In 2021 we embarked on creating NITC Research Roadmaps across six core transportation areas of our work, each aimed at identifying key gaps to guide the future direction of research and workforce development initiatives. But to look forward, we had to look back first.
This summer, we'll be releasing literature reviews of a decade of NITC research, starting with Transportation and Land Use, authored by Kristina Currans of UA; Jennifer Leslie, Danya Rumore and Yehua Dennis Wei of UU; Rebecca Lewis of UO; Jenny Liu of PSU and Stephen Mattingly of UTA.
Travel behavior and land use are interconnected. In academic research, travel itself is often treated as a demand derived from the activities for which it serves. In practice, coordinating and linking transportation and land use decision making proves to be challenging. What has NITC found? Download the full literature review of NITC research in transportation and land use here, or you can download our two-page summary here.
To reach a broader audience on this critical topic, researchers are translating NITC...Read more
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted travel for in-person shopping, commute trips, global supply chains, and food business operations. E-grocery pickup and delivery services saw unprecedented expansions in response. The adoption and use of these e-grocery services have implications for equity and mobility. A PSU masters thesis offers insights: "Adoption and Use of E-Grocery Shopping in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Transport Systems and Beyond" by Gabriella Abou-Zeid, a 2021 graduate of Portland State University with a masters in civil engineering.
"While the future adoption and use of e-grocery services is uncertain as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, our analysis revealed a clear impact of the pandemic on e-grocery shopping behaviors, which has impacts for transportation network demand, safety, and equity," Abou-Zeid said.
Enhancing our understanding of the drivers of (and barriers to) online grocery shopping and its potential "stickiness"—or the extent to which e-grocery use will continue at the same or higher frequencies after the pandemic—is a prerequisite for unpacking current and future consequences of this ecommerce sector on people...Read more
Incorporating transportation into the land development process is a big undertaking, with many important angles to be considered. Researchers are translating NITC research on this theme into a popular, easy-to-understand graphic format: comics. Led by an interdisciplinary team at Portland State University and the University of Arizona, they're illustrating transportation considerations in the land development process as a comic to reach a broader audience on this critical topic.
Related: Read about the NITC Research Roadmap on Transportation and Land Use.
Still in development (the images here are early working drafts, illustrated by PSU student Joaquin Golez and Portland, OR illustrator Ryan Alexander-Tanner), the comics are based on research findings from several projects funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC). The project team is working with readers at neighborhood associations and nonprofits to test this unique approach in sharing research findings. We interviewed three of the project team members Kelly Clifton of PSU, Ryan Alexander-Tanner and Susan Kirtley of PSU to hear how it's going.
Can you share more about...Read more
Caroline Schulze is a masters of science in civil engineering (MSCE) student at Oregon Tech, with a focus in transportation and community development. Her transportation interests include pavement condition analysis techniques and asphalt concrete mix design. She completed an internship in summer 2021 with GRI Engineering in Beaverton, Oregon, where she worked extensively in geotechnical testing and pavement engineering. Caroline is the past-president of the ITE Student Chapter and is also a recent recipient of scholarships from WTS Portland, the Oregon Chapter of ITE (the Institute of Transportation Engineers), the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon (APAO), and the National Institute of Transportation and Communities (NITC).
Tell us about yourself?
I'm originally from Loveland, Colorado but I'm happy to have called Oregon home for the last four years. I'm proud to say I am a graduate student at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) studying civil engineering and expecting to graduate with a bachelors and masters degree by June 2023. Not only do I love visiting big cities and admiring the infrastructure but I'm also passionate about the outdoors! In my free time you can find me hiking the nearest mountain or canoeing down the Klamath river!
What (or who) has influenced your...Read more
NITC researchers Anne Nordberg, Jaya Davis, Stephen Mattingly, Sarah Leat and Mansi Patel of the University of Texas at Arlington have published two new journal articles related to their NITC project, Optimizing Housing and Service Locations to Provide Mobility to Meet the Mandated Obligations for Former Offenders to Improve Community Health and Safety. Read about the original study here, which focused on helping former offenders overcome transportation challenges to reintegrate into society.
The two articles, published in Mobilities and the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, disseminate the NITC study among different audiences and disciplines; highlighting the need to address transportation and complex social issues through more than one lens.
In the November 2021 issue of Mobilities, "Towards a Reentry Mobilities Assemblage: An Exploration of Transportation and Obligation Among Returning Citizens," the authors investigated the mobility needs of returning citizens from the perspective of service providers and employers in Dallas, Texas. They interviewed 17 participants who directly served returning citizens in their professional...Read more
Are e-scooters just the first sign of a shared-mobility revolution? If they are, then researchers at the University of Arizona intend to make sure that the emerging transportation system has functional models on par with other modes of transportation. In 2018, approximately 100 U.S. cities had already launched shared e-scooter programs, accounting for 38.5 million trips. However, the models to manage e-scooter sharing are only recently being developed. In a project funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and led by Dr. Jianqiang Cheng, the research team set out to develop data-driven, decision-making models for shared-mobility system design and operation in Tucson, Arizona.
"The decision making process for e-scooter companies is complex. One of the first questions is where to locate the scooters – In the transportation network, where do e-scooters need to be placed to meet demand? The second question is how to distribute them. It gets more complicated when you introduce different electric charging methods, so that some scooters are being collected by paid contractors and others are being charged by customers, through incentives," Cheng said.
As the researchers see it, the main benefits of shared mobility are threefold:
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.
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:
- challenges are wide-ranging, exacerbated by transportation issues;
- transportation linked to court-ordered services success; and
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.
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...Read more
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...Read more