Tamika Butler (@TamikaButler), executive director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, will deliver the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture this year. She is an advocate and activist who works in support of LGBTQA rights, as well as fighting for social justice and healthy communities. She moved to Los Angeles from Omaha, Nebraska, and became interested in active transportation when she met her wife. It was on bike rides that she fell in love with the city. Uniquely positioned as a queer black woman to understand what marginalized people experience every day, she brought passion, energy and intersectionality to the quest for better bicycle access as the executive director of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. In her new role with the L.A. Neighborhood Land Trust, she continues to help address social and racial equity through building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across Greater Los Angeles. Butler was a...Read more
Normally we assume that travel is a means to an end, but the latest NITC report examines other benefits of travel—aspects that aren’t about reaching a destination.
One such benefit is travel-based multitasking. A good example of this is using time on a commuter train to listen to music, relax or get some work done. The simple enjoyment of a walk in the fresh air relates to another benefit, known as subjective well-being, in which the act of travel itself makes a person feel better. These intrinsic benefits can impact travel behavior and mode choice, but our current models don’t have any way to reflect this.
NITC fellow Patrick Singleton investigated the policy and planning implications of this in his dissertation, Exploring The Positive Utility Of Travel And Mode Choice.
"The way we analyze travel behavior assumes people want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. We don’t include the...Read more
While it’s generally accepted that dense, mixed-use development promotes active travel, researchers don’t have a consensus on exactly how, and to what degree, land use determines people’s travel patterns.
NITC’s latest report, Active Travel Behavior and Spatial-Temporal Land Use Mixing, provides some clarity on the topic.
NITC fellow Steven Gehrke focused his dissertation research on transportation-land use interaction, and sees land use mix as a multidimensional construct.
“We can refocus—away from increasing density—and think more about how we configure land uses,” Gehrke said.
According to Gehrke’s research, more density does not necessarily equal more walking. Rather, the complementarity, composition, and configuration of land use types is essential for cultivating walkability.
Gehrke, who graduates this spring with a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Portland State University, conducted three empirical studies under his dissertation grant. The first focused on improving measurements of land use mix, introducing a land use mix measurement of the composition and configuration of local land use types.
The second study looked at other smart growth principles, like employment concentration and pedestrian-...Read more
Smart growth policies have often emphasized the importance of land use mix as an intervention beholding of lasting urban planning and public health benefits. Past transportation-land use research has identified potential efficiency gains achieved by mixed-use neighborhoods and the subsequent shortening of trip lengths; whereas, public health research has accredited increased land use mixing as an effective policy for facilitating greater physical activity.
However, despite the celebrated transportation, land use, and health benefits of improved land use mixing and the extent of topical attention, no consensus has been reached regarding the conceptualization and measurement of this key smart growth principle or the magnitude of its link to walking. This research, comprising three empirical studies, explores this topic in detail.
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.
“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-...
Guest Lecturer James Woodcock, UK Clinical Research Collaboration
Modeling is the simulation of a partial representation of a system. It can help us answer questions that no single empirical study can answer. Modeling enables us to estimate longer term and population wide health effects of interventions, integrate evidence from different domains, consider hypothetical ‘what if’ scenarios, and address issues of cost and cost-effectiveness. Modeling can also be used to investigate how health related practices might change in complex systems.
Modeling studies can be cheaper and quicker than real-world studies and do not require the intervention to actually be implemented. They can therefore support getting the best value from intervention studies and natural experiments. In public health modeling at the UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), evidence from many different primary studies is used plus insights from experts and other stakeholders. Simulation of models containing uncertainty can be used to indicate where the gaps in knowledge are most critical for decision making.
This lecture will describe the UK Clinical Research Collaboration's approach to modeling the health impacts of transportation decisions.
TREC is hosting this event, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority.
Guest Lecturer Rachel Aldred, University of Westminster
Cycling is currently a hotly debated political and policy issue, especially in relation to safety. While research has studied serious injuries and deaths, this project targets a more common, yet under-researched phenomenon: the ‘ordinary’ experience of near misses and other non-injury incidents (from incivilities and low-level harassment to SMIDSY: ‘sorry mate, I didn’t see you’).
Near miss and related incidents are common, according to a pioneering study in Oxford in the early 1990s. More recent work in Middlesex suggests close passes (under 50cm) may happen with predictable regularity for commuting cyclists, while an Australian study highlights experiences of deliberate abuse and harassment.
Yet apart from this work, there remains little research into non-injury incidents. We don’t know, for example, how often they happen to UK cyclists, and how this varies. This is a substantial missed opportunity, both to improve people’s experiences of cycling, and to use our knowledge of near misses to prevent injuries. The latter is commonplace in other areas of transport such as rail and air but near-absent for cycling.
This lecture will introduce the Near Miss project, which seeks to research, analyze and document cycling near misses, and contribute to training drivers and transport professionals. It will...Read more
A new NITC project has developed a robust pedestrian demand estimation tool, the first of its kind in the country.
See the research here: Development of a Pedestrian Demand Estimation Tool
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...Read more