The USDOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) 7thAnnual UTC Spotlight Conference on Sustainable Energy and Transportation: Strategies, Research, and Data was held on November 8-9 in Washington, DC and featured OTREC energy related research from Portland State University and Oregon State University. This year’s conference focused on promoting dialogue and coordination among University Transportation Centers (UTCs), federal agencies, industry, and state and local agencies on research to address the complex and challenging issues concerning sustainable energy and transportation. The plenary and breakout sessions focused on research to improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and identify of effective strategies to promote USDOT's strategic goals. As the U.S. moves toward a performance-based transportation bill, energy-focused environmental sustainability is expected to become one of the pillars against which success is measured if it is to become a national priority.

Dr. B. Starr McMullen, Oregon State University, took part on a plenary panel discussion on the interconnection of energy use, pricing and finance and highlighted two OTREC funded projects The Relationship Between VMT and Economic Activity and...

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Staff from OTREC at Portland State University toured three partner campuses to prepare for the first round of projects under the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program, or NITC. Portland State, the University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Utah teamed up for the program, funded with a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The University of Utah was the first to receive a visit, March 19-20, in Salt Lake City. There, NITC executive committee member Keith Bartholomew hosted tours and meetings. Staff met with student representatives from various disciplines and with potential researchers from across campus before meeting potential community partners at the Utah Transit Authority offices. OTREC finance and communications staff members met with their University of Utah counterparts.

The meetings marked the first connection for much of the Utah faculty and OTREC staff. While the University of Oregon and Oregon Tech were already partners under the original OTREC grant, the NITC program marks Portland State and Utah’s first formal collaboration under the federal University Transportation Centers program.

On April 9, staff met with current and potential transportation researchers at the University of Oregon along with...

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The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Portland State University $3.5 million for research and education on sustainable transportation topics, the department announced today. The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), the university transportation center based at PSU, will administer the grant.

OTREC, a partnership between PSU, the University of Oregon and the Oregon Institute of Technology, will join with the University of Utah to carry out the grant. This award reaffirms OTREC’s evolution into one of the nation’s leading transportation livability research centers and provides the resources to address national problems strategically.

Research and educational programs under the grant will focus on the following topics:

  • Improving health and safety for all users
  • Increasing the efficiency and understanding of cycling, walking and transit
  • Making the best use of data, performance measures and analytical tools
  • Integrating multimodal transportation with land use
  • Taking long-term action on transportation emissions and climate change.

PSU was one of 63 applicants for 22 grants. The grant competition challenged university transportation center leaders to demonstrate the ability and experience to produce the country’s best transportation research and educational programs. “In five years, OTREC has advanced the state of research on topics such as the connections between transportation...

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Even with uncertainty clouding the future of university transportation research, more than 150 people from around the country showed their dedication to providing the most useful transportation research at the Council of University Transportation Centers2011 summer meeting. OTREC hosted the conference June 13-15 at Portland State University.

University transportation researchers and staff, along with federal and state transportation officials, convened for three days of work sessions, meetings and exploring. OTREC-organized tours gave a Portland flavor to the proceedings, letting visitors explore the city by every available transportation mode. The 4T trail took participants on a light-rail train, a trail, an aerial tram and a streetcar (or trolley). The bike tour showed off the bicycle infrastructure that is making Portland nationally known. An architecture walking tour highlighted downtown Portland’s buildings and parks. And the food-and-beer tour explored the city’s burgeoning food-cart scene and copious microbreweries.

For many people, the conference provided the...

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The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation heard testimony earlier this month crafted by OTREC regarding continued funding for transportation research and University Transportation Centers.

On June 14, Lynn Peterson, Sustainable Communities and Transportation Policy Advisor to Governor John Kitzhaber delivered testimony (Read The Full Statement Here) prepared by OTREC, the Oregon Department of Transportation and others on how transportation research can maximize the return on investment of taxpayer dollars when it comes to transportation projects. The testimony was given to ensure continued federal support and funding for transportation research in the state of Oregon. In particular, Peterson requested continued support of University Transportation Centers (UTCs), like OTREC.

“The next transportation authorization needs to continue to provide a means of addressing the needs of applied and advanced research which is regional and national in scope,” Peterson said in the testimony. “In Oregon, we have developed a very successful model of collaboration between our research universities and between (OTREC), (ODOT) and local governments. This collaboration allows us to stretch our resources further and leverage our expertise and funding across our institutions, and ensures that research is able to be put into...

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Oregon was well-represented at the Transportation Research Boardís 87th Annual Meeting, January 13-17, 2008 in Washington, D.C. More than 15 faculty participated and presented research in numerous poster sessions and workshops and served as presiding officers for various sessions, committees and subcommittees. In addition, we are pleased that more than 20 students also attended, many of them presenting research work in poster and regular sessions. OTREC staff attended the annual meeting of the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC), and the 2007 OTREC Student of the Year, Oren Eshel, was recognized at the CUTC banquet. In addition, OTREC and the Region X UTCs (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) hosted a reception at the beginning of the conference week. A summary of OTREC faculty and student participation can be found here: TRB 2008.

OTREC welcomed Robin Kline, Amy Stearns and Lydia Mercado from the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) on November 5. They met with OTREC staff, university leadership and the OTREC Executive Committee. A poster session and reception was held in the afternoon, where RITA staff heard from faculty principal investigators and students who are working on OTREC projects. Members of the OTREC Board of Advisors also met the RITA representatives. RITA oversees the University Transportation Center program, through which OTREC receives federal funding.

Prof. Robert Bertini has joined the Transportation Northwest (TransNow) Advisory Committee, effective January 2007. TransNow is the Region X University Transportation Center, established in 1988 as one of the original 10 regional UTCs administered by the USDOT. Bertini has served as a PI on several past TransNow projects, has provided peer reviews on previous TransNow proposals and final reports, and also works with TransNow as a partner in the Northwest University Transportation Consortium.

Prof. Robert L. Bertini attended the 2006 Summer CUTC Meeting in Big Sky, Montana, June 21-23. The meeting was hosted by the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University-Bozeman. The meeting offered new UTC directors and other personnel the opportunity to learn more about the UTC program, and to participate in CUTC planning and discuss major functional components of the UTC/CUTC program.

Prof. Robert Bertini attended the University Transportation Center Plenary Session in Washington, D.C. in April 2006. This two-day plenary session provided general information about where current and prospective UTC Program participants could receive information and engaged participants in general discussion about the broad research, development and technology goals of USDOT. Participants also learned about UTC Program goals and requirements under SAFETEA-LU, and heard about UTC grant preparation, approval, administration, oversight and best practices.

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