Aug 13, 2015

Seven dedicated students spent their summer days in TREC’s offices at PSU this year, working to transform the Bike-Ped Portal project from a dream into a reality.

TREC already houses Portal, a vast collection of Portland-area traffic and transit data, and NITC researchers saw a need for a database on the national scale for non-motorized transportation modes.

Research associate Krista Nordback launched the NITC pooled-fund project, Online Non-motorized Traffic Count Archive, with co-investigator Kristen Tufte in the spring of 2014. A year ago, Bike-Ped Portal was little more than an idea.

Now it contains roughly four million individual records of bicycle, pedestrian and even equestrian movements in five states.

High school interns Jolene Liu, Tomas Ramirez, Tara Sengupta, Gautum Singh, Kim Le, Max Fajardo and Kimberly Kuhn worked full time for weeks in order to convert piles of unsorted documentation into usable formats.

Nordback engaged the team of interns through Saturday Academy, a program affiliated with the University of...

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Jun 18, 2014

When it comes to transportation investments, states have a good measure of automobile traffic to inform decisions: vehicle miles traveled. Bicycling and walking don't have a similar measure, leaving more guesswork in planning for those modes.

OTREC research associate Krista Nordback is helping to fix that disparity for Washington state. Working with graduate assistant Michael Sellinger, Nordback has published a research report presenting methods to estimate cycling and walking in the state.

The research is part of a larger effort, which includes Nordback's NITC research project, to create and apply pedestrian-miles-traveled and bicycle-miles-traveled -- PMT and BMT, resepectively -- measures at the state level. In the report, Nordback recommends improvements to Washington's Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project and outlines how PMT and BMT could be estimated.

Washington already leads the nation in its nonmotorized count program, collecting bike and pedestrian counts in more than 30 cities across the state. The statewide focus of Nordback's project sets it apart from similar studies limited to the local or regional level.

The report identifies key needs for programs such as Washington's, including more counts in rural areas and the need to combine short-duration...

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Mar 10, 2014

The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation hosted its first Webinar Feb. 27, with OTREC researcher Krista Nordback providing an overview of bicycle and pedestrian count programs for the 250-plus registered participants.

The Webinar marks an expansion of IBPI’s professional development offerings, which now also include a sustainable transportation study-abroad program and a wider selection of workshops geared toward transportation professionals and university instructors. Webinar participants were eligible to receive continuing education credits, new this year for IBPI live Webinars and in-person workshops.

While the title of the Webinar, “We are Traffic: Creating Robust Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Programs,” asserts a place for walking and bicycling in traffic discussions, Nordback began with a question: If we really believe that bicycling and walking are modes of traffic, how is that going to change how we measure those modes?

Nordback outlined the Federal Highway Administration’s Traffic Monitoring Guide, published last year. She covered why counting and understanding bicycle and pedestrian volumes is...

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Jan 30, 2014

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/

Jan 06, 2014

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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Aug 07, 2013

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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Mar 21, 2013

OTREC extends a warm welcome to Research Associate Krista Nordback, Ph.D., P.E., the newest member of the team. She just moved to Portland, Oregon after finishing up her Ph.D. in Denver, Colorado, to continue working on her favorite research focus: urban bicycle safety.

Nordback has been riding bikes since before she was old enough to remember. Together with her husband, Kurt, she continues to enjoy it as a form of both recreation and transportation. When the pair moved to Portland in February of this year, one of their first actions was to bike the Springwater Corridor, the Portland metro area’s 21-mile bike trail, all the way from Portland to Boring on their semi-recumbent tandem.

As a bicycle commuter, safety is one of Nordback’s top priorities, and it’s also the primary goal of her civil engineering research. In her PhD thesis, “Estimating Annual Average Daily Bicyclists and Analyzing Cyclist Safety at Urban Intersections,” she came up with methods for determining the average number of cyclists passing through a given intersection on a daily basis. In order to increase bicycle safety measures in urban areas, one of the first steps is simple yet essential: count the bikes. Having an understanding of the numbers of bicycles that traffic through an area is the starting point for coming up with...

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