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Vanessa Garrison didn’t set out to build a health movement. Growing up in Seattle’s Central District, a historically black neighborhood, Garrison just wanted her household and her community to be healthy.

“It was a challenge for me to develop solutions that work for the women I love,” Garrison said.

Those solutions, however, did set off a movement: GirlTrek, a community-based walking movement that has reached 250,000 black women and girls across the country. Garrison co-founded GirlTrek and serves as its chief operating officer.

> Garrison will tell her story at the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture Oct. 19 at Portland State University. Reserve a space if you plan to attend.

“Seattle is one of the most active cities in the country, but my household was completely inactive,” Garrison said. “All the women in my family were really experiencing health challenges due to chronic disease.”

Those problems ran deeper than simply inactivity. Obesity and inactivity often have roots in concerns about safety and other community issues built on historical trauma and systemic racism. A fitness-only approach, Garrison reasoned, would fail to overcome these powerful forces.

With friend Morgan Dixon, who would become her GirlTrek co-...

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Event Date:
Nov 04, 2016
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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To improve safety and increase transit use, transit agencies and the jurisdictions they serve have to approach transit service as door-to-door not just stop-to-stop.

Walking and bicycling are key modes for transit access.

Working with the Federal Transit Administration, a team from Portland State University developed a guidebook on improving pedestrian and bicycle access to transit (forthcoming). As part of the guidebook process, the PSU team conducted case studies on best practices of recent efforts in Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

This...

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Event Date:
Oct 19, 2016
Content Type: Event

The Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture series continued in 2016 with guest speaker Vanessa Garrison of GirlTrek

Each year, the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture Endowment brings a guest speaker to Portland, Oregon. We seek people from all over the world who have made great strides in advocating for health, safety, and bicycle and pedestrian access, and bring them together with the Portland transportation community to share methods and inspiration. The annual forum furthers IBPI's mission to facilitate the exchange of knowledge among scholars, practitioners and community advocates focused on walking and biking.

Vanessa is a passionate advocate of social justice issues and has focused her work on improving health outcomes and quality of life for black women and girls. Prior to co-founding GirlTrek, a national health movement, Vanessa worked as a Program Coordinator for Our Place DC, a nonprofit organization that provides services to currently and formerly incarcerated women. Vanessa began her career working in digital...

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In the spring of 2015, with guidance provided by the NITC program, students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York created a pedestrian and bicycle plan for the City of Canandaigua, New York.

As part of their Sustainable Community Development capstone course, the students in environmental studies provided plans for a mixed use district along Route 332 in Canandaigua.

Course instructor Jim Ochterski credits PSU researcher Lynn Weigand’s NITC education project, Enhancing Bicycle and Pedestrian Education through Curriculum and Faculty Development, with providing essential resources for the course.

“Most of the students did not have any grounding in pedestrian planning and development, and [the NITC materials] made a huge difference,” Ochterski said.

Part of the mission of the NITC program is to enrich transportation education. One way our university partners do this is by developing curricula to advance transportation and livability goals in the classroom.

Weigand's project was intended for just this purpose. She created a module-based curriculum for bicycle and pedestrian planning and design that was designed to be adaptable for use in a variety of course offerings.

The HWS instructors took that curriculum and ran with it.

“We took on a major community project in ped/bike planning because we had these support materials from the program. It allowed us to...

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Event Date:
Apr 01, 2016
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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For a number of reasons—congestion, public health, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, demographic shifts, and community livability to name a few—the importance of walking and bicycling as transportation options will only continue to increase. Currently, policy interest and infrastructure funding for nonmotorized modes far outstrip our ability to successfully model bike and walk travel. ​​In the past five years, we have learned a lot about ​where people prefer to bike and walk, but what can that tell us about whether people will bike or walk in the first place? ​Th​e research presented here is designed to start bridging the gap between choice of route and choice of travel mode (walk, bike, transit, drive, etc.).

A mode choice framework is presented that acknowledges the importance of attributes along specific walk and bike routes that travelers are likely to consider​ for a given trip. Adding route quality as a factor in mode choice decisions is new, and shows promise for: (1) improving prediction of pedestrian and cycling trips, (2)...

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Event Date:
Feb 18, 2016
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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If you would like to receive continuing education credits such as PDH or CM, please make sure to complete this evaluation form once you've watched the entire video so that we have a record of your attendance.

Why model pedestrians?

A new predictive tool for estimating pedestrian demand has potential applications for improving walkability. By forecasting the number, location and characteristics of walking trips, this tool allows for policy-sensitive mode shifts away from automobile travel.

There is growing support to improve the quality of the walking environment and make investments to promote pedestrian travel. Despite this interest and need, current forecasting tools, particularly regional travel demand models, often fall short. To address this gap, Oregon Metro and NITC researcher Kelly Clifton worked together to develop this pedestrian demand estimation tool which can allow planners to allocate...

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Event Date:
Jan 08, 2016
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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View Steve Gehrke's slides

Steven Gehrke, Ph.D. Candidate, Portland State University

Topic: An Activity-related Land Use Mix Construct and Its Connection to Pedestrian Travel

Land use mix is a central smart growth principle connected to active transportation. This presentation describes the indicators of local land use mixing and their association with pedestrian travel in Oregon’s Willamette River Valley. It argues that land use mix is a multidimensional construct reflected by the complementarity, composition, and configuration of land use types, which is positively linked to walk mode choice and home-based trip frequency. Findings from this study underline the conceptual and empirical benefit of analyzing this transportation-land use interaction with a landscape pattern measure of activity-related composition and spatial configuration.

...

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A new NITC project has developed a robust pedestrian demand estimation tool, the first of its kind in the country.

Using the tool, planners can predict pedestrian trips with spatial acuity.

The research was completed in partnership with Oregon Metro, and will allow Metro to allocate infrastructure based on pedestrian demand in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.

In a previous project completed last year as part of the same partnership, the lead investigator, Kelly Clifton, developed a way to collect data about the pedestrian environment on a small, neighborhood scale that made sense for walk trips. For more about how that works, click here to read our news coverage of that project. 

Following the initial project, the next step was to take that micro-level pedestrian data and use it to predict destination choice. For every walk trip generated by the model in the first project, this tool matches it to a likely destination based on traveler characteristics and environmental attributes.

Patrick Singleton, a graduate student researcher at Portland State...

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