Event Date:
Oct 03, 2014
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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Topic: Using "big data" for transportation analysis: A case study of the LA Metro Expo Line

Summary: Access to a comprehensive historical archive of real-time, multi-modal multi-agency transportation system data has provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate how “big data” can be used for policy analysis, and to offer new insights for planning scholarship and practice. We illustrate with a case study of a new rail transit line. We use transit, freeway, and arterial data of high spatial and temporal resolution to examine transportation system performance impacts of the Exposition (Expo) light rail line (Phase 1) in Los Angeles. Using a quasi-experimental research design, we explore whether the Expo Line has had a significant impact on transit ridership, freeway traffic, and arterial traffic within the corridor it serves. Our results suggest a net increase in transit ridership, but few effects on traffic system performance. Given the latent travel demand in this heavily congested corridor, results are consistent with expectations. The benefits of rail transit investments are in increasing transit accessibility and person throughput within high-...

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Event Date:
Oct 10, 2014
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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Topic: Examining the Role of Internal Planning Decisions in Improving Transit Performance and Economic Outcomes
Summary: Scholars and practitioners continuously seek best practices to increase transit ridership, efficiency, and modal share. The ongoing suburbanization and decentralization of U.S. metropolitan regions brings new challenges for accomplishing these goals. Investigating possible strategies for improving transit outcomes in the existing socioeconomic setting, scholars from the Florida State University have pointed to the role of internal performance factors. In a series of research studies, they have found that improving transit service characteristics, such as frequency, connectivity, regional coverage, intermodal integration, as well as decentralization of network structures, could result in increased transit ridership and productivity. These positive effects could be observed even in auto-oriented, low-density environments. 

This presentation will briefly summarize the previous findings regarding the role of internal factors in improving transit performance and elaborate on the most recent study, which has attempted to assess the...

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Transit supporters offer up a host of arguments for their favorite form of transportation but may struggle to counter a response of “prove it.” This year’s Oregon Transportation Summit could help change that.

Fresh research showing some of the benefits of transit will keep the public transportation track lively and relevant during the sixth annual summit. Morning and afternoon workshops spotlight transit, bookending a luncheon keynote by noted transit planner Jarrett Walker.

The Oregon Transportation Summit takes place Monday, Sept. 15 at Portland State University.

University of Utah researcher Reid Ewing made national and international headlines recently with a study showing the effect of light rail in a busy travel corridor. The study, funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, was the first to document a drop in automobile traffic after the opening of a light-rail line. Ewing presents his research at a...

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The executive committee of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, program has selected a third round of research, education, and technology transfer projects for funding. This grant is part of the University Transportation Center (UTC) program funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Research and Technology, and is a partnership between Portland State University, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology, and the University of Utah. The committee chose eight projects, totaling $800,000, under the NITC theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation to foster livable communities. 
 
The projects are national in scope and support innovations in priority areas including public transit and active transportation. 
 
Projects selected include:
  • An analysis of the effects of commuter rail on population deconcentration.
  • A look into prioritizing pedestrians at signalized intersections.
  • A study of cyclist-vehicle interaction.
  • An evaluation of an eco-driving intervention.
The eight projects were chosen from among 20 proposals...
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For the first time, researchers have shown that installing light rail on an existing travel corridor not only gets people out of their cars, but reduces congestion and air pollution.

In the study, planners at the University of Utah measured impacts of a new light rail line in Salt Lake City (University Line) on an existing major thoroughfare (400/500 South). Their analysis showed that traffic near the University has fallen to levels not seen since the 1980s, even as the number of students, faculty and staff at the university has increased, and the commercial district along the corridor has expanded.

"This is the first study to document important effects of light rail transit on traffic volumes,” said Reid Ewing, professor of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah and lead author on the study. “Since the University TRAX line opened, there has been increased development in the 400/500 South travel corridor, yet traffic on the street has actually declined. Our calculations show that without the University TRAX line, there would be at least 7,300 more cars per day on 400/500 South, and possibly as many as 21,700 additional cars. The line avoids gridlock, as well as saves an additional 13 tons of toxic air pollutants. This is important knowledge for shaping future transportation policies.”

Andrew Gruber, executive director of 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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Historically, large-scale transportation infrastructure projects have had devastating outcomes in communities of color. With twentieth-century urban renewal efforts often came the displacement of underprivileged communities, the loss of low-income neighborhoods and their replacement with affluent housing and freeways.

According to new OTREC research from the University of Oregon, transit-oriented development, or TOD, can offer a different trajectory. Rather than displacing residents, TOD has the potential to improve neighborhoods for the benefit of those who live there.

OTREC researcher Gerardo Sandoval grew up near MacArthur park, one of the two sites studied, and has witnessed firsthand the neighborhood’s dramatic change. “I think the coolest thing about MacArthur Park is that now it’s considered a national model for TOD. When I was growing up there … nobody saw it like that. It was thought of more as a low-income area,” Sandoval said.

The project examined two California neighborhoods: MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, and Fruitvale, in Oakland. In both neighborhoods, the majority of residents are recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America, many of whom have significantly lower incomes and rely heavily on public transportation.

In the last few decades, both sites have seen TOD coincide with neighborhood revitalization, and...

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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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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.

In transit-oriented development, planners typically focus on the neighborhood within a quarter of a mile of a transit stop.

Housing and commercial developments within this "walkable zone" are thought to be the ones primarily affected by, or dependent on, the transit stop.

New research from the University of Utah expands the traditional one-quarter-mile distance away from transit stops to a broader radius of about one and one-quarter mile from a stop.

The project's principal investigator, Susan Petheram, led a team of researchers who used the Salt Lake County assessor's database to analyze property values surrounding light rail stops. Petheram is a NITC doctoral dissertation fellow and the research stems from her dissertation.

"We were seeing a certain negative impact [on property values] right around the core station area for single family homes," Petheram said. Slightly farther out from the station, but...

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