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Principal Investigator: Keith Bartholomew, University of Utah
Learn more about this research by viewing the one-page Project Brief, related products and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

New laws in California and Oregon—California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) and the Oregon Sustainable Transportation Initiative (SB 1059)—have made them the first states in the nation to try and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using the transportation planning process.

A new NITC report coauthored by Keith Bartholomew and David Proffitt of the University of Utah evaluates how these pioneering laws have changed local planning processes in each state. Under these laws, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) must include climate goals in their regional transportation plans; coordinating land use and transportation infrastructure in a way that aims at reducing per capita GHG emissions.

"The MPOs have to show how, in the future, they could accomodate population growth, new housing and new...

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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: Reid Ewing, University of Utah
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

A new report from the University of Utah uses data to settle a debate that has been ongoing among transportation researchers since the 1990s: what are the effects of compact development on traffic congestion?

One camp argues that dense, compact development with a mixture of land uses will ultimately relieve congestion by encouraging fewer auto trips. On the opposite side, proponents of highway-induced, sprawling development argue that sprawl decreases congestion by funneling traffic away from dense areas, acting as a "traffic safety valve."

Led by Reid Ewing of the University of Utah and Shima Hamidi of the University of Texas at Arlington, this NITC study sought to address the question through cross sectional data. So which of these forms of urban development is better at reducing area-wide traffic congestion?

Surprisingly, neither.

Ewing and Hamidi arrived at the conclusion that development density—whether...

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Principal InvestigatorIvis Garcia, University of Utah
Learn more about this research by viewing the related presentations and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

Students in the University of Utah’s Westside Studio investigated how to improve access to downtown from the west side of Salt Lake City.

Led by Ivis Garcia, the project's goal was to learn from residents about their use of an existing multi-use path, the Jordan Park River Trail, and to help enhance the connection between residents living near the trail and the downtown area on the river's east side.

Students surveyed 300 residents and conducted focus groups, which revealed that many area residents either didn't know about the trail or didn't perceive it as a safe place to walk. Local community leaders also visited the class and shared their expertise with students.

"A lot of elements of the course were around teaching community engagement and action," Garcia said.

In order to enhance users...

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Principal Investigator: Brenda Scheer, University of Utah
Learn more about this research by viewing the related presentations and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

Transit-oriented development, or TOD, could be the “poster child” for sustainable urban development. It concentrates land uses, including commercial and multi-family housing, near transit stations so as to reduce car dependency and increase ridership. The benefits are manifold; increased community health, positive economic impacts, less harm to the environment and potentially greater social equity.

But what about affordability? In exchange for all these benefits, do TOD residents spend more money on transportation?

A new NITC...

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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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Jan 31, 2017
Content Type: Events

Smart Growth America hosted a webinar Jan. 31 on NITC research finding that standard guidelines lead to a drastic oversupply of parking at transit-oriented developments. That restricts the supply of housing, office and retail space while driving up the price.

The webinar marks the release of Smart Growth America's lay summary of the NITC report, called "Empty Spaces," which will be available to webinar attendees.

Watch the recorded webinar here.

The research, led by Reid Ewing of the University of Utah, is one of the first comprehensive data-driven reports to estimate peak parking and vehicle trip generation rates for transit-oriented development projects, as well as one of the first to estimate travel mode shares for TODs. Ewing analyzed data on actual parking usage and total trip generation near five transit stations: Redmond, Washington; Rhode Island Row in Washington, D.C.; Fruitvale Village in Oakland, California; Englewood, Colorado; and Wilshire/Vermont in Los...

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Feb 19, 2015
Content Type: Events

For fifteen years, scholars have claimed that accessibility-based transportation planning is at the brink of becoming a new paradigm. In contrast with traditional mobility-based planning methods, which focus on the cost of transportation per mile, accessibility-based planning methods place more importance on people's ability to reach various destinations and their access to transit systems. Its use may trail behind traditional planning methods nationally, due to vague definitions, momentum of traditional performance measures, and other factors. However, this webinar argues that accessibility-based planning is demonstrably necessary in shrinking cities across the U.S., and especially among minority populations in those cities.

As shrinking cities’ need for accessibility-based planning is distinct, the challenges to accomplishing it are also distinct and rather severe. Again, this is especially true when planning for minority populations, for whom there is often a level of mistrust in the policy process itself which must be overcome. After presenting evidence of both the especial need for and the challenges inherent in accessibility-based planning in shrinking cities (and especially among minority populations), this presentation proposes potential strategies for implementation and for applying this method in those scenarios in which it is most needed.

...

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The executive committee of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, program has selected a third round of research, education, and technology transfer projects for funding. This grant is part of the University Transportation Center (UTC) program funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Research and Technology, and is a partnership between Portland State University, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology, and the University of Utah. The committee chose eight projects, totaling $800,000, under the NITC theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation to foster livable communities. 
 
The projects are national in scope and support innovations in priority areas including public transit and active transportation. 
 
Projects selected include:
  • An analysis of the effects of commuter rail on population deconcentration.
  • A look into prioritizing pedestrians at signalized intersections.
  • A study of cyclist-vehicle interaction.
  • An evaluation of an eco-driving intervention.
The eight projects were chosen from among 20 proposals...
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For the first time, researchers have shown that installing light rail on an existing travel corridor not only gets people out of their cars, but reduces congestion and air pollution.

In the study, planners at the University of Utah measured impacts of a new light rail line in Salt Lake City (University Line) on an existing major thoroughfare (400/500 South). Their analysis showed that traffic near the University has fallen to levels not seen since the 1980s, even as the number of students, faculty and staff at the university has increased, and the commercial district along the corridor has expanded.

"This is the first study to document important effects of light rail transit on traffic volumes,” said Reid Ewing, professor of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah and lead author on the study. “Since the University TRAX line opened, there has been increased development in the 400/500 South travel corridor, yet traffic on the street has actually declined. Our calculations show that without the University TRAX line, there would be at least 7,300 more cars per day on 400/500 South, and possibly as many as 21,700 additional cars. The line avoids gridlock, as well as saves an additional 13 tons of toxic air pollutants. This is important knowledge for shaping future transportation policies.”

Andrew Gruber, executive director of the...

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