The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) is teaming up with Alta Planning + Design to offer a firsthand, on-the-ground training opportunity at the end of October.

They will teach a trail design course at Portland State University, with field tours of some of Portland's biggest trail challenges and best solutions.

Course instructors are Alta associates Robin Wilcox, George Hudson, and Karen Vitkay. They will share their experience and provide examples from some of the best trails around the country.

Multi-use trails, not accessible by car but meant to be shared by pedestrians, cyclists and the occasional leashed dog, are pleasant routes by almost anyone’s standards. Often winding through wooded areas or along waterways, insulated from the noise of traffic and offering contact with nature, they present an attractive alternative to cyclists who are not as comfortable riding on busy streets.

While any segment of trail can offer a pleasant stroll, the true beauty of shared-use trails lies in being able to use them: as an alternate, off-street means of travel, a route to school or a way to get to work in the morning. A widespread switch from driving on streets to...

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In 2009, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the Copenhagen Wheel, a device that converts an ordinary bicycle into a hybrid e-bike.

An e-bike is considered a motorized bicycle under Massachusetts law. This means that once the 13-pound, 26-inch Copenhagen Wheel is attached to the rear wheel of a bicycle, the resulting vehicle requires a driver’s license to operate, must be registered with the DMV, and its rider must wear, not just a bike helmet, but a motorcycle helmet to be in compliance with the law.

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are well established in China and other Asian and European countries but market adoption has been slow in the United States.

Part of the reason could be that the law is often nebulous where e-bikes are concerned.

NITC researchers at Portland State University conducted a policy review revealing the current state of legislation regarding e-bikes in the United States and Canada.

The report, Regulations of E-Bikes in North America, provides a summary of legal definitions and requirements surrounding the use of electric-assist bicycles in each of the 50 states, Washington D.C. and 13 Canadian provinces.

No two jurisdictions are exactly alike in their legal treatment of this relatively new mode...

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OTREC researchers Krista Nordback and Sirisha Kothuri will present research at the North American Travel Monitoring Exposition and Conference (NATMEC) from June 29 to July 2, 2014.

The conference, organized by the Transportation Research Board, provides an opportunity for traffic monitoring professionals to share information about collecting and using traffic data.

Nordback will talk about what professionals can do to maintain bicycle count programs at the state level. She will give a presentation on the feasibility of using existing traffic signals to collect bicycle counts, and on what to do with that data once it is gathered.

Kothuri will present strategies for counting pedestrians using existing resources such as signal controllers and software already installed at intersections.

Nordback and Kothuri will draw from their own research as well as from the work of Miguel Figliozzi, Chris Monsere, Pam Johnson and...

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A research study released Monday by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program offers the most comprehensive evaluation of protected bicycle lanes to date. The study, “Lessons from the Green Lanes: Evaluating Protected Bike Lanes in the U.S.,” examines recently installed protected bike lanes in five of the six founding PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project cities and provides the scientific basis for decisions that could improve bicycling in cities across the United States.

Protected bike lanes, sometimes called cycle tracks, are on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts to help organize the street and make riding a bike appealing for people of all ages and abilities. Because protected bike lanes are relatively new to the U.S., little academic research has existed to help leaders evaluate the risks and rewards of the investment in putting the facilities on the ground.

This study provides definitive evidence that people feel safe riding in protected lanes and that people traveling by car or foot also support building more protected lanes to separate bicycles and automobiles. It also provides insight on the...

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A team of students from Portland State University took second place this week in the Cornell Cup USA, with a traffic hazard predictor called SAFE.
SAFE, or Situational Awareness Fault?Finder Extension, is an intelligent device that could be used with bicycles, motorcycles, or automobiles, though it was created with the safety of two-wheeled travelers in mind.
The device is designed to enhance a vehicle operator's situational awareness. It tracks the movement of vehicles behind the user, monitoring their position, velocity, and acceleration.
 
Click here to see the SAFE team's poster.
The SAFE creators considered giving the user an overhead representation of the surrounding traffic, with color-coded alerts to signify approaching danger, but felt that that might be too distracting. Citing research that showed that people react more quickly to audio than visual cues, they decided to give the user feedback through stereo audio. 
The device sends a periodic beep to alert the user of impending accidents from the rear. It modulates the stereo, tempo, and amplitude to indicate...
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OTREC researcher Miguel Figliozzi details some of the work on an Oregon Department of Transportation project, "Design and Implementation of Pedestrian and Bicycle Specific Data Collection Methods in Oregon," in this video produced by the Federal Highway Administration.

The project reviewed collection methods such as tube counters and loop detectors for accuracy and looked at using count numbers to deterimine average annual pedestrian and bicycle traffic at intersections.

Figliozzi was lead researcher on the project, with Christopher Monsere. Both are associate professors of civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University.

OTREC's Krista Nordback was also involved in the project, as were graduate students Pamela Johnson and Bryan Blanc. More information on the project is at:

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP_RES/pages/activeprojects.aspx#SPR_754

Krista Nordback, an OTREC staff researcher, won the Outstanding Paper award from the Transportation Research Board's Bicycle Transportation Committee. The award honors Nordback's paper, "Measuring Traffic Reduction from Bicycle Commuting," which was also featured here:

http://otrec.us/news/entry/does_driving_drop_when_cycling_spikes

The paper marked the first research to document a statistically significant drop in motor vehicle traffic during a bike-to-work event. The paper is available to download here or through the link above.

The award is given to the best paper submitted to the Committee on Bicycle Transportation for the 2014 TRB annual meeting, held Jan. 12-16 in Washington, D.C. The committee reviewed 85 papers, using anonymous peer reviewers and committee members.

More information on OTREC's presence at the TRB annual meeting is at:

http://otrec.us/news/otrec_at_trb

Information on the Committee on Bicycle Transportation is at:

http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/trbbike/

The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation has unveiled the most ambitious year of professional development offerings in its history.

For the first time, the schedule includes Webinars, with the first taking place Feb. 27. Offerings also include courses and workshops geared toward practitioners and university faculty members. There’s also a two-week study abroad opportunity to learn about sustainable transportation in the Netherlands.

The course offerings include a newly added advanced bicycle design and engineering workshop. The workshop is geared toward professionals who have taken the original IBPI course or who serve communities with a developed bicycle network.

“More than 120 professionals have taken the course since 2008,” said Hau Hagedorn, who manages the IBPI program. “We’ve reached the threshold of educating professionals where there’s the need to take this to the next level of expertise.”

Continuing education credits are available for each workshop and Webinar. Click here for details on the individual course pages.

Registration is now open for IBPI’s inaugural Webinar on Feb. 27: “We are Traffic: Creating Robust Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Programs.” As agencies looking to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure have learned, it doesn’t count if it’s not counted....

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Note: In advance of the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting, the biggest forum on the transportation research calendar, OTREC.us is profiling some of the researchers who will present their work.

The bicycle counts suggested that, on Bike to Work Day, more people did bike to work. But did fewer people drive?

OTREC staff researcher Krista Nordback took up the issue and will present her findings Monday, Jan. 13 at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The bike count data from sites across Boulder, Colo., certainly impressed Nordback.  “Bike to Work Day has this huge spike,” she said. “The bike counts double at a lot of the count sites.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if we could see something similar with the motor vehicle count data?”

In a twist that might only happen in Boulder, with its ample bike counters, Nordback had a harder time tracking down the motor vehicle counts. She lucked out, finding that the city’s red-light cameras had been counting cars alongside their primary job of catching red-light runners.

Those motor vehicle counts showed a consistent drop on Bike-to-Work days compared with average workdays in June and July. It was a small drop, but even finding that was unprecedented: no studies had documented a statistically significant drop in motor vehicle counts during any bike-to-work event.

...

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Recently OTREC took a look at suburbia to see how many people were walking and biking to local destinations.
Traditionally, studies of suburban locations have found that due to the low density of suburban areas and their single-land-use patterns, active transportation is rare.
In a research project by Principal Investigator Nico Larco and Co-Investigator Robert Parker, of the University of Oregon, active transportation was found to be more common than expected in suburban areas with commercial strip destinations.
In their project “Overlooked Destinations: Suburban Nodes, Centers, and Trips to Strips,” Larco and Parker observed active travel behaviors around typical suburban commercial sites. They examined six strip malls -- four in Portland, Ore. and two in Atlanta, Ga. -- to map out the “pedshed,” or walkable zone surrounding these sites.
Investigators were surprised by what they found.
For each site, they created detailed pedestrian-network GIS maps. They compared the network extents of maps that included only publicly available, street centerline data with maps that included pedestrian networks derived from aerial images and “on-the-...
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