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:

DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION FILES (COMING SOON: JAN - FEB 2022)

*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 of changes.*

NITC Research Highlights at TRB 2022

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NITC research led by Reid Ewing of the University of Utah, examining impacts that the built environment and development patterns have on transportation, has produced a number of journal articles in the past year. Three 2021 articles highlighted below each focus on different aspects of the body of work, which revolves around polycentric development and trip generation.

A May 2021 article in the Journal of Transport Geography estimated a vehicle ownership model that contributes to our understanding of vehicle ownership and improves the accuracy of travel demand forecasts. "The built environment and vehicle ownership modeling: Evidence from 32 diverse regions in the U.S.," authored by Sadegh Sabouri, Guang Tian, Reid Ewing, Keunhyun Park and William Greene, draws on findings from the NITC project Key Enhancements to the WFRC/MAG Four-Step Travel Demand Model

Two main outcomes of this paper are:

  1. The number of vehicles owned by a household increases with socio-demographic variables and decreases with almost all of the built environmental variables. For the urban planning and design practices, this finding suggests that car shedding occurs as built environments become more dense, mixed, connected,...
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Roadside construction – be it a detour, a closed lane, or a slow weave past workers and equipment – work zones impact traffic flow and travel times on a system-wide level. The ability to predict exactly what those impacts will be, and plan for them, would be a major help to both transportation agencies and road users. Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, the latest Small Starts project led by Abbas Rashidi of the University of Utah introduces a robust, deep neural network model for analyzing the automobile traffic impacts of construction zones.

The top three causes of non-recurring traffic delays are crashes, work zones, and adverse weather conditions, with work zones accounting for 10% of all non-recurring delays. Precise work zone impact prediction could significantly alleviate fuel consumption and air pollution.

"Machine learning and deep learning are powerful tools to build different types of data and predict future situations. Using AI for analyzing data is the future of transportation engineering in general," Rashidi said.

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) collects various types of data related to work zone operations. Working with these data, Rashidi and graduate research assistant Ali Hassandokht...

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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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How can we use a variety of data-driven speed management strategies to make transportation safer and more efficient for all modes–whether you’re driving, walking or taking transit?

The project was led by Yao Jan Wu, director of the Smart Transportation Lab at the University of Arizona. Co-investigators were Xianfeng Terry Yang of the University of Utah, who researches traffic operations and modeling along with connected automated vehicles, and Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University, whose research has focused on improving signal timing to better serve pedestrians. Join them on Sept 15, 2021 for a free webinar to learn more.

"We want to improve mobility for all users, be it pedestrians, vehicle drivers or transit riders, and there are different strategies to do this. How do we harness data to drive us to these strategies?" Kothuri said.

Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), this multi-university collaboration addressed the question from three angles:

  • Wu and his students in Arizona looked at the impact of speed management strategies on conventional roadways...
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Research demonstrates that marginalized populations experience significant barriers in accessing transit. The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) and the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative (HRAC) at Portland State University are working with the University of Utah in a project funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) to understand how people from selected historically marginalized communities experience discrimination and harassment on transit and in public areas such as sidewalks, bus stops, and transit platforms when accessing transit.

The study will be conducted in two sites: Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah. In Portland, the study population will include racially and ethnically diverse people experiencing homelessness and people who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming; and ride TriMet. In Salt Lake City, the study population will include people experiencing homelessness as well as diverse groups based on their gender, racial, and ethnic identity; who ride Utah Transit Authority. We are seeking transit riders to help inform the study through photos and interviews. Participants will be compensated up to $50 for their labor. The researchers will be recruiting participants for this study through the end of August. 

PARTICIPATION INVOLVES:

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Brandon Siracuse recently earned his master's degree in city and metropolitan planning from the University of Utah. While at the U of Utah he worked as a research assistant, earned a NITC scholarship, and served as an officer in the university's transportation student group, Point B. As of June 2021, he now works as a planner for the City of Council Bluffs, IA. Before enrolling in his master's program, Brandon worked as a full-time intern at the Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation in St. Louis, where he primarily did GIS work and data analysis to aid in the nonprofit organization's community planning efforts. Brandon is interested in land use, transportation, and the intersection of the two, and is particularly passionate about active transportation.

Connect with Brandon on LinkedIn

Tell us about yourself?

I am originally from Omaha, NE, and I have also had the great privilege of getting to live in St. Louis and Salt Lake City. I got my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Saint Louis University, and while I was there I realized I wanted to become an urban planner. I recently graduated from the Master of City and Metropolitan Planning program at the University of Utah, where I served as secretary and then treasurer...

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Dr. Sadegh Sabouri, the newest PhD graduate of the University of Utah's Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, will be working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this coming fall as a postdoctoral researcher. Sadegh (Sadi for short) has worked on numerous NITC projects with his advisor Reid Ewing, and has presented this work in two NITC webinars: New Travel Demand Modeling for our Evolving Mobility Landscape and Transportation Benefits of Polycentric Urban Form

Follow Sadi: LinkedIn | Twitter

Recent publications include an article in Landscape and Urban Planning, "Exploring the relationship between ride-sourcing services and vehicle ownership;" another in Transportation Research Part D on "...

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Led by Xiaoyue Cathy Liu of the University of Utah (UU) and funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, researchers have created a web-based modeling tool (see GitHub repository built for the Utah Transit Authority) that enables U.S. transit providers to explore the impacts of changing over their systems to electric buses*. The researchers ran the model for TriMet in Portland, OR as well, with TriMet results and analysis presented in the final report (PDF).

"The interactive visualization platform lets users explore various electric bus deployment budget scenarios, so that transit agencies can plan the most cost-effective way to transition their fleet from diesel to electric buses – while prioritizing disadvantaged populations," Liu said.

The research team, at University of Utah, Portland State University (PSU), and University of California, Riverside, set out to answer three questions: 

  1. What costs and benefits are associated...
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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

DOWNLOAD NITC PRESENTATION FILES

NITC AT TRB 2021 HIGHLIGHTS

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