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Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation released an ambitious plan to make sure the public has access to federally funded research. The plan could have far-reaching effects both inside the department and with organizations such as states, universities and contractors.

To help the transportation community sort out implications of the plan, two Transportation Research Board standing committees—Library and Information Science for Transportation and Conduct of Research—are sponsoring a workshop Sunday during the TRB annual meeting. The workshop, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., will offer background, plan details and training on the new requirements along with best-practice case studies.

Although the plan includes many exceptions, it represents a big step toward the goal of making publicly funded research available to the public, said Kendra Levine, co-chair of the LIST committee and research librarian at the University of California Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies Library

In the past, it hasn’t always been clear...

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Traffic congestion on urban roadways can influence operating costs and cause travel delays.

Portland State University master’s students Nicholas Stoll and Travis Glick will present a paper introducing solutions for locating the sources of congestion at the 2016 annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board.

With their faculty advisor, Miguel Figliozzi, Stoll and Glick looked into using bus GPS data to identify congestion hot spots.

By using high-resolution GPS data to visualize trends in bus behavior and movement, the researchers were able to examine the sources of delay on urban arterials.

These visualizations, which can be in the form of heat maps or speed plots like the one shown here on the right (an application of numerical method applied to a 2,000 ft segment of SE Powell), can be used by transportation agencies to identify locations where improvements are needed. For example, adding a queue jump lane at a congested intersection can improve flow.

The researchers used fine-grained bus data provided by TriMet to create the visualizations. Buses have been used as probes to estimate travel...

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Jan 11, 2013
Content Type: Professional Development Event

The video begins at 3:22.

Steve Gehrke (CEE PhD) - Application of Geographic Perturbation Methods to Residential Locations in the Oregon Household Activity Survey: Proof of Concept

Travel demand models have advanced from zone-based methods to favor activity-based approaches that require more disaggregate data sources. Household travel surveys gather disaggregate data that may be utilized to better inform advanced travel demand models and also improve the understanding of how nonmotorized travel is influenced by a household’s surrounding built environment. However, the release of these disaggregate data is often limited by a confidentiality pledge between the household participant and survey administrator. Concerns regarding the disclosure risk of survey respondents to household travel surveys must be addressed before these household-level data may be released at their disaggregate geography. In an effort to honor this confidentiality pledge and facilitate the dissemination of valuable travel survey data, this research: (i) reviews geographical perturbation methods that seek to protect respondent confidentiality; (ii) outlines a procedure for implementing one promising practice, referred to as the donut masking technique; and (iii) demonstrates a proof of concept for this technique on ten respondents to a household activity travel survey in the Portland metropolitan region. To examine the balance...

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Event Date:
Jan 18, 2013
Content Type: Professional Development Event

The video begins at 1:44.

Oliver Smith (USP PhD) - Peak of the day or the daily grind? Commuting and subjective well-being

To understand the impact of daily travel on personal and societal well-being, measurement techniques that go beyond satisfaction-based measures of travel are used. Such metrics are increasingly important for evaluating transportation and land-use policies. This study examines commute well-being, a multi-item measure of how one feels about the commute to work, and its influences using data from a web-based survey that was distributed to Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. workers. Valid surveys (n=828) were compiled from three roughly equally sized groups based on mode: bike, transit and car users. Average distances between work and home varied significantly among the three groups. Descriptive results show that commute well-being varies widely across the sample. Those who bike to work have significantly higher commute well-being than transit and car commuters. A multiple linear regression model shows that along with travel mode, traffic congestion, travel time, income, health, job satisfaction and residential satisfaction also play important individual roles in shaping commute well-being. While more analysis is needed, these results support findings in previous research that commuting by bike enhances well-being while congestion detracts from well-being. Implications for future research and...

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Event Date:
Jan 17, 2014
Content Type: Professional Development Event

Watch video

View slides: Bell Presentation (PDF)

Moore Presentation (PDF)

Ma Presentation (PDF)

Summaries: 
Identification and Characterization of PM2.5 and VOC Hot Spots on Arterial Corridor by Integrating Probe Vehicle, Traffic, and Land Use Data: The purpose of this study is to explore the use of integrated probe vehicle, traffic and land use data to identify and characterize fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and volatile organic compound (VOC) hot spot locations on urban arterial corridors. An emission hot spot is defined as a fixed location along a corridor in which the mean pollutant concentrations are consistently above the 85th percentile of pollutant concentrations when considering all other locations along the corridor during the same time period. In order to collect data for this study, an electric vehicle was equipped with instruments designed to measure PM2.5 and VOC concentrations. Second-by-second measurements were performed for each pollutant from both the right and left sides of the vehicle. Detailed meteorological, traffic and land use data is also available for this research. The results of a statistical analysis are used to better understand which...

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

The video begins at 1:20.

View slides: Foster Presentation (PDF)

View slides: Muhs Presentation (PDF)

View slides: Wagner Presentation (PDF)

Summaries:

Evaluating Driver and Pedestrian Behaviors at Enhanced Multilane Midblock Pedestrian Crossings: Case Study in Portland, Oregon This study examines driver and pedestrian behaviors at two enhanced midblock pedestrian crossings in Portland, Oregon. One crossing is on a five-lane arterial with a posted speed of 35/45 miles-per-hour (MPH) and features six rectangular rapid flash beacon (RRFB) assemblies and a narrow median refuge. The other crossing is on a suburban arterial with four travel lanes and a two-way left-turn lane. The crossing is enhanced with four RRFB assemblies and a median island with a “Z” crossing, or Danish offset, designed to encourage pedestrians to face oncoming traffic before completing the second stage of their crossing. Approximately 62 hours of video have been collected at the two locations. A total of 351 pedestrian crossings are analyzed for driver compliance (yielding) rates, pedestrian activation rates, pedestrian delay, and conflict avoidance maneuvers. The suburban arterial...

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OTREC had visitors on Wednesday, July 24.

A delegation of six ECTRI directors from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, and Finland are finishing up a "Scanning Tour" of the United States, and OTREC was the third stop on their four-stop tour.

The European Conference of Transport Research Institutes, or ECTRI, is an international non-profit organization. Its members are 26 major transport research institutes or universities from 19 European countries, and its mission is to help build the "European Research Area" (ERA) in transport.

The 2013 Scanning Tour's theme is "Transport and Liveability: Sustainabiity of urban areas." Assisted by the Transportation Research Board, ECTRI made four stops in the USA: Washington, D.C., to participate in the TRB conference; Cambridge and Boston, Mass. for a visit to Volpe and to MIT's freight lab; Portland, Ore., to talk with Jennifer Dill and John MacArthur about OTREC's sustainable transportation program; and finally Davis, Calif., to visit the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis.

Wednesday's visit was brief and pleasant. OTREC staff gave the delegation a presentation about the work that OTREC does and its sustainable cities initiative, followed by questions...

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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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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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