Last month, Portland State University announced the 2021 awards for faculty and staff excellence for research, graduate mentoring and research administration. The awards are among the university's highest honors. The 2021 Presidential Career Research Award recipient is Jennifer Dill. Dill is a professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Director of the Transportation Research & Education Center at PSU, and Director of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, a national university transportation center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

TREC Communications Director Cait McCusker interviewed Dr. Dill last week to learn more about the origin and trajectory of her career in transportation research at PSU.

What led you to choose transportation research as your career?

Growing up in the 1970’s, I was surrounded by environmental issues. It was the time of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the EPA, Earth Day, pollution, the oil crisis...all of that shaping my view on the world. When I went to undergraduate at UC Davis I knew I wanted to do something related to environmental policy and cities. Cities held a certain fascination for me, and in college I started...

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With the extension of the FAST Act, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) will be receiving one additional year of funding. NITC's Executive Committee has developed four new funding opportunities that build on the excellent work NITC researchers have accomplished and increase the impact we are having nationally on improving mobility to build stronger communities. With this funding, we aim to increase our efforts in integrating racial equity into transportation education and research. Given that our grant will be ending, these opportunities all emphasize projects that are relatively short in length, rely on existing expertise, and will have specific outputs and outcomes– rather than projects that would be the start of longer-term, multi-phase efforts.

We encourage faculty and researchers to review all of the opportunities available and decide which to pursue. Review the new NITC grant funding opportunities here.

We will host two webinars on May 17 and 25 (11 am to 12 pm PST) to discuss all of the opportunities and answer questions. Recordings will be available afterwards.

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Clare Haley is a Masters of Community and Regional Planning student at the University of Oregon and a 2020 NITC scholar, currently working as a transportation planner for Bohannan Huston Inc. in Albuquerque. She serves as co-present of UO's transportation student group, LiveMove, and is currently researching active transportation street interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Marc Schlossberg and Dr. Rebecca Lewis. Her terminal project researches how e-bikes can address the gender gap in cycling. Clare is also the 2021 winner of UO's Sustainability Award for Student Leadership by a graduate student.

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Tell us about yourself?

I'm originally from Idaho and grew up hiking and camping in the Sawtooth mountains and Teton National Park, and my family instilled in me a strong love of the outdoors. I completed my undergraduate degree in International Studies at the University of Idaho (Go Vandals!). I met my wife shortly after graduation, and we have had the opportunity to travel to Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, and England together....

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"(Overlooked) Association between Express Bus Station/Stop Proximity and Multifamily Rents with a Surprise about Transit Mode Synergism and Implications for Transit and Land Use Planning" is an April 2021 article in Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, authored by Arthur C. Nelson and Robert Hibberd of the University of Arizona. 

The article (PDF of pre-publication version here) is an offshoot of the researchers' NITC-funded project, Transit Impacts on Jobs, People and Real Estate, which we reported on last month. There are two key findings:

  • Express bus stops have positive influences on multifamily rents up to a mile away, and
  • Shared express bus and light rail transit stops have synergistic, additive effects on multifamily rents up to one mile around them.

The research is the first of its kind and should open new avenues of transit planning and land use policy. Future economic returns to local economies and local government resources may be maximized by increasing development opportunities near...

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Congratulations to Avinash Unnikrishnan of Portland State University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for his 2021 promotion from associate professor to full professor!

Avi is a David Wedge Vision Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State University. Dr. Unnikrishnan's research focuses on enhancing system efficiency and resiliency via the development of novel mathematical models based on the application of large-scale optimization, machine learning, data mining, and simulation tools. His work's primary innovation is in the representation of network uncertainty, robustness, user behavior, and complex system interaction in civil infrastructure networks. Dr. Unnikrishnan is the chair of the Transit, Freight, and Logistics Subcommittee (AEP40(1)) of the Transportation Network Modeling Committee of the Transportation Research Board. He is also a member of the Freight and Logistics Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Website | LinkedInPSU Profile | Researcher Profile

With funding from ...

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Ride hailing services (such as Lyft and Uber) are frequently pointed to as a means of filling mobility gaps in a transportation system, especially in areas that are not well-served by transit. How might nonprofit organizations address the mobility needs of their clients through ride hailing (also known as Transportation Network Companies, or TNCs)? Many people who use nonprofit services (e.g. food assistance, social services, health care or educational support) also experience transportation challenges in reaching that service. This is an under-examined area in our new mobility landscape. The latest report funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), The Impact of Ride Hail Services on the Accessibility of Nonprofit Services, found that TNC use by nonprofits is uneven, and while useful and addressing a need, there are significant costs in price and capacity that make Uber and Lyft impractical. 

Led by Dyana Mason of the University of Oregon (UO), the report shares qualitative interviews with nonprofit service providers and clients discussing TNCs, as well as policy recommendations. She will be sharing this work in an ...

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Students from the University of Arizona’s Master of Science in Urban Planning program have been recognized by the American Planning Association Arizona chapter for their work with the City of Tucson on planning and policy responses to displacement and gentrification. The project and final report, Tucson Displacement Study: A Planning Study of Tucson in Neighborhoods and Displacement, were recognized as the best graduate student planning project of 2020. 

Read the full story in UA's College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture news.

See the full, original article "PSU Announces Recipients of Prestigious University Research and Mentoring Awards", authored by Shaun McGillis, Research and Graduate Studies, PSU. Below is an excerpt:

Portland State University announces the 2021 awards for excellence for research, graduate mentoring and research administration. The awards are among the university's highest honors. They recognize and incentivize PSU faculty and staff excellence in research, scholarship, artistry and dedication to PSU students.

Recipients of the awards are some of the most dynamic faculty and staff members at PSU. Colleagues submit nominations; a jury of peers selects awardees based on the significance and quality of their research or creative achievements and extraordinary commitment to creating an environment supportive of research and student success. Join us as we celebrate this year’s awardees at the Research Awards Ceremony (online Friday, 3:30 - 5 PM Pacific) during...

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"Transit Economic Equity Index: Developing a Comprehensive Measure of Transit Service Equity" is a January 2021 article in Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board by Torrey Lyons and Dong-ah Choi of the University of Utah.

As graduate researchers in the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, Lyons and Choi worked to develop a quantitative way to assess transit service equity. The work is based in part on Lyons' NITC-funded doctoral research project, Social Equity in Transit: Toward social and environmental justice in transportation.

Transit service is supported by local governments, with aid from larger bodies, to provide a more diverse transportation network that serves as many needs of the public as possible. Yet in many places, the people most in need of access—for example, people experiencing poverty and unemployment—are underserved by transit systems. Transit providers need more information to better serve disadvantaged riders.

To this end, the index is constructed in a way that balances a robust and meaningful measure of transit equity that is decipherable by practitioners so that they can assess the equity of their systems as well as how potential service changes affect equity. It measures the convenience of travel for work trips for advantaged and disadvantaged...

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The latest report funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities – Transit Impacts on Jobs, People and Real Estate, from the University of Arizona – represents the culmination of nearly a decade of research into the economic effects of transit. To unpack the dense and substantial findings from 17 LRT, 14 BRT, 9 SCT, and 12 CRT systems in 35 metro areas across the United States, we're telling the story in chapters starting with: how transit stations impact the location of jobs.

Arthur C. Nelson and fellow researchers Robert Hibberd, Kristina Currans and Nicole Iroz-Elardo of UA have completed the final phase of research into the development outcomes of light rail, bus rapid transit, streetcar, and commuter rail. The findings shed light on the complex interactions between transit station location and design, real estate rents, and where people live and work (watch the recent March 2021 webinar). It also offers ideas for consideration of how to improve these outcomes through better transit design and investment. The final report is presented in five volumes,...

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