How can community members become more engaged in transportation decision making?

Individuals and groups can learn to effect powerful change, but success requires some familiarity with how civic processes work. Community Transportation Academies, or CTAs, provide a basic technical understanding of how a city or region’s transportation system operates, along with the decision makers and decision-making processes that determine how the system is shaped.

Supported by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the new Wasatch Transportation Academy (WTA) at the University of Utah was piloted in 2022 in the Salt Lake City region. The research team developed a course vision, topics, and logistics for the WTA by interviewing stakeholders in the Utah Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, the Utah Department of Transportation, the Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and the Wasatch Front Regional Council. Led by Nathan McNeil of Portland State University and Keith Bartholomew of the University of Utah, the WTA used the established Portland Traffic and Transportation class in Portland, Oregon as a framework. 

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Researchers Aaron Golub, John MacArthur and Sangwan Lee of Portland State University, Anne Brown of the University of Oregon, and Candace Brakewood and Abubakr Ziedan of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville have published a new journal article in the September 2022 volume of Transportation Research: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Rapidly-evolving payment technologies have motivated public transit agencies in the United States to adopt new fare payment systems, including mobile ticketing applications. The article, "Equity and exclusion issues in cashless fare payment systems for public transportation," explores the challenges facing transit riders in the U.S. who lack access to bank accounts or smartphones, and potential solutions to ensure that a transition to cashless transit fares does not exclude riders. Learn more about the project and read an open-access version of the final report.

The study asks: who is most at risk of being excluded by the transition to new fare payment systems and how would riders pay transit fares if cash payment options were reduced or eliminated? Researchers answer these questions using intercept surveys of 2,303 transit riders in Portland-Gresham, OR, Eugene, OR, and Denver, CO.

The...

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In order to make sure bicyclists' needs are considered when improving a transportation system, planners and engineers need to know how many people are biking, and where. 

Traditional bicycle counters can provide data for limited sections of the bike network, often these counters are installed at important locations like trails or bridges. While limited in location, they count everyone who bikes by. Meanwhile, GPS & mobile data cover the entire transportation network, but that data only represents those travelers who are using smartphones or GPS. Combining the traditional location-based data sources with this new, crowdsourced data could offer better accuracy than any could provide alone. 

"Knowing how many people are bicycling on a street is really important for a number of reasons. As just a few examples, bicycle volumes give you a way to understand safety data and determine crash rates. They provide insight into where and how bicycle trips are taking place, which can help plan for new or improved facilities," said Nathan McNeil of Portland State University.

Supported by a pooled fund grant administered by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), Dr. Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University led a research project aimed at fusing traditional and...

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Nick Puczkowskyj is a graduate research and teaching assistant at Portland State University's College of Urban and Public Affairs. He is a current Urban Studies PhD candidate, and has served as past president of Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), PSU's transportation student group. He has also worked as a teaching assistant and research assistant at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Nick's research specializes in transportation equity, focusing on mobility justice, transgender mobility, queer mobility, gender disparities, and marginalized communities. He earned his master's degree in community and regional planning from the University of New Orleans.

Connect with Nick on LinkedIn or view his PSU profile.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickPuczkowskyj


Tell us about yourself?

Currently I'm a 5th year urban studies Phd candidate. Originally from Chicago, I also call Portland and Hong Kong home. Off campus, you can find me on the rugby pitch with the Portland Lumberjacks RFC or foraging Oregon’s forests for mushrooms.

What (or who...

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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted travel for in-person shopping, commute trips, global supply chains, and food business operations. E-grocery pickup and delivery services saw unprecedented expansions in response. The adoption and use of these e-grocery services have implications for equity and mobility. A PSU masters thesis offers insights: "Adoption and Use of E-Grocery Shopping in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Transport Systems and Beyond" by Gabriella Abou-Zeid, a 2021 graduate of Portland State University with a masters in civil engineering.

"While the future adoption and use of e-grocery services is uncertain as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, our analysis revealed a clear impact of the pandemic on e-grocery shopping behaviors, which has impacts for transportation network demand, safety, and equity," Abou-Zeid said.

Enhancing our understanding of the drivers of (and barriers to) online grocery shopping and its potential "stickiness"—or the extent to which e-grocery use will continue at the same or higher frequencies after the pandemic—is a prerequisite for unpacking current and future consequences of this ecommerce sector on people...

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Incorporating transportation into the land development process is a big undertaking, with many important angles to be considered. Researchers are translating NITC research on this theme into a popular, easy-to-understand graphic format: comics. Led by an interdisciplinary team at Portland State University and the University of Arizona, they're illustrating transportation considerations in the land development process as a comic to reach a broader audience on this critical topic. 

Related: Read about the NITC Research Roadmap on Transportation and Land Use.

Still in development (the images here are early working drafts, illustrated by PSU student Joaquin Golez and Portland, OR illustrator Ryan Alexander-Tanner), the comics are based on research findings from several projects funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC). The project team is working with readers at neighborhood associations and nonprofits to test this unique approach in sharing research findings. We interviewed three of the project team members Kelly Clifton of PSU, Ryan Alexander-Tanner and Susan Kirtley of PSU to hear how it's going.

Can you share more about...

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How could a free transportation class for people living in the Salt Lake City region strengthen community conversations and advocacy around local priorities in transportation policy? Researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and University of Utah (UU) explored that question by bringing a well-known learning model from Portland, Oregon to SLC.

For over 25 years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has partnered with PSU to offer the Portland Traffic and Transportation Course – a free 10-week course designed to provide local community members the skills and knowledge to participate in transportation decisions affecting their neighborhoods. This model has proven to be a success story in public agency-university partnership in community education. Building upon a 2015 project that documented the Portland course and developed a curriculum handbook, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) has provided more funding for a pilot community transportation class–the Wasatch Transportation Academy– in Salt Lake, City Utah. Their first class was held on January 24, 2022 (view class recordings here) and ran through...

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Three students from partner universities in the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) have been awarded WTS Portland scholarships. Congratulations to Caroline Crisp of Portland State, and Cynthia Roe and Caroline Schulze of Oregon Tech!

The WTS Portland Chapter, established in 1985, offers six annual scholarships to high school seniors, junior college, undergraduate, and graduate students to support women seeking leadership opportunities and pursuing transportation careers. This is a highly competitive scholarship with applicants from colleges and universities throughout Oregon and Washington.

All of the WTS Portland scholarship awardees will be honored in a formal awards ceremony via Zoom on February 10, 2022 (5 - 6 PM Pacific).

Caroline Crisp, Portland State University

2021-2022 WTS Portland Beverley Swaim Leadership Legacy Graduate Scholar

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Kelly Rodgers is a Portland State University PhD student in Urban Studies who is studying the use and influence of health indicators in transportation plans. In 2021, Kelly was named the NITC Outstanding Student of the Year. Kelly has been awarded the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship three times and twice named a NITC Student Scholar. Kelly is also the Executive Director of Streetsmart, a non-profit research synthesis and resource clearinghouse for integrating health, climate, and equity into transportation. Kelly is the vice-chair of the Institute of Transportation Engineers' Health and Transportation Standing Committee, a member of the Transportation Research Board's Transportation and Public Health Committee, and is an advisory board member of the American Public Health Association's Center for Climate, Health, and Equity. 

Connect with Kelly Rodgers on LinkedIn


Tell us about yourself?

After a decidedly non-urban upbringing, I was delighted to find urban planning at Miami University as an undergraduate. After graduating, I moved to Oregon sight unseen—all I knew about Oregon was that there were forests and...

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The 101st annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is coming up January 9 - 13, 2022, and has returned to an in-person gathering in Washington, D.C. Supported by funding from the U.S. DOT, research from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities will be featured at this annual gathering.

Below we've rounded up some highlights of research being presented by transportation experts from our participating NITC-funded campuses: Portland State University (PSU), University of Oregon (UO), University of Utah (UU), University of Arizona (UA), and University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Please check out our full NITC guide for all of the sessions:

*Due to the evolving status of speaker attendance and TRB programming for next week, please check your TRB schedule for the most current information in the event...

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