Student presentations from TRB, week 3

Friday, January 30, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST
Patrick Singleton and Ryan Dann, Portland State University

Watch video

View Patrick Singleton's slides

View Ryan Dann's slides

Following the 2015 annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, this Friday seminar will showcase some of Portland State University's student TRB research.


Patrick Singleton, GRA in civil and environmental engineering

The theory of travel decision-making: A conceptual framework of active travel behavior

Summary: We present a unifying conceptual framework of active travel behavior called the theory of travel decision-making. It integrates seminal travel-related concepts from economics, geography, and psychology with active travel behavior theories and empirical research. The framework abstracts an individual’s thought process around short-term travel decisions and explains the roles of activities, built environment factors, socio-demographics, attitudes and perceptions, and habit. Our primary objective is to inform travel behavior research by meeting the need for a theoretical framework capable of guiding studies on active transportation. The framework could also support active transportation planning and analysis methods by informing the development of travel forecasting tools that better represent the unique influences on walking and bicycling. This presentation summarizes the theoretical foundations of active travel behavior; presents and describes the conceptual framework and its components in detail; notes research needs; and assesses the contributions of the framework to active travel behavior theory, research, and practice.

Bio: Patrick Singleton is a second-year PhD student in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Portland State University, studying under Kelly Clifton. His research spans the areas of travel behavior, transportation planning, and travel demand modeling, with a special interest in walking and bicycling. Before graduate school, Patrick earned a BS from the University of Pittsburgh and worked for several years in traffic engineering consulting. While in Pittsburgh, he also served on an advisory council to the local transit agency and was vice-president of his neighborhood association. Outside of school, you will likely find Patrick exploring and photographing his current city.


Ryan Dann, graduate student in urban studies and planning

Factors Associated with the Bicycle Commute Use of Newcomers: Analysis of the 70 Largest U.S. Cities

Summary: Bicycling is known to produce benefits for cities, in regards to reducing levels of congestion, generating positive health outcomes, and providing affordable transportation options to low-income families. Conventional analysis of urban bicycle commuting does not currently consider the importance of separating migrant, or “newcomer,” bicycle commute use from pre-existing resident bicycle commute use. The goal of this paper is to provide additional information on individual, social, and environmental factors that influence newcomer bicycle use for commuting purposes. This cross-sectional study used data from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey (5-year Estimates) to analyze the bicycle commute use of newcomers in the 70 largest U.S. cities. Relationships between newcomer bicycle commute use and socio-demographic, physical environment, and social environment factors were explored. Newcomer bicycle commute use has a strong positive association with pre-existing city-wide levels of bicycle commute use and a weak positive association with city-wide levels of bicycle infrastructure. After controlling for the built environment, cities with very high levels of pre-existing bicycle use are associated with a 690% higher likelihood of a newcomer’s bicycle commute use when compared to cities with low levels of pre-existing bicycle use. The results suggest that a newcomer’s bicycle use is related to demographics characteristics and pre-existing bicycle use, and that bicycle infrastructure has a relatively negligible influence. The findings may be useful for city planners and policymakers attempting to attract bicycle users to their cities.

Bio: Ryan J. Dann is a Ph.D. student in the Urban Studies department at Portland State University. His research interests involve the travel behavior of urban newcomers, as well as the relationship between bicycle use and neighborhood change. He is currently working on a research project that focuses on location affordable housing and low-income households in the Portland Metro area.