s Green Streets, a program that was started in 2003 by the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) as an environmentally friendly way to manage stormwater runoff.
Green Streets facilities are streetside planters or gardens that capture runoff and feed it into rivers and streams, taking advantage of the natural ability of soil and vegetation to filter out pollutants.
To galvanize community support and raise awareness about the program, the Stewards partnered with a capstone course taught by Thaddeus Miller, an assistant professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning. As part of her capstone project, Portland State University student Taylor Balakrishnan helped organize the block party. 
 
"It was really good for us to gain some experience planning an event like this, and to see a positive outcome,” Balakrishnan said.
The block party was held in the Lents Park area, a neighborhood of southeast Portland. The event’s partners included the City of Portland’s...
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The Multnomah Youth Commission, or MYC, held its first Youth Summit on Transit Justice on May 17, 2014 at David Douglas High School.
 
The MYC, a group of young people ages 13-21, plays an advisory role for local government in Multnomah County and the City of Portland.
 
The summit held on Saturday the 17th was an entirely youth-led event, with members of the MYC meeting at David Douglas at 11 a.m. After they spent the morning organizing their materials and preparing their arguments, they opened the doors for adults.
 
PSU professor Lisa Bates, who is studying the transit-dependent population for NITC, was in attendance with her capstone students. As part of a capstone course where students are required to conduct research that leads directly into social equity, Bates’ students worked with the youth of the MYC on transit justice. They applied a social science research foundation to their ideas and assisted them with using some best practices in the field. 
 
At 2:30 p.m., transit policymakers and community leaders began to enter the high school. Following a brief introductory presentation, the young people split up the group into breakout sessions.
 
During the sessions, members of the...
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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...

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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...

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A team of students from Portland State University took second place this week in the Cornell Cup USA, with a traffic hazard predictor called SAFE.
SAFE, or Situational Awareness Fault?Finder Extension, is an intelligent device that could be used with bicycles, motorcycles, or automobiles, though it was created with the safety of two-wheeled travelers in mind.
The device is designed to enhance a vehicle operator's situational awareness. It tracks the movement of vehicles behind the user, monitoring their position, velocity, and acceleration.
 
Click here to see the SAFE team's poster.
The SAFE creators considered giving the user an overhead representation of the surrounding traffic, with color-coded alerts to signify approaching danger, but felt that that might be too distracting. Citing research that showed that people react more quickly to audio than visual cues, they decided to give the user feedback through stereo audio. 
The device sends a periodic beep to alert the user of impending accidents from the rear. It modulates the stereo, tempo, and amplitude to indicate...
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Portland State University is starting a student chapter of WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar), an international association for transportation professionals. 
The organization has more than 5,000 members worldwide, but only three other student chapters are in existence. The PSU student chapter will be the fourth.
Students who join WTS will have the opportunity to network with professionals working in all areas of transportation. Other benefits to joining include professional development programs, leadership training, membership discounts, and opportunities to apply for special scholarships and grants.
 
The PSU student chapter is likely to thrive, in part because Portland’s professional chapter of WTS has a strong presence in the city, and because PSU’s other student transportation group, STEP (Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning), has a robust membership at the university.
The two student groups expect to cooperate and overlap, while remaining autonomous and offering different benefits to their respective memberships.
The new group’s first event, a meet and greet, was held on Thursday, May 8, in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at PSU.
 
Susan Wright of...
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