Salt Lake City overview on a sunny day
Oct 06, 2020
Photo by AndreyKrav
Reid Ewing, University of Utah

 A "polycentric" region is a network of compact developments (centers) that are connected with each other through high-quality transportation options. As the antidote to sprawling suburbs, compact centers can encourage all the things that sprawl discourages: public health, environmental sustainability, social cohesion, and economic diversity. But how can metropolitan planning organizations ensure that their...

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Image: Salt Lake City overview on a sunny day. Text reads: Transportation Benefits of Polycentric Urban Form, Jan 19, 2021.
Sep 29, 2020
 

OVERVIEW

A “polycentric” region consists of a network of compact developments connected with each other through high-quality transportation options. Rather than continuing the expanse of low-density development radiating from an urban core, investments can be concentrated on central nodes and transit connections. This development pattern is very popular in Europe and is linked to significant benefits. This presentation is aimed at exploring the academic literature and empirical evidence surrounding polycentric development, analyzing more than 120 regional transportation plans to see how they promote polycentric development, defining types of centers in a hierarchy of centers, quantifying the transportation benefits of polycentric development, examining a case study of best practices, and, finally, outlining context-specific strategies for Salt Lake County and the Wasatch Front region.

KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Regional transportation plans suffer from a lack of consistent indicators to designate centers and guide their developments.
  • On average, households living in centers tend to make fewer and shorter automobile trips, take transit more, walk more, and bike less.
  • Tours (a sequence of trips that begins and ends at home) associated with centers consist of more sustainable commuting modes than ones that are completely outside the centers.
  • The built environment thresholds and relevant tools provided in our...
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A bus stop with a shelter, bench, and sidewalk showing people boarding the bus
Aug 10, 2020
 

OVERVIEW

Improving bus stops by providing shelters, seating, signage, and sidewalks is relatively inexpensive and popular among riders and local officials. Making such improvements, however, is not often a priority for U.S. transit providers because of competing demands for capital funds and a perception that amenities are not tied to measurable increases in system effectiveness or efficiency. This webinar focuses on the role that bus stops play as the point of first contact between transit agencies and their potential riders, and how the quality of that contact can influence both ridership and accessibility for riders with mobility-related disabilities. The webinar will use results from recent research sponsored by NITC and the Utah Department of Transportation looking at possible impacts that bus stop improvements made by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) have had on stop-level ridership and demand for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services. The results demonstrate how investments in bus stop facilities are not amenities, as they are frequently referred to, but essential elements of infrastructure necessary to provide access to transit and, by extension, to opportunities and essential services. Stops are, through this frame, conceptualized as an element of transportation justice.

KEY LEARNING TAKEAWAYS

Bus stop...

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A streetcar crosses a road with a bicycle signal, with a light rail train visible on an overpass overhead.
Jul 28, 2020

The National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) research consortium, led by Portland State University, has awarded $1.14 million in total funding for eleven research projects spanning five universities. This year we focused funding on disaster resilience (including transportation in the era of COVID-19) and improving mobility in marginalized and underserved communities. Several projects examine how emerging technologies can be leveraged to create safer, more sustainable transportation systems for everyone.

Understanding Connections Between Mobility, Transportation, And Quality Of Life In Refugee Communities In Tucson, Arizona ($101,839
Led by Orhon Myadar, Maia Ingram, Nicole Iroz-Elardo and Arlie Adkins of the University of Arizona

Data-Driven Optimization for E-Scooter System Design ($67,619)
Led by Jianqiang Cheng and Yao-jan Wu of the University of Arizona

Understanding the Mobility Impacts of Decentralizing Homeless Services on Mobility in Salt Lake City ($100,206)
Led by Sarah Canham and Ivis Garcia of the University of Utah

Pedestrian...

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Jake Gallaher, alongside a photo of a bike lane at an intersection in Salt Lake City, Utah. Text reads, "Student Spotlight: Jake Gallaher, University of Utah."
Jun 04, 2020
Jake Gallaher is a graduate assistant at the University of Utah's College of Architecture and Planning. He is a leader in Point B, the University of Utah's transportation student group, and his work with that group focuses on improving bicycle safety. Jake earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Ohio Northern University in 2019. In 2018 he served as an engineering intern at SDS Mechanical & Automation.

LinkedIn


Tell us about yourself?

I am entering my second year in the Master of City and Metropolitan Planning program at the University of Utah. I’m originally from Ashville, Ohio and I received my B.S. in civil engineering from Ohio Northern University in 2019. Shortly after, I picked up from Ohio and moved to Salt Lake City where I’ve been enjoying hiking around in the Wasatch Mountains and exploring a new city outside of my studies.

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

Ever since I was a little kid, I could be found studying, or drawing maps. The transportation system as a whole has always been a curiosity of mine and ultimately...

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Jun 03, 2020

The University of Utah has a new transportation faculty member: Andy Hong, formerly the Lead Urban Health Scientist at the University of Oxford's George Institute for Global Health. At Oxford, Hong has been co-leading an effort to establish a center devoted to the "new science of cities and health." His research in that area is focused on active transportation and its correlates with human and public health.

Andy is also Co-founder of the Healthy Cities Network, a global nexus of innovators dedicated to sharing cutting-edge information on urban health. He has collaborated actively with international experts, particularly for the development of evidence-based policy solutions to a wide range of global health challenges, from promoting physical activity to reducing the environmental burden of disease in marginalized communities. Learn more about Andy Hong.

The University of Utah is pleased to welcome this new addition to their faculty, and looks forward to working with Dr. Hong to improve communities.

The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is one of seven U.S. Department of Transportation...

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Connected Vehicles Illustration showing icons of wifi over a road
Apr 01, 2020
Image by metamorworks/iStock
Xianfeng Yang, University of Utah; Mingyue Ji, University of Utah

Now that we are decades into the Age of Information, it's increasingly important to minimize the age of information: that is, to make sure the information we have is the very latest.

In the world of connected vehicle technology, Age of Information (AoI) is a concept that was introduced in 2012 to quantify the “freshness” of knowledge about the status of remote systems. The latest NITC...

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Connected Vehicle System Design for Signalized Arterials
Mar 05, 2020
 

PRESENTATION ARCHIVE

OVERVIEW

It can be expected that connected vehicles (CVs) systems will soon go beyond testbed and appear in real-world applications. To accommodate a large number of connected vehicles on the roads, traffic signal control systems on signalized arterials would require supports of various components such as roadside infrastructure, vehicle on-board devices, an effective communication network, and optimal control algorithms. In this project, we aim to establish a real-time and adaptive system for supporting the operations of CV-based traffic signal control functions. The proposed system will prioritize the communication needs of different types of CVs and best utilize the capacity of the communication channels. The CV data sensing and acquisition protocol, built on a newly developed concept of Age of Information (AoI), will support the feedback control loop to adjust signal timing plans.

Our multidisciplinary research team, including researchers from transportation engineering and electrical engineering, will carry out the project tasks along four directions that capitalized on the PIs’ expertise:

  1. Data collection and communication, in which the proposed system will...
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a visualization of trips entering and exiting Salt Lake City
Mar 03, 2020
Nikola Markovic, University of Utah

The University of Utah has a new data visualization service to offer to state DOTs and other agencies. Using Small Starts funding from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), researcher Nikola Markovic and his team have developed a suite of visual analysis tools to demonstrate how GPS trajectory data can help accurately model and analyze mobility trends. These data are typically purchased from vendors, which means that transportation agencies must...

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TRB
Feb 05, 2020

We've collected posters and presentations of NITC research at TRB. Explore the links below to see what NITC researchers brought to D.C. this year—the below projects have a connection to NITC funding, but are not necessarily representative of the full body of work that researchers at these institutions brought to the annual meeting.

Check out our TRB 2020 photo album here!


Portland State University

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