Street icons for bicycle and pedestrian
Photo by Cait McCusker
Nathan McNeil, Portland State University; Kristin Tufte, Portland State University

In the past decade bike and pedestrian count programs have sprung up all over the United States, gathering data to evaluate biking and walking infrastructure. However, these modes have not been studied with the quantitative rigor applied to motor vehicle travel. A research project funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), led by Nathan McNeil of Portland State University (PSU), offers a method for monitoring the quality of this bike-ped count data.

"There has been an effort to...

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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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Bicyclists cross an intersection with a bike signal, near a red car
John MacArthur, Portland State University

What if your bicycle could warn you that a car is coming from a side street you can't see? Or let you know that your front tire is getting a little low, or that you're approaching a pothole that wasn't there yesterday? A NITC research project led by John MacArthur of Portland State University explores how connected vehicle (CV) technologies could encourage an increase in bicycling. As CV technology moves forward in the rest of the transportation system—with buses and connected streetcars requesting early green lights from the traffic signals, and cars chatting with each other about their locations and trajectories—there may be...

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Automatic bicycle counter showing how many cyclists have passed today, and this year.
Principal Investigator:  Sirisha Kothuri, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by reading about the Pooled Fund research grant that started it, or the Project Overview page.

BIKE/PED COUNT SURVEY: CALL FOR INPUT

Researchers at Portland State University, University of Texas at Arlington, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Toole Design Group are conducting a scan to identify locations where bicycle counts are taking place around North America, and hope to enlist your help! If you collect bike count data (or oversee counts) in your jurisdiction, please consider taking our quick survey to tell us a little bit about your count locations and data.

The survey can be accessed here: tinyurl.com/BikeCounterScan

THE NEW PROJECT

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A bicyclists rides down a neighborhood greenway
Principal Investigator: Jenny Liu, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the Executive Summary and the full Final Report, or watching the January 2018 seminar on the Project Overview page.

Portland, Oregon's 2035 Comprehensive Plan calls for “City Greenways” - a citywide network of park-like streets focused on moving pedestrians and bicycles safely. Such a connected network of safe, welcoming active transportation options could have significant benefits for residents—but which residents?

Benefits of bike and pedestrian infrastructure include environmentally sustainable transportation, livability, and improvements in economic development and public health. While these outcomes are well documented, it is also known that both transportation and environmental amenities are typically unevenly distributed in the urban context....

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Left: Bicycles on a trail; Right: Young woman buying transit pass

The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is soliciting proposals for our two 2018 Pooled Fund projects:

RFP now open; proposals due Oct 1, 2018

This project will address the need of cities and municipalities to combine bicycle data from different sources (such as manual counts, automatic counts, and crowd-sourced data from apps such as Strava) to assess an accurate accounting of bicycle traffic on a network. Current work on data fusion techniques is limited and additional research is needed to fully understand the choice of weighting techniques, inclusion of spatial vs. temporal variation in the weighting scheme and exploring other...

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Principal InvestigatorIvis Garcia, University of Utah
Learn more about this research by viewing the related presentations and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

Students in the University of Utah’s Westside Studio investigated how to improve access to downtown from the west side of Salt Lake City.

Led by Ivis Garcia, the project's goal was to learn from residents about their use of an existing multi-use path, the Jordan Park River Trail, and to help enhance the connection between residents living near the trail and the downtown area on the river's east side.

Students surveyed 300 residents and conducted focus groups, which revealed that many area residents either didn't know about the trail or didn't perceive it as a safe place to walk. Local community leaders also visited the class and shared their expertise with students.

"A lot of elements of the course were around teaching community engagement and action," Garcia said.

In order to enhance users'...

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Psychology teaches us that implicit biases—attitudes we hold on a level below consciousness, and may not even be aware of—can have a heavy influence on split-second decisions.

In a fast-paced activity like driving, with a lot of moving parts in a complex environment, we make those snap decisions all the time. There are obvious safety implications to this, particularly for the most vulnerable road users. That’s why TREC researchers are becoming more and more interested in studying implicit bias and social psychology as it relates to transportation behavior.

The latest report from the NITC program, Exploring Drivers’ Attitudes and Behaviors toward Bicyclists: The Effect of Explicit and Implicit Attitudes on Self-Reported Safety Behaviors, is a dissertation by NITC fellow Tara Goddard.

With a focus on driver-cyclist interactions, Goddard dives into the social psychology of roadway interactions and comes up with some interesting takeaways for practitioners and researchers. Before moving to Portland in 2011 to begin her Ph.D., Goddard was the bicycle/pedestrian coordinator for the City of Davis, California, and says that it’s important to understand the mechanisms at...

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While it’s generally accepted that dense, mixed-use development promotes active travel, researchers don’t have a consensus on exactly how, and to what degree, land use determines people’s travel patterns.

NITC’s latest report, Active Travel Behavior and Spatial-Temporal Land Use Mixing, provides some clarity on the topic.

NITC fellow Steven Gehrke focused his dissertation research on transportation-land use interaction, and sees land use mix as a multidimensional construct.

“We can refocus—away from increasing density—and think more about how we configure land uses,” Gehrke said.

According to Gehrke’s research, more density does not necessarily equal more walking. Rather, the complementarity, composition, and configuration of land use types is essential for cultivating walkability.

Gehrke, who graduates this spring with a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Portland State University, conducted three empirical studies under his dissertation grant. The first focused on improving measurements of land use mix, introducing a land use mix measurement of the composition and configuration of local land use types.

The second study looked at other smart growth principles, like employment concentration and pedestrian-...

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