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Flashing-yellow-arrow traffic signals offer convenience for drivers by permitting them to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic. This convenience, OTREC research has found, can come at the expense of safety, especially where the traffic mix includes pedestrians.

OTREC researchers David Hurwitz of Oregon State University and Christopher Monsere of Portland State University examined how driver behaviors affect pedestrian safety at flashing yellow arrows. Their findings show that drivers at these intersections often don’t even look for pedestrians.

This research will be the focus of OTREC’s first live interview-style Webinar May 7. Host Steph Routh of Oregon Walks will interview the researcher-practitioner team, explore real-world applications and take audience questions. The Webinar is free. Details are at this link:

Flashing-yellow-arrow Webinar

Flashing yellow arrows have been replacing other left-turn signals, such as solid green or flashing yellow or red circles, to indicate that drivers may turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. These turns are considered “permissive.” Turns where no conflicting traffic is present, such as those indicated with a green arrow, are “protected” turns. The flashing yellow arrow’s inclusion in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices sped up the signal’s adoption to indicate a permissive...

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Freight transportation is a vital component of Oregon’s economy, and many expect shipments to nearly double in the next decade. Making informed decisions to better manage the freight transportation system requires monitoring freight movement and freight transportation performance. Because most of that freight moves by truck, this means better understanding those trucks’ movements.

Existing methods for tracking individual trucks can require buying expensive new equipment, however, and raise privacy concerns. In his report, “Exploratory Methods for Truck Re-Identification in a Statewide Network Based on Axle Weight and Axle Spacing Data to Enhance Freight Metrics,” Christopher Monsere investigated an alternative: Using only existing vehicle sensors, is it feasible to reidentify trucks after they have traveled long distances?

Monsere and his research team used data from existing weigh-in-motion stations, which record axle weight and spacing and gross vehicle weight. They then developed and applied algorithms to match truck measurements at separate sites, allowing them to reidentify the same vehicles at other weigh stations. 

The team found that the algorithms can match trucks with around 90 percent accuracy, while measuring around 95 percent of the total trucks that cross both stations. The algorithms also can be adjusted to yield greater accuracy by reducing the total number of trucks matched. Matching 40 percent...

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Faculty and students from OTREC universities will be featured at more than 35 sessions at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting Jan. 23 to 27 in Washington D.C. The meeting offers a forum to show OTREC’s research and programs to approximately 10,000 transportation professionals representing various disciplines and countries. Download OTREC’s guide to TRB.

Among these sessions, a highlight is the presentation of work that has emerged from OTREC’s collaborations with other members of the Region X Consortium, which includes the Departments of Transportation and University Transportation Centers from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana. This year, two poster presentations stem from a Region X-sponsored project: Climate Change Impact Assessment for Surface Transportation in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska The project addresses the potential impacts of climate change, and associated opportunities for adaptation, throughout the region.

“Most plans for the region deal with mitigation, that is, the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere from transportation,” said John MacArthur, the project’s principal investigator and a presenting author...

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Portland State University transportation engineering students added their expertise to a yearlong effort to help Salem reinvent itself. The Urban Transportation Systems class looked at options to improve bicycle and pedestrian travel in the city’s downtown core.

The effort is part of the Sustainable Cities Initiative, one of three OTREC-funded initiatives. The initiative, led by co-directors Marc Schlossberg and Nico Larco at the University of Oregon, chooses one Oregon city per year to make its classroom, directing coursework to help the city adopt sustainable practices.

This year is the first to include Portland State University’s participation. Students in assistant Professor Chris Monsere’s Civil Engineering 454 class gave presentations Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 on several alternatives to improve bicycle and pedestrian transportation and safety. Projects included:

  • Accommodating the bicycle and pedestrian crossing on Union Street at Commercial Street while considering impacts to automobile traffic
  • Connecting cyclists and pedestrians at the end of the Union Street path at Wallace Road
  • A bicycle and pedestrian route west of Wallace Road
  • Converting selected one-way streets to two-way operation
  • Traffic analysis of options drafted by bicycle advocates for the intersection of Commercial and Liberty streets at Vista Avenue
  • Bicycle...
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