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
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...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
A new NITC report examines factors that predict whether a driver will comply with Oregon laws aimed at keeping pedestrians safe.
Miguel Figliozzi of Portland State University, director of the Transportation, Technology & People (TTP) research lab, has done extensive work in Portland, Oregon modeling and analyzing the complex interactions between cars, transit, traffic signal technologies and human roadway users.
The research seeks to provide a better understanding of the tradeoffs between traffic mobility, transit performance and pedestrian access.
The first phase of Figliozzi’s research focused on how two advanced traffic control technologies work together. In this second phase, he zeroes in on pedestrian safety.
The report examines traffic and trajectory factors that explain whether a driver complies with Oregon law, which has strong pedestrian protections. In Oregon, drivers must stop for pedestrians as soon as they move onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed.
Oregon state law determines that there is a crosswalk at every intersection with or without a marked crosswalk. The state also requires that a driver, before crossing a crosswalk, stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until the pedestrians...Read more
The Federal Highway Administration issued an interim approval for bike signals, based on the NITC project "Operational Guidance for Bicycle-Specific Traffic Signals." The project, selected in 2015 as one of AASHTO's "Sweet Sixteen" high-value research projects, has been widely cited and the research is instrumental in beginning to standardize the use and design of bicycle signals.
This video provides a look at what that means for jurisdictions in the United States:
A new NITC report examines metropolitan centers: high-density developments in metropolitan regions.
Mixed-use transit-oriented developments are one example of a metropolitan center, but high-density developments in suburban areas without transit also fit the definition.
Across the country, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are steering cities toward this type of development for a variety of reasons.
Many of them are facing the same constraints: poor air quality and increased congestion without an increase in dollars to solve it. One response to the problem involves getting a better handle on land use.
NITC researchers Richard Margerum and Rebecca Lewis of the University of Oregon and Keith Bartholomew of the University of Utah evaluated the planning process surrounding metropolitan centers in two case study regions, Denver and Salt Lake City.
“A lot of regions are paying attention to regional growth patterns. How do you do this at a regional scale when you don’t have the authority? What planners and MPOs are really facing is the question of how to support the adoption of these kinds of concepts,” Margerum said.
The goal of the study was to examine...Read more
Vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, is a standard indicator of how many vehicles use a roadway system. A similar metric for bicycles and pedestrians is needed in order to achieve livability goals. Such data can inform decision-making, facility design and planning, and safety analysis.
A NITC report from Portland State University evaluates three methods of calculating bicycle miles traveled (BMT) and pedestrian miles traveled (PMT) by applying them to Washington State.
The Washington State Pedestrian and Bicycle Miles Traveled Project was led by Krista Nordback, a former TREC research associate who is now a senior research associate at the University of North Carolina's Highway Safety Research Center.
The researchers used data from permanent counters when available; otherwise they used short-duration counts to extrapolate average annual daily bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
When the project began in 2012, only one permanent count site existed in Washington, and it only counted bicycles. Nordback’s team contacted state officials to advise that more counters would be helpful; the state listened and installed more counters. Now there are more than a dozen permanent bicycle and pedestrian counters scattered throughout Washington.
Nordback’s team investigated a survey-based method, a sample-based method, and an aggregate demand model...Read more
TREC’s NITC program has made $500,000 available for grants to eligible researchers through its 2017 general research request for proposals. The RFP is the first since the NITC program expanded to include the University of Arizona and University of Texas at Arlington.
All proposals must contribute to the NITC theme, improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities, and focus on transportation. They must also show strong potential to move transportation research into practice, inform other researchers, shape national and international conversations on transportation research, and respond to the needs of practitioners and policymakers.
Projects are capped at $100,000, and we encourage PIs to propose smaller projects. Priority is given to projects that are collaborative, multi-disciplinary, multi-campus and support the development of untenured tenure-track transportation faculty.
- Abstracts due: April 14, 2017
- Proposal due: May 15, 2017
- Peer reviews: June 2017
- Project Selection, Awards, and Task Orders: July-August 2017
- Projects begin: Sept 2017
Only eligible faculty members and research faculty from Portland State University, University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Utah, University of...Read more
A new NITC report from the University of South Florida makes it easier than ever for cities to collect useful bike data.
Cities like Portland, Oregon, Atlanta and San Francisco have started using smartphone apps to learn how people are using their bicycle infrastructure. The data can help planners decide what designs or upgrades are needed for the bicycle network.
The NITC project Rapidly Expanding Mobile Apps for Crowd-sourcing Bike Data to New Cities takes this idea a step further by creating a proof-of-concept multi-region architecture that would allow cities to share the same set of mobile apps, rather than each city launching its own.
This would significantly reduce the cost of deploying the apps.
Sean Barbeau of USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) led the team in developing the open-source software that allows existing apps to communicate with regional servers.
With it, rather than each city having to modify and deploy their own iOS or Android app, all that a city would need to do is set up a server specific to their geographic area.
A NITC education project offers a new curriculum in multimodal transportation planning for graduate courses.
The development of this curriculum, along with a freshly minted course in multimodal transportation, allowed the University of South Florida (USF) to begin offering a graduate certificate in sustainable transportation for the first time in the spring of 2016.
The certificate program is multi-disciplinary and draws students from various fields including planning, engineering and public administration.
These educational efforts are designed to meet the needs of a growing field. Multimodal planning—planning for walking, cycling and transit in addition to auto travel—is becoming increasingly prioritized as communities across the U.S. redefine their planning practices.
As with any fast-developing discipline, the state of the practice sometimes outpaces existing courses and training materials.
Led by Kristine Williams, the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) developed a set of training modules that can be used in university settings and also to help planners in the field stay on top of the latest developments.
“There are pieces of multimodal planning in different courses, but the state of the practice has really changed a lot. We wanted to...Read more