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.

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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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Jai Daniels is a first-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) student at Portland State University, currently working with PSU's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) as a Graduate Research Assistant under faculty advisor John MacArthur. She is interested in urban livability, bicycle and pedestrian planning, transit planning, and the intersection between urban planning and the environment.

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Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in a small town in North Carolina, often referred to as 'Mayberry.' Living near the Blue Ridge Parkway and not having much to do, apart from spending time outside, largely influenced both my passion for environmental conservation and my desire to travel. This in turn influenced what I chose to study. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019 with a degree in environmental studies and minor in city and regional planning. Now, I live in Portland and am in my first year of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at Portland State University. Outside of school, I enjoy listening to podcasts, watching movies, taking film pictures, and hiking.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

As an undergraduate student, I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, which sparked my...

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Led by Xiaoyue Cathy Liu of the University of Utah (UU) and funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, researchers have created a web-based modeling tool (see GitHub repository built for the Utah Transit Authority) that enables U.S. transit providers to explore the impacts of changing over their systems to electric buses*. The researchers ran the model for TriMet in Portland, OR as well, with TriMet results and analysis presented in the final report (PDF).

"The interactive visualization platform lets users explore various electric bus deployment budget scenarios, so that transit agencies can plan the most cost-effective way to transition their fleet from diesel to electric buses – while prioritizing disadvantaged populations," Liu said.

The research team, at University of Utah, Portland State University (PSU), and University of California, Riverside, set out to answer three questions: 

  1. What costs and benefits are associated...
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Rethinking Streets for Physical Distancing, the third in our "Rethinking Streets" book series, has been released. The book offers 25 case studies from a broad swath of U.S. cities with a handful of international examples of streets that were redesigned to better accommodate people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rethinking Streets is a design guidebook series produced by NITC researchers at the University of Oregon, led by Marc Schlossberg. The three books are:

These full-color design guides have proven popular with planners and...

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Natasha Karan is a civil engineering graduate student. She received her B.S. in civil engineering from Oregon Institute of Technology in 2020. During her time at OIT, she has been involved in student clubs such as ASCE, ITE, and Tau Beta Pi. Currently she is pursuing her M.S. at Oregon Tech, working on a post-evaluation of implementing protected bicycle lanes. Natasha is interested in learning about the effects caused by the implementation of safe, inclusive active transportation infrastructure in a community.

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Tell us about yourself?

I'm from Coos Bay, OR and I am attending Oregon Tech in Klamath Falls, OR in order to earn my bachelors and master's degree in civil engineering. Currently, I am on track to earn my masters degrees in 2021. Throughout my college years, I've gained a significant interest in the transportation field, especially through the classes that I have taken and the events that I have attended through the Institute of Transportation Engineers club.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

My career path in transportation was influenced by learning about and experiencing the state of the United States' current transportation system. The United States is one of the leading nations in the world however it lacks initiative in the transportation area, especially regarding public transportation....

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