The Region X Consortium held its fall meeting in Seattle on October 15-16. Representatives from UTCs (OTREC, AUTC, TransNow, NIATT) and state DOTs (ODOT, WSDOT, ITD) attended the bi-annual meeting to discuss regional collaboration for transportation research and education efforts. Agenda items included further discussion of a Region X Memorandum of Understanding that would allow for pooled-funds with which the Consortium will sponsor major research projects from a regional needs perspective. TransNow hosted the meeting and led discussions on freight, infrastructure, and traffic operation research. Hau Hagedorn gave an OTREC update and faculty participants from Oregon included Chris Monsere and Peter Dusicka from PSU and Chris Higgins and Karen Dixon from OSU.

 

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections.
The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked. "What's happened to me? " he thought. It wasn't a dream.
His room, a proper human room although a little too small, lay peacefully between its four familiar walls. A collection of textile samples lay spread out on the table - Samsa was a travelling salesman - and above it there hung a picture that he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and housed in a nice, gilded frame. It showed a lady fitted out with a fur hat and fur boa who sat upright, raising a heavy fur muff that covered the whole of her lower arm towards the viewer. Gregor then turned to look out the window at the dull weather.

Professor John Pucher, a car-less commuter from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, was the first fall OTREC Visiting Scholar and CTS Seminar guest on September 28, 2007. His presentation, "Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from Europe," was standing room only, and the audience enjoyed his photos of bike-friendly features in cities across Europe. Pucher examined a range of public health impacts of our urban transport systems and argued that the current car dependence of American cities is responsible for enormous environmental harm, social isolation, lack of physical activity, and traffic dangers. He described how improving the convenience, safety, and attractiveness of walking and cycling in crucial to overcoming these negative impacts. Pucher discussed specific policies and programs used in Europe, and advocates their widespread adoption in American cities. A lively discussion with faculty, students and members of the Portland Bicycle Master Plan Committee followed the seminar.

On September 7, 2007, the OTREC Executive Committee selected the top 36 research, education and technology transfer projects for 2007-2008 funding. Over 80 proposals requesting over $5.1M were received in May, and each proposal went through a vigorous peer review process. Peer-reviewers ranked the proposals on the basis of intellectual merit, broader impacts, relevance to OTRECís theme and the national transportation research agenda. There were 29 research, 4 education and 3 technology transfer projects selected. Ten are multi-campus and 18 are multi-PI, reflecting great collaboration. The list of 2007-2008 projects, including abstracts, can be found here: 2007-2008 Projects

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Prof. Monsere, PSU and Prof. Dixon, OSU, participated in the mid-year meeting for the TRB Task Force for the Highway Safety Manual, ANB25T, on August 20-22, 2007. The meeting included presentations, working sessions, sub-committee work, and social events at the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering’s Beckman Center on the University of California Irvine campus.

Allison Dane, staff member from Congressman Peter DeFazio’s office, who specializes in work with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, visited Portland State University in August for an update on transportation research conducted in the ITS Lab, at PSU and within the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC). PSU faculty, including Professors Bertini, Dusicka, Smith, Tufte and Maier discussed their ongoing research efforts. Prof. Higgins from OSU, and Betsy Boyd from UO, plus OTREC staff (Hau Hagedorn, Jenny Kincaid and Rie Anderson) also participated in the meeting.

Hau Hagedorn, OTREC Research Project Manager, participated in AASHTO’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) meeting in Seattle, WA, August 6-9, 2007. RAC identifies research needs, defines research emphasis areas, utilizes research findings, maintains an overview of state related research activities and funding, and works to employ the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) effectively. Discussions were focused on the status of national transportation research programs and what is needed to prepare for the future of transportation and transportation research. Specific sessions covered research partnerships between departments of transportation and universities, research project management, and documenting the value of research.

Students and faculty from OTREC were very active at the July Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) District 6 Annual Meeting, covering 13 western states, and held in Portland.†A sample of our involvement can be found here: ITE District 6

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Prof. Robert Bertini, Hau Hagedorn and Jenny Kincaid spent a few days in lovely Madison, Wisconsin to attend the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) annual meeting, held in the Fluno Center at the University of Wisconsin. Sessions were held on strategic planning, communication best practices, and RITA news/guidelines. In addition, OTREC staff appreciated the opportunity to meet with other administrative managers from centers around the country and to enjoy the UW terrace on Lake Mendota.

Proposals for 2007-2008 transportation research, education and technology transfer projects were due on May 25, 2007. OTREC received 82 proposals with a total request of $5.1M. There were 48 unique proposers, 42 proposals with multiple PIs, and 13 were multi-campus. OTREC is pleased to see the diversity of disciplines and collaboration between universities and with external partners. As governed by the OTREC Strategic Plan, all proposals will be peer reviewed by at least three expert reviewers, including one federal representative. Awards will be announced in the fall.

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