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Continuing a tradition started last year, Portland State University's Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning hosted a gathering called "TRB Aftershock" to showcase student research presented at the recent Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The event also allowed students to network and describe their research with practitioners in an informal setting.

More on the event is at the STEP blog here.

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PSU’s Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP) hosted the 10th Annual Region X Conference on November 16, and it was the most widely-attended Region X event in recent memory.  With participating universities including Oregon State University, Cal Poly Pomona, University of Oregon, University of Utah, University of Washington and Washington State University, the more than 100 registrants “really surprised” STEP President S. R. Thompson. “The turnout was high compared to previous years.” This is likely in part due to the first-time participation of the two Washington schools.

This year’s conference featured student research presentations and a poster session, as well as three afternoon breakout sessions that offered tours of effective transportation engineering examples in the Portland Metro area. Thompson reports a unanimously positive response to the breakout sessions from those tour participants who followed up with her after the conference adjourned.

The conference’s morning keynote was also popular and garnered plenty of student participation in the discussion that followed. “We did things a little differently for the keynote presentation this year,” Thompson said. The presentation featured a panel of notable transportation professionals from the Portland area who each discussed their respective entries into the transportation field as well as the joys and challenges of the work.

"We were lucky in terms of our panel...

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While the annual Region X Student Transportation Conference in November always attracts students from across the northwest, this year’s conference pulled some from much farther south: Pomona, Calif.

The conference is a showcase for student transportation research in the Pacific Northwest (Federal Region X), which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Region X serves as a microcosm of transportation for the entire country, making it a prime testing ground for studies in transportation operations and planning.

The conference was sponsored by OTREC and hosted this year by Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), the Portland State University Student Chapter of ITE.

When professor Xudong Jia of Cal Poly Pomona learned about the conference, he was determined that his students would find a way to attend. With the support of OTREC, Cal Poly Pomona sent five students to the conference, a mix of undergraduate and graduate students in civil and transportation engineering.  The students were interested in both the research and tours, as well as gleaning tips for how to organize a student-led conference: something the Cal Poly students will be doing when they host the TransModal Connection Conference in February in San Louis Obispo.

In addition to visiting the Western Federal Lands Materials lab in Vancouver, Wash., the team competed in the Oregon Section ITE William C. Kloos Traffic Bowl. Though a transportation mishap left them...

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Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning, the OTREC-funded transportation student group at Portland State University, held its biggest-ever Urban Olympics, the annual celebration of Portland’s quirks and oddities. The 2012 games, held in April, featured participation from planning, engineering and public health departments.

Teams competed in games such as Urban NASCAR, which included slow-biking and gummy worm-eating components, and the noncopyright-infringing “Astonishing Rush” scavenger hunt. The first-year master of urban and regional planning, or MURP, students took the participation award, with 16 competitors, while the best department award went to the second-year MURPs.

The best team award went to Team Jellis, composed of Jamie Jones and Scotty Ellis. More awards are at the STEP website.

Photos are after the jump.

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On Feb. 21, OTREC joined with the Portland State University Students in Transportation and Planning (STEP) and the Portland-area News Rail~Volutionaries to host a debrief of January’s annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington DC. Portland was well represented at the TRB meeting with a diverse array of students, faculty, and transportation professionals, and this event brought many of those attendees together at the Lucky Labrador pub in northwest Portland to share stories and lessons learned.

For students, the gathering presented an opportunity to showcase the research they presented TRB. Posters lined the room and many attendees donned buttons bearing the enthusiastic encouragement, “Ask me about TRB!” Built-in icebreakers ensured lively discussions about current issues and research in transportation.

Those who did not get to attend TRB were able to experience a little taste of it in Portland, as those who did go had no shortage of tales about the biggest annual gathering of transportation professionals.    

STEP members in attendance took advantage opportunity to network with potential future employers and coworkers. To aid the soon-to-be graduates in their job hunts, STEP has created a LinkedIn group containing the profiles and resumes of many STEP members.  

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Nothing signals the holiday season like a contentious multi-billion-dollar public works project. With that in mind, Portland State University's Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning sought to design and build an edible version of the Columbia River Crossing project. Teams of students built the bridge portion of the project using only edible elements, including graham crackers, licorice and gummy creatures.

The event, held Dec. 8, was the second annual competition for STEP. Last year, teams competed to build a gingerbread transit station.

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In town to network and share research results, participants in the Region X Student Transportation Conference also saw the inner workings of the transportation system and even got to stop Portland traffic. 

The ninth annual conference drew around 75 people to Portland November 18. The conference showcases student transportation research in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska and is entirely organized and run by students.

This year, the conference also featured breakout sessions and tours with working transportation professionals. Groups visited the Oregon Department of Transportation Region I incident management command center, dug into city of Portland traffic signal systems and operations, toured the city’s bicycle infrastructure and explored the mechanics of Portland’s drawbridges in detail with three bridge lifts.

Portland State University’s student group, Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning, or STEP, hosted the conference, which was sponsored by OTREC. The conference provides plenty of formal and informal opportunities for students working at different universities to inform each other, said Kristi Currans, an organizer with STEP.

“My favorite part is just having all the students get together and find out all the research everyone is doing,” Currans said. “Even within Portland State, if people are working for different professors, I might not know what they’re working on.”

The conference drew students from Portland...

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When Gabe Klein starts his new job as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, the lessons of Oregon’s transportation system will be fresh in his mind. Klein, the former director of the District (of Columbia) Department of Transportation, visited OTREC programs and student groups over several packed days in Oregon.

Klein started his tour April 6 in Eugene as an expert in residence with the Sustainable Cities Initiative and LiveMove student group at the University of Oregon. He worked his way up the Willamette Valley with meetings and presentations in Salem and Portland.

On bicycle, Klein toured Eugene’s off-street paths, including pedestrian and bicycle bridges, and the street that will carry the area’s first cycle track. He met with city and Lane Transit District officials before touring the EmX bus rapid transit system.

In lectures in Eugene...

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Brian Davis, a transportation engineering student at Portland State University, was one of 47 students from OTREC campuses to attend the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. He shares the following thoughts, tips and cautions for future attendees, students and professionals:

I’m finally back in Portland from my first go-round at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board. Aside from some kerkuffles flying in and out, due in small part to snow and in much larger part to the incompetence of American Airlines (maybe all their good operations people were, you know, at the conference!), it was a terrific, invaluable experience.

By the end of the second day of the conference, it became clear to me that the biggest takeaway from this meeting would be what to do differently next time. In talking to some of the TRB veterans meandering about the meeting, it seems like that’s a pretty common experience from one’s first TRB conference. Here, then, are a few thoughts about what I’m going to do differently next time, and a pat or two on the back for the few instances that I guessed right.

The devil fools with the best laid plans

In the days and weeks leading up to the meeting, I agonized for hours and hours trying to plan the perfect assortment of sessions and presentations to attend.  By the time the meeting started, I thought I had a wonderful experience planned where I’d get to...

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Congratulations to Oren Eshel, OTREC's 2007 Student of the Year! Orenís interest in regional planning techniques drew him to Portland, where is he is a Master of Urban and Regional Planning graduate student at Portland State University. Oren embarked upon graduate study to focus on public transit, equity in provision of transit services, and regional planning. Oren is a research assistant in the Intelligent Transportation Systems Lab at PSU, and is working on a project to evaluate an adaptive ramp metering system in the Portland region. He is also an intern with the City of Portland’s Transportation Planning section. Oren was nominated by faculty for this award not only because he excels at research and in the classroom, but because he has made a significant mark on the multidisciplinary transportation program at PSU. Oren is President of the PSU transportation student group and ITE chapter (STEP) and coordinated the Fall 2007 Transportation Northwest District 10 Student Conference, which attracted over 70 students from across the region.

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