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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 other benefits in travel demand models," Singleton said.

The idea that travel can provide benefits beyond reaching destinations is known in the travel behavior field as "the positive utility of travel" (PUT) concept.

Singleton’s dissertation makes some important contributions to this field.

By documenting reliable and meaningful ways to measure subjective well-being from travel, the report represents an advancement in how these concepts can be investigated. 

The paper...

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The NITC program has selected two dissertation fellows for the spring 2016 round of dissertation funding.

Portland State University Ph.D. candidates Patrick Singleton and Kristina Currans will each be awarded a $15,000 fellowship to support their doctoral dissertation research.

Both Currans and Singleton are also Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Graduate Fellows.

Singleton, a former Eno fellow and NITC’s 2015 student of the year, will focus his research on the “positive utility of travel.” 

Traditionally, travel is considered a means to an end, and travel demand is derived from activity demand. More recently, scholars have questioned these axioms, noting that some people enjoy traveling, use travel time productively, and may travel for non-utilitarian reasons.

Singleton will explore this concept, empirically investigating what factors determine the positive utility of travel and its impact on travel behavior. 

His research has important implications for transportation planning and policy, through improving knowledge of influences on sustainable modes and anticipating potential behavioral shifts with autonomous vehicles.

Currans, a former NITC scholar, student of the year and inductee into the Portland State University Women Engineers Hall of Fame, will be researching data and methodological issues in assessing multimodal transportation impacts.

As cities aim to promote sustainable, multimodal growth, existing...

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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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Patrick Singleton, a Portland State University doctoral candidate in the school of Civil & Environmental Engineering, has been selected as the 2015 NITC university transportation center student of the year.

To be nominated for this award, which includes a $1000 stipend and also covers the recipient’s attendance to the Transportation Research Board (TRB)’s annual meeting, graduate students must demonstrate technical merit and research accomplishments, as well as outstanding academic performance, professionalism and leadership.

The award comes at the close of an auspicious year for Singleton. In the spring of 2015 he attended the Eno Leadership Development Conference as an Eno fellow. He was also one of four civil and environmental engineering students from PSU to be awarded the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship in 2014, and at last year’s TRB annual meeting, he was selected as TRB’s top-ranked Eisenhower Fellow.

Singleton studies active travel behavior and travel demand. His postgraduate research at PSU has tackled statistical analysis of the complex decision-making processes surrounding walking and bicycling.

Together with his advisor,...

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As we previously reported, Patrick Singleton, a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Portland State University, was selected to attend the 2015 Eno Future Leaders Development Conference in Washington, DC, last week. As an Eno Fellow, Patrick attended a series of meetings and tours designed to be an introduction to the transportation policymaking landscape. Here, he shares his experience in his own words.

Last week I had the pleasure and honor to attend the 2015 Eno Center for Transportation’s Future Leaders Development Conference, in Washington, DC. Along with 19 other graduate students from around the country, I learned about federal transportation policymaking from leaders in the field.

During the week, we met with a wide array of distinguished speakers on a variety of transportation topics. We heard how Capitol Hill deals with transportation legislation from Congressional staffers. We debated big policy issues in the aviation industry with an airport CEO, trade organization lobbyists, and expert consultants. We learned about new requirements for performance management from...

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In a morning workshop on Sunday at TRB's annual meeting, Patrick Singleton of Portland State University was named the top-ranked Eisenhower Fellowship recipient

The session featured innovative research from second- and third-year Eisenhower doctoral fellowship recipients from top universities across the nation.

Singleton was one of four civil and environmental engineering students from PSU to be awarded the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship in 2014.

The paper he presented, "The theory of travel decision-making: A conceptual framework of active travel behavior," integrates theories from economics, geography and psychology to arrive at a unifying framework for understanding and predicting active travel decisions.

It examines the thought processes behind individuals' short-term travel decisions and explains the roles of activities, built environment factors, socio-demographics, perceptions, and habit in influencing those decisions.

Singleton's award marks the second year in a row that a Portland State student has taken the top honor, following Kristina Currans.

Singleton's adviser, Prof. Kelly Clifton, said she's proud of his accomplishment and the continued achievement of Portland State students. "It shows the strength of the program," Clifton said.

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Five OTREC-supported student transportation researchers presented their work Wednesday at Portland State University's first Student Reserach Symposium. Tara Goddard and Katherine Bell presented their work in panel sessions, while Sam Thompson, Patrick Singleton and Oliver Smith presented posters.

Goddard presented her paper, "Are Bicycling and Walking 'Cool'?: Adolescent Attitutes About Active Travel," in the public health and urban studies session. She'll offer an in-depth take on the same topic at noon May 24 for OTREC's Friday transportation seminar. Click here for more information.

Bell's paper, "Evaluation of Smart Phone Weight-Mile Truck Data for Supporting Freight Modeling, Performance Measures and Planning," details some of her work with civil engineering associate professor Miguel Figliozzi. Click here to download a version of the paper.

Thompson's poster was "A Study of Bicycle-Signal Compliance Employing Video Footage;" Singleton's poster was "A Theory of Travel Decision-Making: Applications for Active Travel;" Smith's was "The Effects of Mode Choice on Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Portland, Oregon."

The symposium, which organizers...

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