Shared micromobility programs for e-scooters and bike share are becoming more common each year. How can we make sure they aren’t just being used for fun, but they’re also being prioritized for those who need a quick, affordable and accessible way to get around? A team of researchers has collected documentation about equity requirements from 239 shared micromobility programs across the U.S. and compiled all the data into an online dashboard, which city officials can use to find what other similar-sized cities are doing. Equity efforts in one city may pave the way for expanded opportunities in another.

Keeping a focus on equity can make this new technology accessible and affordable, and could improve the lives of people with disabilities, people with low incomes, those who don't have access to a smartphone, and those who live in neighborhoods without good transit access. Led by the University of Oregon's Anne Brown and Amanda Howell, with Hana Creger of The Greenlining Institute, the latest report from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) took steps toward...

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Zoe Green is a student at the University of Oregon. She is pursuing a bachelor's of science in environmental studies, and a minor in sustainable business. This year she worked as a NITC research assistant, supporting a project on the equity requirements of shared micromobility programs. Learn more about that project: Using Maps and Online Tools to Operationalize Equity in Shared Mobility Services.

Connect with Zoe on LinkedIn


Tell us about yourself?

I’m an incoming senior at the University of Oregon pursuing my BS in environmental studies with a minor in sustainable business. I recently moved back to my home state of Oregon after growing up in Kentucky. My time spent exploring my small town in the Midwest, paired with my frequent visits to the PNW, heavily influenced my interest in environmental conservation. In response to taking courses at UO, my focus shifted to environmental justice. Outside of school, I enjoy baking new recipes, going on picnics with my friends, and making music.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

Coming to Eugene was the first time I lived in an environment with accessible, welcoming public transportation. This experience, and my interest in environmental justice, led me to take...

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Researchers Aaron Golub, John MacArthur and Sangwan Lee of Portland State University, Anne Brown of the University of Oregon, and Candace Brakewood and Abubakr Ziedan of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville have published a new journal article in the September 2022 volume of Transportation Research: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Rapidly-evolving payment technologies have motivated public transit agencies in the United States to adopt new fare payment systems, including mobile ticketing applications. The article, "Equity and exclusion issues in cashless fare payment systems for public transportation," explores the challenges facing transit riders in the U.S. who lack access to bank accounts or smartphones, and potential solutions to ensure that a transition to cashless transit fares does not exclude riders. Learn more about the project and read an open-access version of the final report.

The study asks: who is most at risk of being excluded by the transition to new fare payment systems and how would riders pay transit fares if cash payment options were reduced or eliminated? Researchers answer these questions using intercept surveys of 2,303 transit riders in Portland-Gresham, OR, Eugene, OR, and Denver, CO.

The...

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Brendan J. Irsfeld is a second-year graduate student at the University of Oregon enrolled in the Master of Community and Regional Planning program. His primary research focus is sustainable and equitable transportation issues pertaining both to public transit systems and the wider built environment. He currently serves as co-president of UO student group LiveMove, and presented his work on social sustainability as an Eisenhower Fellow at the 2022 annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). In addition to transportation, Brendan is active in disaster planning work, exploring the relationships between land-use decisions and the preparedness and resilience of communities in the event of a wildland fire.

Connect with Brendan on LinkedIn


Tell us about yourself?

I am a New Englander that arrived in Eugene, Oregon after discovering planning during an assignment at my previous job. After deciding to make a career change to planning, I knew I was most interested in transportation issues. Currently, I study the interactions within transportation systems that manifest inequitable outcomes to better understand the impacts on quality of life from economic, ecological, and social perspectives. I also serve as Co-President for the student organization LiveMove at the University of Oregon. The group promotes active transportation...

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The 101st annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is coming up January 9 - 13, 2022, and has returned to an in-person gathering in Washington, D.C. Supported by funding from the U.S. DOT, research from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities will be featured at this annual gathering.

Below we've rounded up some highlights of research being presented by transportation experts from our participating NITC-funded campuses: Portland State University (PSU), University of Oregon (UO), University of Utah (UU), University of Arizona (UA), and University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Please check out our full NITC guide for all of the sessions:

*Due to the evolving status of speaker attendance and TRB programming for next week, please check your TRB schedule for the most current information in the event...

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The National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research consortium, led by Portland State University, has awarded $530,419 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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