NITC program awards nearly $2 million for first round of research, education projects

OTREC has selected its first roster of projects under the new National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, program. The program’s executive committee chose 19 projects, totaling $1.97 million, under the NITC theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation to foster livable communities.

The projects have national implications and reflect priority areas including public health, equity and transit. True to the program’s multidisciplinary nature, projects extend beyond transportation engineering and planning to include sociology, chemistry, economics and more—10 disciplines in all.

While Portland State University, the University of Oregon and the Oregon Institute of Technology have participated in previous OTREC funding cycles, the new slate of projects marks the addition of the University of Utah into the consortium. Four projects will be led by University of Utah investigators.

Projects selected include:

  • An assessment of the safety, operations, economic impacts, user experience and perceptions of protected bikeways in six disparate cities across the United States. This project is part of the Green Lane Project of the Bikes Belong Foundation.
  • An analysis of how light-rail transit affects other traffic, including a quantification of the savings in time, pollution and parking that transit subsidies provide.
  • A look into bicyclists’ exposure to different types of traffic-related air pollution and how much pollution cyclists breathe when traveling in bike lanes, cycle tracks and bike boulevards.
  • An evaluation of the social equity effects of transit-fare policy. As Utah Transit Authority considers a shift from a flat-rate to distance-based fare structure, this project will consider the equity implications.
  • A comparison of the equity effects of three transit oriented developments in low-income Latino communities. The project will examine how such developments affect economic development, community involvement and agency.
  • A research project to determine people’s perceptions of electric-assist bicycles and determine the potential of these bicycles to encourage new cyclists. 
  • A project to create a guidebook for transportation planners and engineers to retrofit existing streets based on complete streets principles. The reference guide will draw upon improvements implemented around the country to make streets serve all users.

The projects were chosen from among 42 proposals with a total request of nearly $4.7 million. Of the project selected, 15 are research projects, including two focusing on research data; three are education projects, including one focused on citizen engagement; and one is a technology transfer project.

Ten projects span multiple disciplines and 15 involve multiple investigators, with 37 investigators funded in all. Seven untenured tenure-track faculty members will lead projects, with an additional three serving as co-investigators.

A complete list of projects and principal investigators is below:

  1. Lessons from the Green Lane: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Protected Cycling Facilities: Christopher Monsere, PSU
  2. Understanding the Transit-Dependent Population: Jennifer Dill, PSU
  3. Making Streets into Complete Streets: An Evidence Based Design Manual: Marc Schlossberg, UO
  4. Multi-modal Household Vehicle Fleets and Residential Location Choices: Roger Chen, PSU
  5. Understanding Market Segments for Current and Future Residential Location and Travel Choices: Kelly Clifton, PSU
  6. Effect of Light-Rail Transit on Traffic in a Travel Corridor: Reid Ewing, UU
  7. Encouraging Active School Travel by Making it "Cool": A Quasi-Experimental Study Using Boltage, Phase II: Yizhao Yang, UO
  8. Evaluation of Bicyclists’ Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution Along Distinct Facility Types: James Pankow, PSU
  9. Assessing Transit Fare Equity in Utah Using a Geographic Information System: Steven Farber, UU
  10. Continuous Data Integration for Land Use and Transportation Planning and Modeling: Liming Wang, PSU
  11. Application of Interactive Video Sensing and Management for Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Studies: Wu-chi Feng, PSU
  12. Latino Immigrant Communities and Equity in Transit Oriented Development: Gerardo Sandoval, UO
  13. Evaluation of Electric Bike Use in Portland Metro Region: John MacArthur, PSU
  14. Combined Traction and Energy Recovery Motor for Electric Vehicles: James Long, OIT
  15. Strategic Design and Policy for Improving the Livability and Multi-modal Use of U.S. Urban Arterials and Commercial Highways: Michael Larice, UU
  16. Oregon Leadership in Sustainability (OLIS) Sustainable Transportation Class: Vicki Elmer, UO
  17. Transportation Leadership Education: Lynn Weigand, PSU
  18. Modeling and Analyzing the Impact of Advanced Technologies on Livability and Multimodal Transportation Performance Measures in Arterial Corridors: Miguel Figliozzi, PSU
  19. Do TODs Make a Difference?: Arthur Nelson, UU

OTREC and the NITC program are funded by the University Transportation Centers program of U.S. DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration. Project partners and sponsors include Bikes Belong, city of Portland, Conscious Consumer, Drive Oregon, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Intel, KersTech Vehicle Systems, Mountainlands Association of Governments, Metro, Oregon Department of Transportation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Salt Lake County, TriMet, Utah Transit Authority and Wasatch Front Regional Council.

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