Image of a street with cars

The National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research consortium, led by Portland State University, has awarded $926,000 in total funding for eleven research projects spanning five universities.

The General Research grant is NITC's flagship grant. Annually, we fund general research through a competitive, peer-reviewed RFP process for projects ($30,000 - $150,000) consistent with our theme of improving the mobility of people and goods to build strong communities.

Four of these new projects involve multi-university collaboration, and seven are advancing the transportation knowledge base by building upon an existing body of research. The new group of projects will help lead the deployment of innovative new technologies and practices to improve the safety and performance of transportation systems:

Led by Liming Wang of Portland State University with co-investigator Yao-Jan Wu of the University of Arizona
This multi-university collaboration expands upon previous research by Liming Wang, Incorporate Emerging...
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Students in reflective jackets with clipboards standing near a sidewalk
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Dill, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the Curriculum Module and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

We’ve got a new curriculum guidebook for undergraduate and graduate students in transportation: a comprehensive set of class exercises to learn pedestrian observation and data collection strategies.

Addressing the challenges of an evolving transportation industry means embracing the study of non-motorized travel and preparing the new workforce for it. Funded by our university research consortium National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), this guidebook was designed to enable instructors with little or no experience to integrate pedestrian-related curriculum into their teaching. While accessibility is a key feature, the guidebook combines both new and existing resources into one comprehensive set of learning modules for more experienced instructors. 

These pedestrian observation strategies not only benefit university faculty and their students, but they can also serve local agencies. Jurisdictions are often...

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Mt. Mazama ash being poured into a yellow bucket
Principal Investigator: Matthew Sleep, Oregon Institute of Technology
Learn more about this research by viewing the Executive Summary and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

The latest Small Starts study from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) offers sustainable road building materials for rural infrastructure, from an unlikely source.

Approximately 7,000 years ago, the eruption of Oregon's Mt. Mazama blanketed the Klamath Basin region with a thick layer of volcanic ash. Matthew Sleep, an associate professor of civil engineering at Oregon Tech, investigated the use of this ash as a natural pozzolan for soil stabilization and unpaved roadway improvement. He found that the ash, prevalent in Southern Oregon, has the potential to be used for gravel roadway dust abatement. 

Portland cement, the current industry standard, is a basic ingredient in concrete and mortar. A caustic material that causes chemical burns, it was first developed in the 19th century. It’s time for a new approach.

A sustainability analysis concluded that replacing...

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Kelly Clifton and student - presenting research at TRB Annual Meeting
Principal Investigator: Kelly Clifton, Portland State University
Research spans multiple studies and years of work.
This content was originally published in the June 2018 edition of the  U.S. DOT UTC Spotlight series (PDF).

University Transportation Center (UTC) Spotlight

In recent decades, cities have become increasingly motivated to invest in infrastructure that supports multimodal options like walking, biking and public transit. Trip generation, the first step in conventional four-step forecasting models, is a central figure in determining how those investments are made.

However, when considering pedestrian and bicycling travel, the current practice is usually to either leave those trips out of the model altogether, or to simply present them as a mode choice option that is not analyzed further. In short, they’re car-centric.

Without reliable trip generation rates for anyone but drivers, an accurate transportation impact is difficult to predict. Certain land uses will draw far more walkers, cyclists and transit riders than drivers. Cities lack enough information to strategically plan for multimodal...

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Cyclists riding toward a green bike signal
Principal Investigator: Sirisha Kothuri, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the Executive Summaries, related presentations, and the full Final Report on each Project Overview page.

Sirisha Kothuri, a Portland State University research associate, has recently completed two distinct studies taking different approaches to advancing bicycle safety. Kothuri will lead a Sept. 13 workshop on Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Signal Timing Strategies along with Peter Koonce, the division manager of Signals & Street Lighting for the City of Portland. The half-day workshop will be part of Transportation and Communities 2018, a two-day intensive training event for transportation professionals.

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Stephanie Nappa

Stephanie Nappa, University of Oregon

LiveMove Student Group | LinkedIn


We're shining our student spotlight this month on Stephanie Nappa, president of the University of Oregon student group LiveMove. On May 24, LiveMove will host a speaker series event with Oboi Reed, the Executive Director of Equiticity, to discuss equity in biking.

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a former engineer and chemist who began studying planning once I learned there was a career that would allow me to talk endlessly about transportation systems without simply receiving polite nods. Currently, I’m about to finish my Master of Community and Regional Planning degree from the University of Oregon, where I’ve focused my studies on active transportation. This past summer I had the opportunity to take a study abroad course on bicycle transportation in Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands, which was an incredible...

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Transit Data
Principal Investigator: Sean Barbeau, University of South Florida
Learn more about this research by viewing the Executive Summary, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page. Hear firsthand from the principal investigator by tuning in for a webinar on August 9, 2018 (recording made available).

Every day transit riders ask the same question: when’s the next one coming? To answer this question, transit agencies are transitioning to providing real-time transit information through smartphones or displayed at transit stops.

Real-time transit information improves the reliability and efficiency of passenger travel, through:

  • shorter perceived and actual wait times,
  • an increased feeling of safety,
  • increased ridership, and
  • a lower learning curve for new riders, since they don't have to know the route maps or...
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Principal Investigator: Rebecca Lewis, University of Oregon
Learn more about this research by viewing the Executive Summary, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page. Tune in Friday, May 4 to hear from the lead researcher at the Portland State University Friday Transportation Seminar (recording made available online).

livability

noun  liv·abil·i·ty  \ ˌli-və-ˈbi-lə-tē \

"Livability" is a broadly used term encompassing all the factors that add up to a community’s quality of life. It’s a key goal in many land use and transportation plans, but it's not always clear how to reach that goal. What makes people feel that their neighborhoods are livable? 

Researchers Rebecca Lewis and Robert Parker of the University of Oregon surveyed over three thousand...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is proud to announce our two Spring 2018 Dissertation Fellows. Hear from the fellows about their projects below, or learn how to apply for funding through the NITC Dissertation Fellowship Grant hereProposals for Summer 2018 Dissertation Fellowships are due June 1, 2018.


Vivian Miller, University of Texas at Arlington

In November 2018, Vivian Miller published Investigating Barriers to Family Visitation of Nursing Home Residents: A Systematic Review, a paper based on her NITC-funded dissertation, in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.

Vivian Miller is a third-year doctoral candidate in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her primary research interests are in...

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Principal Investigators: John MacArthur, Portland State University; and Christopher Cherry, University of Tennessee
Learn more about this education project by viewing the Executive Summary and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

If more drivers switched seats to a bicycle, there would be immediate and tangible benefits on the road. Widespread adoption of bike commuting could improve public health through increased physical activity and reduced carbon emissions, as well as ease the burden on congested roads. However different lifestyle demands, physical ableness, and varied topography create an unequal playing field that prevents many from replacing their car trips.

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) are a relatively new mode of transportation that could bridge this gap. If substituted for car use, e-bikes could substantially improve efficiency in the transportation system while creating a more inclusive biking culture for people of all ages and abilities.

A newly published NITC study by John MacArthur of...

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