Protected bicycle lanes have gained popularity as a safer way to get more people cycling. Earlier research from the Transportation Research and Education Center, TREC, at Portland State University showed that people feel safer in lanes with a physical barrier between bicycle and motor vehicle traffic.

The research hadn’t closely studied the intersections, where the barriers—and the protection they offer—go away. With little research guidance, agencies across the country could face the prospect of using untested approaches or avoiding protected lanes altogether.

TREC, through its National Institute for Transportation and Communities pooled-fund program, is now addressing intersections for protected lanes. The program lets agencies and interested partners invest small amounts to join research with a national impact. For this project, 11 partners each put $5,000 to $50,000 toward the $250,000 cost.

The project will help agencies decide which intersection treatments to use in which cases, and what elements each should include. Toole Design Group will work with the Portland State research team to tailor the results to practitioners.
 
“Right now, it’s based on their judgment,” said...

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A new study led by Miguel Figliozzi of Portland State University provides a microscopic evaluation of how two advanced traffic control technologies work together.

Powell Boulevard, an east-west arterial corridor in southeast Portland, Oregon, has been the focus of several research studies by Figliozzi’s TTP research lab. The street is a key route for public transit buses as well as pedestrians and cars, but heavy traffic at peak hours often results in delays.

On Powell there are two systems operating concurrently: a demand-responsive traffic signal system called Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) and a Transit Signal Priority (TSP) system. The TSP in the Portland metro region is designed to give priority to late buses and to boost transit performance.

In previous studies Figliozzi’s lab has analyzed a multitude of factors on Powell Boulevard including traffic congestion, transit times, air quality and cyclists’ intake of air pollutants, and a before/after evaluation of SCATS.

For this study, the researchers used a novel approach to evaluate how well SCATS and TSP work together by integrating three major data sources and video recordings at individual intersections.

Figliozzi’s team worked closely with TriMet and the City of Portland to...

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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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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/

Flashing-yellow-arrow traffic signals offer convenience for drivers by permitting them to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic. This convenience, OTREC research has found, can come at the expense of safety, especially where the traffic mix includes pedestrians.

OTREC researchers David Hurwitz of Oregon State University and Christopher Monsere of Portland State University examined how driver behaviors affect pedestrian safety at flashing yellow arrows. Their findings show that drivers at these intersections often don’t even look for pedestrians.

This research will be the focus of OTREC’s first live interview-style Webinar May 7. Host Steph Routh of Oregon Walks will interview the researcher-practitioner team, explore real-world applications and take audience questions. The Webinar is free. Details are at this link:

Flashing-yellow-arrow Webinar

Flashing yellow arrows have been replacing other left-turn signals, such as solid green or flashing yellow or red circles, to indicate that drivers may turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. These turns are considered “permissive.” Turns where no conflicting traffic is present, such as those indicated with a green arrow, are “protected” turns. The flashing yellow arrow’s inclusion in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices sped up the signal’s adoption to...

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Students at Portland’s Cleveland High School learned on Tuesday that their school sits at the heart of pioneering transportation research. The school is at the corner of Southeast 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard, a corridor in which a variety of advanced traffic management technologies have been installed.

Adam Moore, a graduate student in transportation engineering at Portland State University, and Jon Makler, OTREC’s program manager for education and technology transfer, were guest teaching some algebra classes at Cleveland High as part of National Engineering Month.

In Oregon every February, the Business Education Compact helps match thousands of professional engineers who volunteer to teach in classrooms from elementary through high school. The goal is to raise student awareness of the opportunities and rewards of working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

This is the third year of volunteering for Makler, who developed a lesson plan that describes the many ways that transportation relies on STEM skills, including engineering. After watching helmet cam footage of biking in downtown Portland, students used basic algebra to learn about how traffic signals are timed to make streets safe and efficient for people in cars, on bike or on foot.

But Moore stole the show as he explained how various devices at the intersection of Powell and 26th help manage traffic. Students were...

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Prof Monsere represented Portland Stateís ITS Lab at the second conference on traffic management sponsored by FHWA, Office of Research and Development and USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). The workshop was designed to help coordinate and guide research at university transportation centers (UTCs). It featured presentations from Federal staff and university researchers in adaptive signal timing, microsimulation, traffic data, intelligent infrastructure and vehicles. Robust discussion identified potential collaboration and research areas. Prof. Monsere highlighted related research by OTREC faculty. The workshop concluded with a tour of the research laboratories at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, which hosted the conference.
 

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