Photo by Dongho Chang

Using E-Bike Purchase Incentive Programs to Expand the Market – a new white paper from Portland State University

posted on Thursday, May 19, 2022

Would monetary incentives encourage more people to buy e-bikes? 

Portland State University (PSU) researchers are examining how purchase incentive programs can expand the current e-bike market, and the latest product to come out of this research is a white paper released earlier this month: “Using E-Bike Purchase Incentive Programs to Expand the Market – North American Trends and Recommended Practices (PDF)

The paper offers methods of identifying the most effective program structure for the incentive provider's priorities, and helpful information on how to administer and track the program. 

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Dr. Jandel Crutchfield and NITC scholar Erin Findley of the University of Texas at Arlington have published an article in the January 2022 issue of Child & Family Social Work: "Accessibility of transportation to child-welfare involved parents and the related impact on court-ordered service participation.

The article explores the impact of transportation access on child welfare-involved families' service participation. 

Families involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) face daunting steps to meet their service plan goals in the effort to achieve reunification with their children. Families who lack transportation access face additional barriers. This study explored Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, volunteers' perspectives of these barriers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine CASA volunteers, with questions regarding volunteers' experiences of transportation access for parents and children. Primary emphasis was placed on families' access to services. Three primary themes emerged in the data analysis:

  1. challenges are wide-ranging, exacerbated by transportation issues;
  2. transportation linked to court-ordered services success; and
  3. practical...
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Xiaobo Ma is a Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Arizona. His major is Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Transportation Engineering and a minor in Statistics and Data Science. He is a recipient of the Jenny L. Grote Student Leadership Award this year, which recognizes an exemplary graduate ITE student chapter member who has shown exceptional dedication to the transportation profession through ITE service, mentoring, research, real-world experience, and other noteworthy accomplishments. He has written multiple journal papers and won several influential awards in the U.S. and China, and has worked on many hands-on and practical research projects for public agencies in Arizona.

Connect with Xiaobo on LinkedIn


Tell us about yourself?

I am a Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Arizona. I am a fast learner, a team player, and a passionate researcher aiming to apply statistical and machine learning methods to solve complex and practical problems in the field of transportation engineering. In my free time, I love swimming and traveling.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

Under my advisor Dr. Yao-Jan Wu’s supervision, I have been involved in several research projects and doing solid practical and theoretical research in developing local, regional, and national...

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How could a free transportation class for people living in the Salt Lake City region strengthen community conversations and advocacy around local priorities in transportation policy? Researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and University of Utah (UU) explored that question by bringing a well-known learning model from Portland, Oregon to SLC.

For over 25 years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has partnered with PSU to offer the Portland Traffic and Transportation Course – a free 10-week course designed to provide local community members the skills and knowledge to participate in transportation decisions affecting their neighborhoods. This model has proven to be a success story in public agency-university partnership in community education. Building upon a 2015 project that documented the Portland course and developed a curriculum handbook, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) has provided more funding for a pilot community transportation class–the Wasatch Transportation Academy– in Salt Lake, City Utah. Their first class was held on January 24, 2022 (view class recordings here) and ran through...

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How can relocating services away from a downtown center change the transportation decisions and patterns for persons experiencing homelessness? And how do those changes affect access to the services they need? New research from the University of Utah (UU) examines the impacts of decentralizing homeless service locations through a case study in Salt Lake County, Utah. 

Prior to 2019, resources for people experiencing homelessness in the county were concentrated in a single location: The Road Home – a nonprofit social services agency located downtown within the free fare zone for TRAX light rail. In 2019, Salt Lake County transitioned to a decentralized, scattered site model with multiple shelter locations. The downtown shelter closed and three new Homeless Resource Centers (HRCs), operated by various providers, were opened outside of downtown Salt Lake City.

Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), researchers Sarah Canham, Jeff Rose, Ivis Garcia Zambrana, and Shannon Jones of UU surveyed clients of the three new HRCs (106 respondents) and conducted qualitative interviews with 19 HRC clients who had previously accessed services at the old downtown shelter. They also interviewed 24...

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Dr. Joey Iuliano of the University of Arizona, a 2020 NITC dissertation fellow who earned his Ph.D. in 2021, has published a journal article in the March 2022 issue of Cogent Social Sciences: Where and how Tucsonans ride and implications for cycling infrastructure

Drawing from cycling ethnographic work, Dr. Iuliano used video recordings of three groups of cyclists (commuter, recreational, and athletic) in Tucson, AZ, to contextualize their movements and interactions with the built environment, drivers, and other cyclists. Cycling can be utilitarian for commuters and a social, leisure, and athletic activity for recreational and athletic riders. Depending on their reason for riding, cyclists utilize infrastructure to suit their needs and protect themselves from drivers. Confidence levels also influence where and how people ride. For example:

  • Commuters rode defensively and sought out less-trafficked facilities.
  • Recreational riders rode solo on paths and in groups on open roads.
  • Athletic riders claimed space from drivers by riding in packs while being mindful of group safety.

Video ethnography helps improve the understanding of the different reasons for cycling and those experiences. With this information, planners can provide more accurate maps and overcome pushback from some cyclists by designing...

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Jennifer Leslie is a City and Metropolitan Planning graduate student at the University of Utah. She earned a BS in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from the University of Utah in 2019, and completed an internship at the National Park Service helping to manage the increasing visitation to parks across the country through collaboration in multi-agency projects. She has also volunteered as a surveyor for the University of Utah's Outdoor Education, Recreation and Tourism Lab. Jennifer is currently working with researchers Kristina Currans and Danya Rumore on a Research Roadmap for the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC).

Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn


Tell us about yourself?

I am a first-year masters student of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah. Before graduate school, I studied parks, recreation and tourism at the U of U. I am an environmental advocate and passionate about how natural spaces influence communities. My favorite way to experience the outdoors is through backpacking.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

As someone that cares about access to parks and trails, I have been very interested in active transportation and accessibility to green spaces. As I become more involved in the...

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Ten Portland State University students have been awarded National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) scholarships for the 2021/22 academic year. We're very proud to acknowledge their hard work and dedication. The NITC Scholarship program recognizes outstanding students working on transportation projects. Financial support for students helps to develop the workforce by directing talented individuals toward research and practice, raising the number and caliber of graduates in transportation. 

Meet the NITC Scholars of PSU:

Cameron Bennett, Master in Civil & Environmental Engineering

Cameron Bennett is a first-year masters student in transportation engineering. He was the...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is proud to introduce our newest Dissertation Fellow, Austin Drukker of the University of Arizona, who was awarded $15,000 for his doctoral research project: How Essential is Essential Air Service? A Welfare Analysis of Airport Access for Remote Communities

Mr. Drukker will study the welfare implications of Essential Air Service (EAS), a federal government program that provides subsidies to airlines that provide commercial service from remote communities. Congress established EAS after the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, which gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which domestic markets to serve and which fares to charge, fearing that the newly deregulated airlines would shift their operations to serve large, profitable markets, leaving remote communities without access to the national passenger airline network and the markets and opportunities that come along with such access. By combining novel data containing information on airline passengers’ home location with cutting-edge econometric techniques, Mr. Drukker will study the value that EAS community members place on having access to their community airport as revealed by their actual choices. Mr. Drukker’s preliminary findings suggest that passengers who live in communities with subsidized service have a plethora of choices available to them and many if not...

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In recent years, shared electric scooters (e-scooters) have taken cities around the world by storm. But how are people using this new mode of transportation? Seeking to understand the potential impacts of e-scooters on land use, infrastructure and sustainability goals, researchers have some new interesting data to share on e-scooter users, exploring the interplay between demographics, behaviors and trip purposes.

Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and led by Kristina Currans and Nicole Iroz-Elardo of the University of Arizona and Reid Ewing of the University of Utah, the study combines a user survey with on-the-ground observations to characterize the use and safety of e-scooters. The research team also included students Dong-ah Choi,...

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Dr. Xiaoyue Cathy Liu of the University of Utah is leading research efforts to help facilitate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). In 2021, she completed a project funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), Bi-objective Optimization for Battery Electric Bus Deployment Considering Cost and Environmental Equity, which was aimed at helping transit agencies transition their fleets to battery electric buses while focusing on improving air quality—with an eye toward environmental justice.

"The blocking piece is one of the more unique and helpful elements of this tool. We are making investments based on her recommendations, from the model and the tool, for five more high-powered chargers in our system.... You can optimize to a lot of different factors using her model. It's a really good tool in that you can use in multiple ways to make better business decisions for both your agency and the community."
-Manager of Systems Planning and Project Development, Utah Transit Authority

"This research made me aware of always communicating and addressing equity issues, even in small projects. I'm working on implementing small electric community shuttle systems and...

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