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Our National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research program has awarded grant funding for a new series of Small Starts projects.

Small Starts grants assist researchers who are interested in transportation but have not yet had an opportunity to undertake a small project—$15,000 in funding or less—that supports NITC's theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities.

The latest projects selected by NITC's executive committee support that theme in exploring livable streets, multimodal safety and transportation efficiency.

The six newly funded projects are:

  • Is There a "Buy Local" Case for Lower Travel Speeds? Testing Differences in Driver Recognition of Local Versus National Retail at Different Travel Speeds—Jonathan Bean and Arlie Adkins, University of Arizona (Full Proposal)
  • How Will Autonomous Vehicles Change Local Government Budgeting and Finance? A Case Study of Solid Waste, Drop-off/Pick-up Zones, and Parking—Benjamin Clark, University of Oregon (...
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Principal Investigator: Nicole Ngo, University of Oregon
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page. Hear firsthand from the PI by tuning in for the webinar on November 9th (recording available post-webinar).

In 2011, San Fransisco introduced SFPark, a smart parking program. SFpark uses demand-responsive pricing to open up parking spaces and reduce circling and double-parking. Rates can vary by block, time of day and day of week, and are adjusted at most once per month.

In the latest NITC report, researcher Nicole Ngo of the University of Oregon investigates the effects of the demand-responsive pricing program on transit usage and congestion.

The study focused on metered, on-street parking and used the timing of SFpark's pricing changes as a natural experiment. Researchers observed effects on three important...

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Principal Investigator: Rob Zako, University of Oregon
Project Overview: Effectiveness of Transportation Funding Mechanisms for Achieving National, State, and Metropolitan Economic, Health, and Other Livability Goals
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, download the toolkit, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page. Hear firsthand from the PI by watching the post-webinar recording here.


What do Americans get in return for their transportation investments? It’s a simple enough question on the surface, but digging for an answer yields a gnarled knot of information.

NITC investigators Rebecca Lewis and Rob Zako of the University of Oregon explored six case study states to try to get some clarity on the answer. They worked with metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia to examine how livability goals were embedded in...

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TREC’s NITC program has made $500,000 available for grants to eligible researchers through its 2017 general research request for proposals. The RFP is the first since the NITC program expanded to include the University of Arizona and University of Texas at Arlington.

All proposals must contribute to the NITC theme, improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities, and focus on transportation. They must also show strong potential to move transportation research into practice, inform other researchers, shape national and international conversations on transportation research, and respond to the needs of practitioners and policymakers.

Projects are capped at $100,000, and we encourage PIs to propose smaller projects. Priority is given to projects that are collaborative, multi-disciplinary, multi-campus and support the development of untenured tenure-track transportation faculty.

Key Dates

  •     Abstracts due: April 14, 2017
  •     Proposal due: May 15, 2017
  •     Peer reviews: June 2017
  •     Project Selection, Awards, and Task Orders: July-August 2017
  •     Projects begin: Sept 2017

Eligibility

Only eligible faculty members and research faculty from Portland State University, University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Utah, University of...

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The final report on this research is available now: Design for an Aging Population

Published in April 2017, this study sought to increase understanding of the obstacles faced by people with impairments in vision, hearing and/or mobility, which are common issues for older people, and generate physical product solutions.

The research shows that aging riders face conceptual, physical and social barriers that impact their willingness to use buses. Using the bus was seen as inconvenient, time consuming, physically draining and potentially frustrating. Priority seating areas designated for older and disabled users fill quickly. People with mobility challenges may use bulky walkers and require the availability of grab bars, and users of wheeled mobility devices need different device security. Several situations noted in the study show that physically challenged riders are subject to awkward, uncomfortable social dynamics more than other bus users. Innovation in easy access seats and secure WhMD stations at the front of the bus are critical for older users, as it makes riding the bus less draining and more safe.

This research was presented at TRB's 2017 annual meeting. See below for our coverage of the research at TRB.


Seniors make up a...

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A powerful educational tool that also achieves planning results for communities is spreading from Oregon to universities around the world.

The Sustainable City Year Program, or SCYP, is part of the Sustainable Cities Initiative, a cross-disciplinary organization supported by NITC and based at the University of Oregon.

With the guidance provided in a new NITC report, replicating the program will be easier than ever.

What makes the SCYP so successful is its unique approach to teaching: students in various disciplines are recruited to work on real-world projects and create solutions for communities, free of charge. Community partners are chosen through a competitive selection process. 

In a NITC technology transfer project, "Disseminating the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) Educational Model," the program’s co-founders Nico Larco and Marc Schlossberg have published a specific set of strategies and resources to help universities construct similar experience-based learning programs.

  • Download the report here.

"One of the great things...

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Alexis Biddle, a graduate student at the University of Oregon, has been named a 2016 Eno Fellow and will participate in the Eno Future Leaders Development Conference this June.

“I am most looking forward to broadening my vision of transportation policy. The people that I meet in the five days of the Leadership Development Conference will shape my perspective for my lifetime… I expect to return to Oregon with a reformed sense of my role in transportation policy and politics,” Biddle said.

He is currently pursuing a joint degree between the Community & Regional Planning program and the Law School at UO. He has worked on NITC research projects under the guidance of UO professor Rebecca Lewis, co-organized the student-run Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, and s active in the local transportation advocacy organization Better Eugene Springfield Transit (BEST).

The goal of the Eno Leadership Development Conference is to cultivate the next generation of leaders in all modes of transportation. Eno fellows...

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The University of Oregon student group, LiveMove, shared lunch and an afternoon conversation on Monday, February 23rd, with Shelley Poticha, Director of the Urban Solutions program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The lunch was held on OU’s Eugene campus in Susan Campbell Hall, where Poticha engaged in an afternoon Q&A session with students from LiveMove.

The topic was transportation and livability related issues, with 13 participants in attendance.

In the evening following the Q&A, Poticha gave a presentation in Lawrence Hall. Her focus was on addressing best practices for implementing key concepts of new urbanism, as well as detailing dynamic approaches for achieving these goals.

Through aiding in the development of greener neighborhoods and implementation of better regional planning, Poticha is a national leader in assisting cities with creating sustainable communities. Prior to joining NRDC she was a senior advisor and director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before joining HUD, she served as President and CEO of Reconnecting America, as well as the Executive Director of the Congress for New Urbanism.

LiveMove partnered with the Sustainable Cities Initiative (...

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Sep 30, 2005
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Historically, large-scale transportation infrastructure projects have had devastating outcomes in communities of color. With twentieth-century urban renewal efforts often came the displacement of underprivileged communities, the loss of low-income neighborhoods and their replacement with affluent housing and freeways.

According to new OTREC research from the University of Oregon, transit-oriented development, or TOD, can offer a different trajectory. Rather than displacing residents, TOD has the potential to improve neighborhoods for the benefit of those who live there.

OTREC researcher Gerardo Sandoval grew up near MacArthur park, one of the two sites studied, and has witnessed firsthand the neighborhood’s dramatic change. “I think the coolest thing about MacArthur Park is that now it’s considered a national model for TOD. When I was growing up there … nobody saw it like that. It was thought of more as a low-income area,” Sandoval said.

The project examined two California neighborhoods: MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, and Fruitvale, in Oakland. In both neighborhoods, the majority of residents are recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America, many of whom have significantly lower incomes and rely heavily on public transportation.

In the last few decades, both sites have seen TOD coincide with neighborhood revitalization, and...

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