As we get older, transportation provides a vital link between home and community. Without reliable and easy ways to get around, many older adults (especially those who live alone) have limited access to essentials like groceries and medicine, let alone social interaction. A new report from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), Developing Strategies To Enhance Mobility And Accessibility For Community-Dwelling Older Adults, looked at the mobility challenges, barriers, and gaps that older adults experience, with an eye toward developing forms of assistance or educational strategies to fill those gaps.

Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) with additional support from The Senior Source, the interdisciplinary research team from the University of Texas at Arlington included Kate Hyun, Caroline Krejci and ...

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Rethinking Streets for Physical Distancing, the third in our "Rethinking Streets" book series, has been released. The book offers 25 case studies from a broad swath of U.S. cities with a handful of international examples of streets that were redesigned to better accommodate people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rethinking Streets is a design guidebook series produced by NITC researchers at the University of Oregon, led by Marc Schlossberg. The three books are:

These full-color design guides have proven popular with planners and...

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Salt Lake City overview on a sunny day
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...

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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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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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In 2014, NITC published a study on racial bias at crosswalks under a Small Starts grant. Read coverage of that project in the New York Times and Washington PostThe next phase of the research is now complete, with more comprehensive findings. 

Principal InvestigatorKimberly Kahn, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page. Hear firsthand from the PI by tuning in for the webinar on...
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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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A new NITC report examines factors that predict whether a driver will comply with Oregon laws aimed at keeping pedestrians safe.

Miguel Figliozzi of Portland State University, director of the Transportation, Technology & People (TTP) research lab, has done extensive work in Portland, Oregon modeling and analyzing the complex interactions between cars, transit, traffic signal technologies and human roadway users.

The research seeks to provide a better understanding of the tradeoffs between traffic mobility, transit performance and pedestrian access.

The first phase of Figliozzi’s research focused on how two advanced traffic control technologies work together. In this second phase, he zeroes in on pedestrian safety.

The report examines traffic and trajectory factors that explain whether a driver complies with Oregon law, which has strong pedestrian protections. In Oregon, drivers must stop for pedestrians as soon as they move onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed.

Oregon state law determines that there is a crosswalk at every intersection with or without a marked crosswalk. The state also requires that a driver, before crossing a crosswalk, stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until the pedestrians...

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A new NITC report offers a multimodal framework for transportation impact analysis – a welcome tool for professionals in many cities seeking more detailed data about non-drivers.

Improving Trip Generation Methods for Livable Communities, a research project headed by Kelly Clifton of Portland State University and Nico Larco of the University of Oregon, is the latest effort in an ongoing collaboration to create more open sourced, widely available data about non-motorized road users.

Over the last decades, cities have become more invested in fostering the conditions to support walking, biking and public transit.

The land development process presents a unique challenge.

Prior to a zoning change or new development, someone has to determine what its impact on the transportation system will be, and whether upgrades will be necessary to accommodate travelers to the new destination. Trip generation is the first step in the conventional transportation forecasting process.

Current trip generation methods used by engineers across the country tend to focus on motorized modes.

Without reliable trip generation rates for anyone but drivers, the transportation impact is difficult to predict. Certain land uses will draw far more walkers,...

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Sirisha Kothuri (PI) and Chris Monsere, Portland State University and Edward Smaglik, Northern Arizona University

Pedestrians often have to wait longer than drivers for the light to change. Increased delay for pedestrians can lead to noncompliance, which can have a negative impact on safety. Most planning efforts geared toward those on foot have tended to focus on safety, but pedestrian efficiency is also...

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