Monday is the first day for lectern and poster sessions at TRB. Researchers from universities affiliated with the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program have 12 presentations on the day's schedule.

Chris Monsere of Portland State University presents "Operational Guidance for Bicycle-Specific Traffic Signals in the United States" at an 8:30 a.m. poster session in Hall E (all listed rooms are in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center). The poster is part of a state department of transportation high-value research session.

Last July, the project, led by Monsere with co-investigator Miguel Figliozzi, was honored as a "Sweet Sixteen" project by the Research Advisory Committee to the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research. Each year, the committee collects High Value Research highlights from member states across the country. From these, each of the four RAC regions selects its top four projects to form the Sweet Sixteen. 

More information on the research is on the project page.

Other highlights for the day

  • Nicholas Stoll of Portland State University gives a lectern presentation on using bus GPS data to identify congestion hot spots at 8 a.m. in Room 150A. Read our feature story on this research. 
  • Patrick...
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A project led by Portland State University researchers Chris Monsere and Miguel Figliozzi has been nationally recognized as one of sixteen high value research projects by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Each year at its annual meeting, AASHTO's Research Advisory Committee selects four projects from each of its four regions to form a "Sweet Sixteen" group of important and influential projects.

The project, “Operational Guidance for Bicycle-Specific Traffic Signals,” reviewed the current state of practice for bicycle signals and evaluated cyclist performance characteristics at intersections. The research has been used to inform an FHWA Interim Approval for bicycle signals.

Bike signals are beginning to be common in major cities throughout the U.S., with some engineering guidance available from the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the...

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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.

How long is too long to wait for the light to change? At stoplights, pedestrians often experience longer delays while cars are given priority.

To design traffic signals that serve the needs of walkers, planners must understand the motivations behind pedestrian behaviors.

Working with professors Kelly Clifton and Christopher MonsereSirisha Kothuri of Portland State University created a survey designed to shed some light on what makes pedestrians decide to follow, or not follow, traffic laws.

To collect data, Kothuri and a team of graduate students armed with an 11-question survey posted themselves at four different intersections in northeast Portland, Ore.

Two of the intersections had recall signals, where pedestrians are automatically detected, and the other two had actuated signals, where pedestrians must press a button to get the light to change.

Survey respondents were asked for their attitudes about delay in signal timing, and for the reasons that determined their crossing the street.

Responses showed that pedestrians were more content with...

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IBPI, or the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation, is a center for research and learning that is focused on bicycle and pedestrian travel.

Based at Portland State University, the group's aim is to advance bicycling and walking as integral elements of the transportation system in Oregon’s communities. July 24 -26 IBPI hosted a faculty workshop to help transportation professors integrate bicycle and pedestrian topics into their courses.

Aimed at faculty members teaching transportation courses within an accredited planning or engineering program at the university level, the workshop included curriculum, guidebooks, and field trips to gain first-hand knowledge of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Portland, Oregon.

It was kept small, to allow for discussion and interaction. The workshop's 15 participants were first given the chance to describe the existing gaps in their courses and what they hoped to gain from the workshop, then guided through a two-day series of activities tailor-made to fit their needs.

Their goals ranged from specific to general, requesting ways to incorporate GIS analysis into bicycle and pedestrian courses, suggestions for how to integrate active travel performance measures with typical vehicular performance measures, and generally a deeper understanding of bicycle research.

Robert Bertini (Portland State University...

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The Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, pegged as one of Portland’s high-crash corridors, already attracted the attention of city officials worried about safety. They got more help from Portland State University students during the recently completed term.

Students from civil engineering professor Christopher Monsere’s transportation safety analysis course formed six groups, each studying a piece of the corridor. They presented their findings and recommendations during the course’s open house March 19. The presentation drew officials from local agencies interested in improving corridor safety, including the city of Portland, the TriMet transit agency and the Metro regional government.

The student work dovetails with the city’s own examination of the highway corridor, completed in February. In some cases, as with the Shattuck Road intersection, the students came to many of the same conclusions as city officials, said Wendy Cawley, traffic safety engineer with the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Both found that narrowing the crossing distance could make that intersection safer for pedestrians.

One group looked at the Hillsdale area, recommending a “road diet” approach and other livability-minded changes. While it’s “probably a little more than the city will be able to recommend and handle,” Cawley said, the work has inspired neighborhood...

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Freight transportation is an important part of Oregon’s economy. Helping the statewide freight-transport system run more efficiently means better understanding the movements of trucks on the highways. By monitoring the progress of individual trucks, the Oregon Department of Transportation can obtain valuable performance metrics such as travel time, travel delays, and origin-destination flows. This information can help identify slow passages or bottlenecks in the highway system.

Tracking individual trucks, however, can be problematic. To follow the movements of a truck on the freeway, typical methods might include putting in automatic vehicle identification (AVI) tags, or acquiring a license-plate-recognition system to be used at checkpoints. For ODOT, this could mean purchasing expensive new equipment. Moreover, these tracking methods can raise privacy concerns.

In an OTREC-sponsored research project, Portland State University’s Chris Monsere looked into alternative methods for obtaining those helpful freight metrics without installing tracking units in every single truck. The details of Phase 2 of the project, which expand upon and further refine the results of Phase 1, can be found here. For more information, download the OTREC final report: Exploratory Methods for Truck Re-...

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A project to create more miles of protected bike lanes in American cities, which launched this week, turned to OTREC researchers for the project’s research component. The Green Lane Project invited the researchers to Chicago for the project launch.

The Green Lane Project, a project of the Bikes Belong Foundation, chose six cities to serve as pilot sites for new designs and approaches to creating comfortable, separated bike routes such as cycle tracks, which may or may not be painted green. Being part of the project will enable the cities to share their experiences, get help with communication and coordinate with federal, state and local agencies.

The six cities are Austin, Texas; Chicago; Memphis, Tenn.; Portland, Ore.; San Fransicso; and Washington, D.C.

Portland State University researchers Chris Monsere, Kelly Clifton and OTREC Director Jennifer Dill went to Chicago for the launch and to meet potential research partners. They shared their research approach with representatives from the six cities.

After performing similar evaluations of bicycle facilities in Portland and Washington, D.C., the Portland State researchers are proposing to fine-tune and apply their methodology to the six project cities. The team would assess the safety, operations economic effects,...

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Students and faculty researchers from OTREC universities will present 45 papers at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting Jan. 22 to 26 in Washington, D.C.

The papers, to be presented at 37 separate sessions and poster sessions, stem from transportation research at Portland State University, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. The three universities will send 43 students to the conference.

Alex Bigazzi, a PSU engineering doctoral student, will present his work on topics including congestion and emissions at the conference. Some of that work stems from his master’s thesis, “Roadway Congestion Impacts on Emissions, Air Quality, and Exposure,” with adviser Miguel Figliozzi at PSU. The thesis won this year’s Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award, which will be presented Jan. 21 at the Council of University Transportation Centers awards banquet.

Bigazzi will present another paper, which he wrote with PSU’s Kelly Clifton and Brian Gregor of the Oregon Department of Transportation, that looks at fuel economy for alternative-fuel vehicles in congestion. Titled “Advanced Vehicle Fuel-Speed Curves for Regional Greenhouse Gas Scenario Analysis,” the paper helps Oregon DOT incorporate hybrid, electric and fuel-cell vehicles into its emissions planning model.

While traditional vehicles lose fuel efficiency during congested driving, advanced vehicles don’t suffer from the same effects, according to the paper.  Some even do better in...

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In transportation funding decisions, you don’t count until you’re counted. That fact can lead to cyclists and pedestrians, often overlooked in traffic counts, getting less than their share of transportation money. OTREC hosted a conference Sept. 15 to address that problem.

“Without the data, you have an incomplete picture of how the (transportation) system is being used,” said OTREC researcher Chris Monsere, the conference organizer. “And it’s easier to make the case for resources if you know how the system is being used.”

The conference, called the “Bike and Pedestrian Program Information Exchange & Technology Transfer Summit Meeting,” brought together officials from local and state transportation agencies and consultants to share features of the best counting programs and technology. The forum helped bridge a gap between people who count motor vehicles and those who count bicycle and pedestrian traffic.  

“We wanted to raise a little awareness of both sides of the equation,” Monsere said. “There are things both can learn from the other.” <All presentations available  for download at the end of this article>

Nonmotorized counting programs often get large numbers of motivated people involved quickly and have a strong network for distributing results of counts. Motorized counts tend to be more systematic and uniform.

The motorized traffic counts have a jump on their non-motorized counterparts, Monsere said. That’s largely a result of...

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The third annual Oregon Transportation Summit drew 275 people to Portland State University for what has become a leading regional venue to connect transportation professionals with each other and with academic researchers. Workshops and plenary sessions spread some of the best ideas in transportation, while a poster session shared the latest research from OTREC faculty and students.

The OTREC awards honored leaders in their field. In an emotional presentation, Chris Achterman accepted the Peter DeFazio Transportation Hall of Fame award on behalf of his sister, Gail Achterman, who recently stepped down as chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission and is undergoing chemotherapy.

Achterman brought a different perspective to the commission, OTREC Director Jennifer Dill said in presenting the award. “Gail’s direction helped the Oregon Department of Transportation redefine itself, emphasizing active and multimodal transportation,” Dill said. “With her diverse background and open mind, she has welcomed the best ideas from multiple disciplines, recognizing their implication for transportation.”

In prepared remarks, Achterman returned the praise. “The Summit is only one of the Oregon...

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