Courtney Crosson and UA architecture students facilitate a mapping activity to identify current flooding challenges at a neighborhood meeting.
Photo by Eugene Lee
Courtney Crosson, University of Arizona

Short-term flooding from extreme storm events poses a serious transportation challenge in U.S. cities. This problem—which is anticipated to grow over the next century with our global climate crisis—is often hardest on vulnerable populations, including low-income and minority neighborhoods. The latest report from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), led by Courtney Crosson of University of Arizona (UA), advances national research methods for assessing flood vulnerability and prioritizing transportation improvement investments to ensure that no community is left stranded when the next flood occurs.

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A bicycle passes in front of a bus
Photo by Canetti
Miguel Figliozzi, Portland State University

When buses and bikes share space, it's complicated. Not only are there safety risks for cyclists, but also potential delays in bus service and stressful navigation for bus operators. The quest to increase bus speeds—and plausibly...

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Principal Investigator: Charles (C.J.) Riley, Oregon Institute of Technology
Learn more about this education project by viewing the Executive Summary and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

The most expensive and critical links in our transportation network are its bridges. Historical and contemporary bridge failures have highlighted our reliance on these structures. While the nation’s bridge management system is robust and well administered, the tools needed to evaluate individual bridges to determine their condition—whether for asset management or in response to a significant loading event such as the imminent Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake in the Pacific Northwest— are currently highly specialized. 

NITC researcher C.J. Riley, a civil engineering professor at the Oregon Institute of Technology, has developed a cost-effective, accurate, and easily deployed evaluation tool using widely available mobile technology (specifically iPods) to measure the dynamic structural response of a bridge subjected to harmonic forcing. 

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We drive on infrastructure from the last century, never knowing when its shaking in the wind might herald a collapse, while in our hands are devices that can communicate with satellites, capture high-definition video and sense the motion of a fly. To C.J. Riley, it seemed like the one should be able to help with the other.

Riley, an associate professor of civil engineering at the Oregon Institute of Technology, is working on NITC research aimed at using low-cost, ubiquitous technology—like third-generation iPods—to evaluate the soundness of bridges and other transportation structures.

The goal of his just-published NITC education project, Dynamic Evaluation of Transportation Structures with iPod-Based Data Acquisition, was to expand Oregon Tech’s research lab while simultaneously figuring out two things: how can widely available technology be leveraged to assess structural integrity, and what is the best way to teach students this process?

To address both questions, Riley established the Structural Health and Kinetic Evaluation (SHAKE) Laboratory at Oregon Tech. While exploring options for structural assessment, Riley put some new lab tools in the hands of his graduate students: twelve third-generation iPod touch mobile devices with on-board accelerometers, Texas Instruments SensorTags, virtual visual sensors, and a...

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Susan Petheram, a Ph.D. candidate in the Metropolitan Planning, Policy, & Design program at the University of Utah, has recently been awarded a NITC dissertation fellowship.

NITC fellowships are awarded to fund research on surface transportation topics that fit under the NITC theme of safe, healthy, and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities. Petheram's research focuses on the integration of transportation and land use, and on building healthy communities through transit access.

Her dissertation research involves evaluating some of the effects of the light rail system in Salt Lake County. Scarcely more than a decade old, the TRAX light rail system has three lines in service as of 2013, and some of the transportation researchers at the University of Utah are taking advantage of this living laboratory to explore the effects of a light rail system upon the neighborhoods and suburbs that it serves. 

Calvin Tribby, for example, another NITC fellow from the University of Utah, is observing the new transit opportunities' effect on public health. Petheram's research focuses on a different angle: the light rail's effect on property values.

In particular, she is interested in finding out whether positive...

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The video begins at 2:55.

With the advent of the alternative fuels, it’s very appropriate that gasoline is based on fossil fuels and becoming ancient history. As the gas tax becomes less and less pertinent to adequately funding infrastructure, electronic cashless non-stop tolling options are a more viable solution to financing new projects and providing mobility to existing infrastructure. There are a number of technologies being evaluated for the future; including global position systems (GPS), existing proprietary radio frequency (RF) systems, open standard dedicated open standard dedicated short range communications (DSRC) systems, or the existing cellular networks are also being considered. This presentation will focus on what technologies are available and what emerging technologies are the most likely to emerge as an effective and affordable approach to funding user fees and infrastructure needs. This presentation will also describe how user fees and tolling systems can help the environment, reduce congestion, and provide effective cashless transportation systems based on equitable user fees.

Meghan Oldfield of Trimet gives an update on Interstate 205.

The video begins at 7:31.

The video begins at 1:24.

This project will help demonstrate how sustainable ("green") streets contribute to the well-being of a community, including the physical and mental health of older and younger adults, along with the environment and economy. The project will collect data in Portland, OR neighborhoods to answer the following research questions:

Are residents living near sustainable streets more physically active in their neighborhood?

Do residents living near sustainable streets interact with neighbors more and demonstrate higher levels of neighborhood social capital?

What are residents’ opinions of sustainable streets?

Are there variations in responses to sustainable streets by age or other demographics? In particular, how to older adults differ from younger adults?

Does the implementation process and design affect green street outcomes?

Do sustainable streets affect home values?

How do green streets affect stormwater flows, urban heat island, and carbon sequestration in Portland neighborhoods?

The project includes a survey of residents in two neighborhoods with green street features and two control neighborhoods; an environmental assessment of the green street treatments; and an analysis of housing values using a hedonic modeling approach.

The project will be guided by an Advisory council of members of various stakeholder organizations...

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The video begins at 3:30.

Between aging infrastructure, climate change, peak oil, and livability concerns, the transportation profession faces significant challenges in the coming years. Meeting these challenges will require integrating the transportation profession in order to develop solutions and clearly articulate them to the public. This presentation will highlight the diverse roles within transportation, and the need for further interaction between them, using real-world examples.

The video begins at 2:58.

Abstract: This seminar describes the results of a recently completed research project for the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP), related to capacity enhancements, as well as ongoing research underway to test the results of this research and to address economic and environmental benefits to progressive approaches to mitigation.

The SHRP 2 CO6 project was designed to provide transportation practitioners with guidance, tools and methods for conducting an integrated transportation planning process - utilizing an ecosystem approach to decision-making that improves and expedites transportation planning and project delivery.  To do this, the research team developed a nine-step Integrated Eco-Logical Conservation and Transportation Planning Framework (“the Framework”), that addresses the partnership building as well as the technical and scientific aspects of an this integrated, ecosystem approach to transportation decision making advocated by Eco-Logical: an Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects, and more recent refinements to watershed permitting and strategic habitat conservation planning.

The seminar will briefly outline the problem statement and the early but critical step of partnership building and process changes.  The majority of the talk will focus on utilizing an ecosystem approach to the assessment of cumulative effects and alternatives,...

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