OTREC was well-represented at this year’s Western ITE conference, the 2013 conference for the Western District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Eight graduate student researchers presented papers at the conference, which took place July 14 through 17 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Portland State University students Katherine Bell, Kirk Paulsen, Adam Moore, Wei Feng, Sirisha Kothuri, Pamela Johnson, Sam Thompson and Alex Bigazzi attended the three-day conference and showcased their work in transportation research.

The conference was held at the Arizona Biltmore, a 1920’s luxury hotel created by architects Albert Chase McArthur and Frank Lloyd Wright. For the engineering and planning students, the Biltmore held its own attraction as an example of unique architecture, and in between events they enjoyed walking the grounds. 

Katherine Bell, a Master’s student whose research interests include planning, modeling and performance measures for freight, gave a presentation on the use of a smart phone application with a GPS device for freight data collection. This was her second time presenting at the...

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OTREC at Portland State University is pleased to announce the 2013 OTREC/NITC scholars.

Each year, OTREC and NITC recognize outstanding students, awarding them scholarships to further their work on transportation projects.

This year's scholarship winners tackle a range of projects, including long-range visions on how to improve equity in transportation, plans for proposed facility upgrades at specific locations, investigations into new ways to strengthen pavement, and the development of advanced technologies to assist the flow of transportation in the real world.

 
Arlie Adkins, a Ph.D. student at Portland State University (PSU), is surveying recent movers to learn that people of low-income households often find it harder to live in areas that are friendly to active transportation: many of the "walkable" neighborhoods are now premium real estate, so accessibility becomes inaccessible.
 
Dustin Hirata and Kyler Weisenback, seniors in the Computer Engineering Technology Department at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT), are developing a software application for the collection of intersection turning movement counts for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Their application will be deployed on...
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Each year, Portland State University’s MURP, or Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning, program hosts a public presentation to showcase the work of its graduating master’s students. Students who graduate with a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning spend the last two terms of their program collaborating on workshop projects, completing planning tasks for local clients or business organizations.

This year’s presentations took place on Wednesday, attended by a crowd of about a hundred PSU students, professors, MURP clients and community members. Six groups presented their projects. Some of the projects were transportation-focused, especially one titled "Lombard Re-Imagined."

Swift Planning Group, composed of members Kathryn Doherty-Chapman, Zef Wagner, Brian Hurley, Jake Warr, Rebecca Hamilton, and Jodi Jacobson-Swartfager, developed a plan to improve Lombard Street, a key transportation corridor in North Portland.

The challenge facing the group had to do with the many roles that Lombard street plays. The street is both an arterial throughway and a state highway. It is an overdimensional freight route, for trucks that are too big to go anywhere else in North Portland, and it has also been designated as a main street in Metro’s 2040 Growth Concept. The various...

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Five OTREC-supported student transportation researchers presented their work Wednesday at Portland State University's first Student Reserach Symposium. Tara Goddard and Katherine Bell presented their work in panel sessions, while Sam Thompson, Patrick Singleton and Oliver Smith presented posters.

Goddard presented her paper, "Are Bicycling and Walking 'Cool'?: Adolescent Attitutes About Active Travel," in the public health and urban studies session. She'll offer an in-depth take on the same topic at noon May 24 for OTREC's Friday transportation seminar. Click here for more information.

Bell's paper, "Evaluation of Smart Phone Weight-Mile Truck Data for Supporting Freight Modeling, Performance Measures and Planning," details some of her work with civil engineering associate professor Miguel Figliozzi. Click here to download a version of the paper.

Thompson's poster was "A Study of Bicycle-Signal Compliance Employing Video Footage;" Singleton's poster was "A Theory of Travel Decision-Making: Applications for Active Travel;" Smith's was "The Effects of Mode Choice on Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Portland, Oregon."

The symposium, which organizers...

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A total of 133 researchers from OTREC campuses will have their work featured at the Transportation Research Board national conference the week of Jan. 13 in Washington, D.C. Seventy-two separate sessions will feature research from Portland State University, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and the University of Utah.

The weeklong conference is the event of the year for transportation researchers across the country and an important opportunity for students and faculty to share research results, learn best practices and network.

As OTREC prides itself on developing the next generation of the transportation workforce, students are well represented at the conference. Nearly 50 students will have their research presented at lectern or poster sessions and many of those students are the lead authors of papers accepted for the conference.

Portland State University alone is sending 30 graduate and undergraduate students to the conference. Katherine Bell, a Portland state graduate student, will present research at a freight planning and logistics session on Monday. Bell worked with Miguel Figliozzi of Portland State’s civil and environmental engineering department on an OTREC research project that could mark a sea change in how freight data is collected and used.

Oregon is one of a few states to collect a tax on heavy trucks based on their weight and miles driven. In 2010, The Oregon Department of Transportation started a pilot project to...

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While the annual Region X Student Transportation Conference in November always attracts students from across the northwest, this year’s conference pulled some from much farther south: Pomona, Calif.

The conference is a showcase for student transportation research in the Pacific Northwest (Federal Region X), which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Region X serves as a microcosm of transportation for the entire country, making it a prime testing ground for studies in transportation operations and planning.

The conference was sponsored by OTREC and hosted this year by Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), the Portland State University Student Chapter of ITE.

When professor Xudong Jia of Cal Poly Pomona learned about the conference, he was determined that his students would find a way to attend. With the support of OTREC, Cal Poly Pomona sent five students to the conference, a mix of undergraduate and graduate students in civil and transportation engineering.  The students were interested in both the research and tours, as well as gleaning tips for how to organize a student-led conference: something the Cal Poly students will be doing when they host the TransModal Connection Conference in February in San Louis Obispo.

In addition to visiting the Western Federal Lands Materials lab in Vancouver, Wash., the team competed in the Oregon Section ITE William C. Kloos Traffic Bowl. Though a transportation mishap left them...

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Portland State University inducted graduate student Kristina Currans into the Denice Dee Denton Women Engineers Hall of Fame in a ceremony Nov. 15. Currans is the second transportation engineering student to win the student award.

Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, took the Outstanding Female Engineer honors.

Currans’ boundless enthusiasm and dedication to her work quickly become apparent to anyone who works with her, said Kelly Clifton, an associate professor of civil engineering and director of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative. “I’ve never met someone able to manage so many things,” said Clifton, who nominated Currans for the honor.

Currans works with Clifton as a part of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative and on several OTREC research projects. “She brings a tremendous amount of energy,” Clifton said.

After graduating Oregon State University with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree in 2010, Currans soon made a name for herself in transportation circles. She started her graduate coursework at Portland State and worked during academic breaks with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Transportation Planning Analysis Unit, home to state and regional transportation models.

“For someone who had just graduated with an undergraduate degree, she completed that internship and really impressed ODOT,” Clifton said. “To do that so quickly caught everyone’s attention.”

Currans tested and worked with the Statewide Integrated...

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Internships are vital to connecting students with real-world practitioners and applying what they learn in the classroom. For student Stefan Bussey, this real-world experience was gained through working with the Signals, Street Lighting, and ITS Division at the Portland Bureau of Transportation. His assignment during his internship was to evaluate the pedestrian delay at 47 pedestrian crosswalk signals (also known as half-signals) across the city of Portland. 

He assisted in reviewing and modifying the signal timing at half-signals to make them more responsive to pedestrians. The changes he helped implement resulted in an overall 25.3% reduction in maximum pedestrian delay for the signals adjusted. The reduction in pedestrian delay at these crossings may help to increase foot trips and higher rates of pedestrian compliance. When asked about his experience working at the city of Portland, Stefan said, “What I got most out of the internship was a better understanding of how to time signalized intersections to better serve non-motorized modes of transportation while maintaining an acceptable level of service for motorized vehicles.” From the employer perspective, Peter Koonce expressed, “The internship was a great example of a student having a positive impact on the surrounding community by solving a real world problem. The City of Portland is fortunate to have the partnerships in place to have PSU work collaboratively to improve the sustainability of the...

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The Portland State University transportation group STEP, for Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning, offered their take on the Oregon Transportation Summit, held Sept. 10 in Portland. The summit featured a poster exhibit with 22 posters, including 19 student posters.

"It was a great experience to talk with professionals in industry and government to get their feedback on the application of our research," Kristi Currans said of research she presented at the summit's poster exhibit.

Click here to read the full entry on the STEP website.

In town to network and share research results, participants in the Region X Student Transportation Conference also saw the inner workings of the transportation system and even got to stop Portland traffic. 

The ninth annual conference drew around 75 people to Portland November 18. The conference showcases student transportation research in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska and is entirely organized and run by students.

This year, the conference also featured breakout sessions and tours with working transportation professionals. Groups visited the Oregon Department of Transportation Region I incident management command center, dug into city of Portland traffic signal systems and operations, toured the city’s bicycle infrastructure and explored the mechanics of Portland’s drawbridges in detail with three bridge lifts.

Portland State University’s student group, Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning, or STEP, hosted the conference, which was sponsored by OTREC. The conference provides plenty of formal and informal opportunities for students working at different universities to inform each other, said Kristi Currans, an organizer with STEP.

“My favorite part is just having all the students get together and find out all the research everyone is doing,” Currans said. “Even within Portland State, if people are working for different professors, I might not know what they’re working on.”

The conference drew students from Portland State...

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