Posted by Mark Nystrom, Oregon Fellow working for the Association of Oregon Counties

Over the past few weeks I have been gathering information about how communities outside the I-5 corridor feel about the electrification of transportation.  This task has led me on trips with Sarah to Coos County, Tillamook County and most recently Harney County. 

When I was first given this task I was uncertain how rural Oregon would respond to the idea of electrification.  After all, everyone knows that people away from the I-5 live on ranches and drive hundreds of miles a day.  Or that seems to be the prevailing thought.  According to an ODOT study, rural Oregonians actually spend about the same amount of time in their cars as their counterparts in Portland.  In fact, most people live in towns and make the same standard trips in their cars as people in Eugene, Salem or Portland: they drive their kids to school and practice, they go to work, they go grocery shopping.  In other words, the majority of people living outside the I-5 corridor could replace their gas fueled car with a PEV.  Even the residents of these communities seemed surprised at how little they actually use their car.

That’s what has made these trips so interesting.  Once people starting thinking about it, they get pretty excited.  The people on the coast are excited about the prospect of attracting tourists from the I-5 communities to their towns by setting up charging stations.  They recognize...

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I've been thinking a lot about electric vehicles and have spent most of the summer talking to people about cars.  Over drinks at the brew-pup, at dinner parties, and cold calling folks in car related industries--- I've noodled a lot of opinions and perspective out of friends and strangers.  One thing that has come up consistently in these conversations is the cost of electric vehicles, followed by all the range and charging questions.  The cost issue is a nagging one in the back of my mind.  Yes, the cars cost money.  Yes, the cars cost quite a bit of money.  But wouldn't the sticker price be eventually smoothed out over the life of the vehicle? After all, you wouldn't be paying for much gasoline with most of the new EVs coming out, and in the case of the Leaf, you would only pay for electricity.  I've wondered about this all summer, so I finally started hunting through all my resources and I found a few car cost calculators online.  There are several out there.  Each make a different set of assumptions and none are perfect, but they do look at the life cycle costs of vehicle ownership, an essential thing to consider when making a decision about any type of car.   

The best one is the Project Get Ready Calculator by the Rocky Mountain Institute.  It allows you to select your state and inputs your current energy and gas prices.  It also allows you to choose from around 50...

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The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium held the West’s first listening session Wednesday under the Sustainable Communities Partnership, the effort to get federal agencies working together on green transportation and housing projects. Regional administrators from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency met with local, regional and state leaders for open-ended discussions on building sustainable communities.

More than 150 people attended the daylong Oregon Community Dialogue at Willamette University  in Salem, organized by OTREC and facilitated by the National Policy Consensus Center. In one-on-one interviews, participants brainstormed the barriers to sustainable communities, the existing opportunities to work together and actions they could take to take to make their own communities more sustainable. They also discussed what they could accomplish if agencies did a better job of working together to pay for projects.

The discussions produced the following insights:

  • Barriers to sustainable communities include a lack of shared vision on results, a lack of integration and coordination, a lack of marketplace incentives and confusion over how to achieve the goals.
  • Federal agencies working better together would create opportunities for collaboration at all levels of government, give flexibility to use resources in new ways, allow for a better...
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The Regional and Division Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation are working with the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) to convene a one-day, statewide, community dialogue to discuss their joint Partnership for Sustainable Communities today (June 30, 2010) at Willamette University.

Attendees represent a balanced representation of subject (transportation, housing, environment), geography (statewide, regional, local), and sector (public, private, academic, NGO).

The purpose of the event is to “increase awareness and understanding of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities; to receive input from state, regional, and local participants about opportunities and needs to inform our efforts; and, to catalyze an enhanced level of participation throughout Oregon.” The meeting will include presentations by the Administrators and workshop discussions facilitated by the National Policy Consensus Center.

We are pleased to announce our proposal funding decisions for 2010-2011. OTREC received a total of 44 proposals with a request of $4,463,880 for consideration. On June 15th, 22 proposals were selected for funding by the OTREC Executive Committee. We are particularly excited about supporting three initiatives (the Sustainable Cities Initiative, the Oregon Modeling Collaborative, and the Transportation Electrification Initiative) that will help build research and education capacity across our partner institutions that will further our focus on transportation livability and sustainability. You can view the complete list of projects here: http://www.otrec.us/main/projects.php?year=2011

The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) at Portland State University is seeking a Student Assistant. This position supports the OTREC staff, and will be involved in a variety of tasks to ensure seamless daily functions at Portland State University. OTREC is a collaborative, multimodal, multidisciplinary, multicampus transportation center focusing on research, education, and technology transfer. Pay rate: $12.50 Hours per week: ~15 hours as soon as possible Contact: Send your resume to Hau Hagedorn (hagedorn@pdx.edu) Responsibilities include:

  • Provide first point of contact for general inquiries and handling general correspondence.
  • Printing, copying, faxing, and scanning.
  • Sort and file documentation in an established system.
  • Assist with coordinating, scheduling and organizing receptions, workshops, outreach, promotional events and conferences including catering and travel arrangements.
  • Enter data and maintain central OTREC contacts database.
  • Keep office well organized and free of clutter including maintain inventory of equipment, ordering office supplies and make sure equipment is in good working order.
  • Format Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents, flyers, presentations, etc.
  • Distribute newsletters, annual reports, and other materials.
  • Help with project file system; need hard copy files for each project....
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Streetcar_people_alphabet National Geographic recently described Portland as the City that “…gets almost everything right; it’s friendly, sustainable, accessible, and maybe a model for America’s future” (Cover story, Dec. 2009). Portland has a shared vision of a livable city, articulated in many different ways. It is seen in neighborhood self-help projects, big municipal investments, enlightened developers that build infill projects consistent with city plans, and the highest recycling participation rate in the country.  Taken together Portland is a city that is environmentally responsible, and conscious of both street level and of global impact of doing things right.

 


Early History

Arguably, Portland’s first act of ‘building green’ was in 1892, when it built a reservoir network to protect and preserve the sole source of its drinking water, the pristine . Today, this 102-square mile conservation zone provides ample fresh water to a region of half million people

Fast forward almost 100 years and the same ethic motivated Portlanders to reject a Robert Moses-style highway plan...

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Portland State University students Nikki Wheeler, Lindsay Walker, Peter Pelzer and Josh Steiner won the Rudin Center/APA graduate student award in transportation planning. The award recognizes student projects with a substantial transportation planning and design component that demonstrate an understanding of planning principals and a spirit of innovation.

The winning project designed two bicycle boulevards in northwest Portland as part of a graduate-level bicycle and pedestrian design studio at PSU.

An approximately 1-mile segment of Northwest 24th Avenue and an approximately 2/3-mile segment of Northwest Flanders Street were selected as the project routes. Although identified as bicycle boulevards in the City’s Bicycle Master Plan, these routes were largely unimproved for bicycle travel and failed to function as bicycle boulevards.

The Rudin Center has more.

DSC_0022 In the last of the livability seminar series, OTREC's visiting scholars program welcomed Shawn Turner from the Texas Transportation Institute. Shawn's research spans the gamut of intelligent transportation systems data to bicycle and pedestrian issues.  Most recently, Shawn participated in the International Scan on Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility.  His presentation compared his experiences on the scan in Europe to those in China.  During his presentation, he posed three challenges to Oregon:

  • How does active transportation contribute to economic development?
  • What is the tipping point for behavior and behavioral change?
  • Can vanity play a role in social acceptance?

His presentation was followed by a discussion with local agencies, faculty, students and partners along with a 10-mile tour of innovative bike infrastructure in Portland.  Thank goodness...

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