A NITC study took a look at how metropolitan planning organizations, or MPOs, can better serve transportation-disadvantaged and historically marginalized populations when creating regional transportation plans.
The transportation disadvantaged are those unable to drive or who lack access to an automobile, and may include the elderly, low income, young people, persons with disabilities, and those with permanent or temporary health conditions. Historically marginalized communities are often left out of the planning process and include many of the same groups but also ethnic and racial minorities.
A new freeway, with all its attendant air and noise pollution, might cut through a part of town where low-income and minority populations are concentrated. Bike lanes sometimes wait to make an appearance until a neighborhood has begun to gentrify. People over the age of 60, as well as people of color, are at greater risk of being killed by a car while walking. Low-income neighborhoods often have poor access to regional transportation networks, making getting to and from work and other destinations a challenge for residents. English language proficiency is a barrier to participating in the transportation planning process and is also recognized as a dimension of transportation disadvantage.
To address problems like this, equity needs to be a priority in every regional transportation planning process. The report, ...Read more
While it’s generally accepted that dense, mixed-use development promotes active travel, researchers don’t have a consensus on exactly how, and to what degree, land use determines people’s travel patterns.
NITC’s latest report, Active Travel Behavior and Spatial-Temporal Land Use Mixing, provides some clarity on the topic.
NITC fellow Steven Gehrke focused his dissertation research on transportation-land use interaction, and sees land use mix as a multidimensional construct.
“We can refocus—away from increasing density—and think more about how we configure land uses,” Gehrke said.
According to Gehrke’s research, more density does not necessarily equal more walking. Rather, the complementarity, composition, and configuration of land use types is essential for cultivating walkability.
Gehrke, who graduates this spring with a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Portland State University, conducted three empirical studies under his dissertation grant. The first focused on improving measurements of land use mix, introducing a land use mix measurement of the composition and configuration of local land use types.
The second study looked at other smart growth principles, like employment concentration and pedestrian-...Read more
Oregon Tech has linked up with Lost River Jr./Sr. High School to build bridges – both metaphorical and actual – between the two schools. Since March 17, the Oregon Tech Student Chapter of ASCE-AGC have been working with the Lost River STEM Club to design and build a bridge on the Oregon Tech trail up to the “O” near the solar power array on campus.OTBridge2017
“You wouldn’t think a couple seventh graders would be much help to make a big old bridge,” said Dustyn Verley, 13, “but it makes us pretty proud, I’d say.” Dystyn said that after helping pour concrete into wood forms on Friday, May...Read more
May was national bike month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast.
The NITC-supported ITE student chapter at the Oregon Institute of Technology helped to organize a "Bike, Walk or Run to Work" day on Friday, May 19.
Klamath County Public Health and the Blue Zones Project partnered to bring Bike to Work events to five locations around the town of Klamath Falls, Oregon, the home of Oregon Tech.
Community members were invited to bike, walk, or run to work on May 19 and stop in at Gathering Grounds Roastery, Sky Lakes Medical Center, Mia & Pia's Pizzeria & Brewhouse, 173rd Fighter Wing, Kingsley Field, or Klamath Community College for free breakfast and refreshments.
There was also a raffle, with prize drawings at 5:.30 p.m. at Gaucho Collective.
The more participants actively commuted to work throughout the week, the more chances they had to win prizes.
Oregon Tech's ITE Student Chapter member staffed four breakfast stations across the Klamath Basin to encourage community members to consider healthier forms of transportation for their commutes.
By bringing residents, worksites, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and government together, Blue Zones and Oregon Tech hope to inspire a community movement to improve quality of life for everyone. Bike to Work day was an indicator of that growing...Read more
As social media comes to permeate every aspect of modern life, public transit is no exception.
Transit agencies are increasingly making social media an integral part of their day-to-day management, using it to connect with riders about system alerts, live transit arrival information, service disruptions and customer feedback.
However, there is very little evidence to show how effective these efforts really are in achieving agency goals.
Measuring the Impacts of Social Media on Advancing Public Transit, a NITC project led by Jenny Liu of Portland State University, seeks to provide a better understanding of how transit agencies use social media and to develop some performance measures to assess the impacts of social media on promoting public transit.
This project aims to measure how social media actually impacts agency goals like increasing recruitment and retention of transit riders; increasing resources and customer satisfaction; addressing system performance efficiency; and improving employee productivity and morale.
A survey of 27 public transportation providers across the country found that although 94% of those surveyed agencies used some form of social media, only 28% had a social media plan or strategy prior to implementation.
Liu’s research explores the types of performance measures that could...Read more
While bike-sharing systems become increasingly common in American cities, questions about the equity of such systems are making their way to the forefront of the conversation.
Bike share can provide a cheap and healthy means of transportation, but many systems are not serving the lower-income and minority populations who, arguably, could benefit most from having the additional travel option.
A survey of 56 bike share system operators in the United States offers an overview of how these equity concerns are being addressed.
The survey is part of a larger research effort, Evaluating Efforts to Improve the Equity of Bike Share Systems. To gain an understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in providing more equitable bike share, TREC and NITC teamed up with the Better Bike Share Partnership: a collaboration between PeopleForBikes, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the...Read more
Everyday cycling for transportation can have positive, population-level health impacts. Significant deterrents to cycling remain, however, particularly for women and minorities.
Lubitow interviewed 28 Portlanders who self-identified as a woman or as a racial/ethnic minority (or both), and based on the insights gained from their stories, came up with a set of recommended interventions for planners to mitigate the barriers they experience.
"Institutionalized racism and sexism is hard to fix. These are complicated issues that involve multiple levels of interventions, but at a basic sort of smaller scale, there are things we can do," Lubitow said.
She chose participants who own a bike and ride it at least once a month, but not more than once a week. The primary aim of the project was to collect rich, narrative data regarding obstacles to routine or utilitarian cycling for women and minorities who already see biking as a viable form of transportation, but who make relatively few bike trips.
The interviews yielded a...Read more
We drive on infrastructure from the last century, never knowing when its shaking in the wind might herald a collapse, while in our hands are devices that can communicate with satellites, capture high-definition video and sense the motion of a fly. To C.J. Riley, it seemed like the one should be able to help with the other.
Riley, an associate professor of civil engineering at the Oregon Institute of Technology, is working on NITC research aimed at using low-cost, ubiquitous technology—like third-generation iPods—to evaluate the soundness of bridges and other transportation structures.
The goal of his just-published NITC education project, Dynamic Evaluation of Transportation Structures with iPod-Based Data Acquisition, was to expand Oregon Tech’s research lab while simultaneously figuring out two things: how can widely available technology be leveraged to assess structural integrity, and what is the best way to teach students this process?
To address both questions, Riley established the Structural Health and Kinetic Evaluation (SHAKE) Laboratory at Oregon Tech. While exploring options for structural assessment, Riley put some new lab tools in the hands of his graduate students: twelve third-generation iPod touch mobile devices with on-board accelerometers, Texas Instruments SensorTags, virtual visual sensors, and a...Read more
Gwen Jones, an undergraduate student at the Oregon Institute of Technology, has been awarded the 2017 Molitoris Leadership Scholarship by WTS.
Jones is at Oregon Tech pursuing a degree in civil engineering with a focus on bridges and how they affect the transportation system. Over the summer, she participated in a history of bridges class, touring more than 40 bridges throughout Oregon and attending the NITC Transportation and Communities Summit in Portland, further driving her passion for bridges and her interest in the direct impact bridges have on a burgeoning transportation system.
Jones's drive, determination and confidence helped her secure the position of Director of Health and Diversity for Rogue Community College’s Associated Student Government. However, she believes her greatest leadership commitment is being a mother to her two children. As a full-time student and mother, she is driven to succeed and obtain her degree. She will graduate in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree. In addition to taking engineering classes, Gwen has accepted a position with Adkins Consulting Engineering.
The purpose of the Molitoris Leadership Scholarship is to...Read more
Gentrification is a common, and deeply controversial, outcome of urban development.
It's usually the same story: investments in new infrastructure draw the affluent, causing market forces to displace lower-income residents. Neighborhoods become renovated, and the people who once defined the neighborhood can no longer afford to live there.
NITC researcher Gerardo Sandoval shows in his latest project that it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right level of community input, transit-oriented development has the potential to bring needed services to low-income residents while revitalizing their neighborhoods.... Read more