The National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research consortium, led by Portland State University, has awarded $485,456 in total funding for seven new research projects spanning five universities. With the extension of the FAST Act, NITC received one additional year of funding, and given this limited time frame, we emphasized projects that were relatively short in length, relied on existing expertise, and would yield specific outputs and outcomes. Several of the projects have an equity focus, and much of the research aims to make it easier to get around multimodally and/or by walking. The seven new projects are:

Led by Danya Rumore of the University of Utah and Philip Stoker of the University of Arizona
  • Rumore and Stoker focus on the unique transportation challenges of 'gateway' communities, or small towns adjacent to natural areas that attract large populations. Their previous...
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Led by Dr. Stephen Fickas of the University of Oregon (UO),  transportation researchers are working to give bicyclists smoother rides by allowing them to communicate with traffic signals via a mobile app. 

The latest report to come out of this multi-project research effort introduces machine-learning algorithms to work with their mobile app FastTrack. Developed and tested in earlier phases of the project, the app allows cyclists to passively communicate with traffic signals along a busy bike corridor in Eugene, Oregon. Researchers hope to eventually make their app available in other cities.

"The overall goal is to give bicyclists a safer and more efficient use of a city’s signaled intersections. The current project attempts to use two deep-learning algorithms, LSTM and 1D CNN, to tackle time-series forecasting. The goal is to predict the next phase of an upcoming, actuated traffic signal given a history of its prior phases in time-series format. We're encouraged by the results," Fickas said.

Their latest work builds on two prior projects, also funded by the National Institute for Transportation a Communities: in which Fickas and his team successfully built and deployed a hardware and software product called ‘Bike Connect’ which allowed people on bikes to give hands-free advance...

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In the June 2021 issue of Case Studies on Transport Policy, Ben Clark and Anne Brown of the University of Oregon published an article titled, "What Does Ride-hailing Mean For Parking? Associations Between On-street Parking Occupancy And Ride-hail Trips In Seattle." The paper draws on findings from their NITC research Investigating Effects of TNCs on Parking Demand and Revenues.

Ride-hailing companies, including Uber and Lyft, upset the traditional nexus between driving and parking. As cities consider parking policy reforms amidst a wave of app-based transportation systems, including ride-hailing, the associations between parking occupancy and ride-hailing remain unclear. Examining this association is critical as it may help understand the connections between ride-hailing and the built environment and help cities plan for a future of new transportation technologies that may alter the role of or need for on-street parking. This article examines associations between ride-hail trips and on-street parking occupancy in Seattle, Washington.

The researchers predict that on-street parking occupancy...

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We're proud to announce the publication of a new NITC dissertation: "Free Movement: Enhancing Open Data To Facilitate Independent Travel For Persons With Disabilities," by Shiloh Deitz of the University of Oregon.

"In this project, I found that across the United States there is a lack of both data for accessible pedestrian routing and tools for filling in those data. AI methods have contributed to filling in missing data for applications like autonomous vehicles but much less often to intervene in quality of life improvements. Critical geoAI, that is, bringing a critical geographic lens to artificial intelligence applications, has the potential to contribute to the amelioration of these data and analytic gaps," Deitz said.

Nearly 40 million Americans report a disability, and of this population, 70 percent travel less because of the challenges they face. When they do travel, those with limited mobility are more likely to be pedestrians or public transit users. Today, free commercial routing applications such as Google Maps offer a robust suite of tools for the able-bodied public to walk, ride bikes, take public transportation, or hail a taxi. Yet, such tools for persons with limited mobility to determine a safe and perhaps even pleasant urban route are experimental, limited, and only available in select cities (e.g....

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Our multi-year study on automated transit fare collection offers a key finding that won't surprise you: Despite the convenience, the rush toward cashless fare systems has created barriers for lower-income riders seeking to use transit. Results from focus groups, surveys, and a review of current transit agency practices suggest that continuing to accept cash is a crucial way to keep transit accessible. However, dealing with cash has drawbacks: it’s time intensive and expensive. Using a detailed cost-benefit model, the researchers explored the costs for agencies to maintain some cash options and found that some simple approaches can be quite effective. The best bang for the buck? Cash collection on board buses.

Launched in 2019, the research project "Applying an Equity Lens to Automated Payment Solutions for Public Transportation" was supported by a Pooled Fund grant program from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and conducted at three universities: Portland State University (PSU), the University of Oregon (UO), and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). The other funding partners were City of Eugene, OR, City of Gresham, OR, Lane Transit District, Clevor Consulting Group, and RTD (Regional Transportation District) Denver....

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Clare Haley is a Masters of Community and Regional Planning student at the University of Oregon and a 2020 NITC scholar, currently working as a transportation planner for Bohannan Huston Inc. in Albuquerque. She serves as co-present of UO's transportation student group, LiveMove, and is currently researching active transportation street interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Marc Schlossberg and Dr. Rebecca Lewis. Her terminal project researches how e-bikes can address the gender gap in cycling. Clare is also the 2021 winner of UO's Sustainability Award for Student Leadership by a graduate student.

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I'm originally from Idaho and grew up hiking and camping in the Sawtooth mountains and Teton National Park, and my family instilled in me a strong love of the outdoors. I completed my undergraduate degree in International Studies at the University of Idaho (Go Vandals!). I met my wife shortly after graduation, and we have had the opportunity to travel to Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, and England together....

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Ride hailing services (such as Lyft and Uber) are frequently pointed to as a means of filling mobility gaps in a transportation system, especially in areas that are not well-served by transit. How might nonprofit organizations address the mobility needs of their clients through ride hailing (also known as Transportation Network Companies, or TNCs)? Many people who use nonprofit services (e.g. food assistance, social services, health care or educational support) also experience transportation challenges in reaching that service. This is an under-examined area in our new mobility landscape. The latest report funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), The Impact of Ride Hail Services on the Accessibility of Nonprofit Services, found that TNC use by nonprofits is uneven, and while useful and addressing a need, there are significant costs in price and capacity that make Uber and Lyft impractical. 

Led by Dyana Mason of the University of Oregon (UO), the report shares qualitative interviews with nonprofit service providers and clients discussing TNCs, as well as policy recommendations. She will be sharing this work in an ...

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Rethinking Streets for Physical Distancing, the third in our "Rethinking Streets" book series, has been released. The book offers 25 case studies from a broad swath of U.S. cities with a handful of international examples of streets that were redesigned to better accommodate people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rethinking Streets is a design guidebook series produced by NITC researchers at the University of Oregon, led by Marc Schlossberg. The three books are:

These full-color design guides have proven popular with planners and...

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Rebecca Lewis and Richard Margerum, University of Oregon

Regional organizations use urban centers to incentivize local governments to align land use and transportation. An article in the December 2020 issue of Land Use Policy, by Rebecca Lewis and Richard Margerum of the University of Oregon, examines whether existing conditions and future plans for centers support regional goals.

The article draws on findings from their NITC project "Metropolitan Centers: Evaluating local implementation of regional plans and policies," with co-investigator Keith Bartholomew of the University of Utah.

Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in the United States have instituted regional strategies to encourage development around mixed use, higher density urban centers in response to air quality and...

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The world's largest transportation research conference is celebrating its 100th birthday online, with over 14,000 RSVP's. TRB 2021 officially began this week, and while we're not out roaming the snowy streets of D.C, we’re still able to enjoy each other’s expertise from our homes. So instead of bemoaning what we'll miss, we’re celebrating the NITC-funded researchers who are presenting their work. On January 6, 2021 the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) honored NITC Student of the Year Gabby Abou-Zeid, along with Hau Hagedorn, NITC associate director, who won the CUTC-ARTBA Award for Administrative Leadership.

VIEW THE ONLINE GUIDE TO NITC AT TRB 2021

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NITC AT TRB 2021 HIGHLIGHTS

We’ve compiled an online NITC...

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