The seminars are supported by the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC).
Andrew H. Aebi
The planning process identifies community needs but often needs the creative use of financial leverage to make those projects a reality on the ground. Timing is important on Local Improvement District (LIDs), and the window of opportunity is often short.
For Portland's Bureau of Transportation, managing the public's desire for streets in good condition with room to walk and bike safely and accommodating freight movement and population growth can be a tall order. Add in the need to work with water, sewer and underground utilities, and things get complicated.
When needs exceed resources, smart strategies can help fill the gap. Andrew Aebi, Portland’s LID Administrator, will discuss four LID projects which will provide better walking and biking options for residents, improve infrastructure, and support smart land use for Portland's growing population. Most importantly, he will describe how creative problem-solving and careful negotiation can successfully achieve commitments to fund the projects and improve neighborhoods.
Alexander Y. Bigazzi
Are the Biketown bikes too heavy? Does better gear motivate people to cycle more? How much faster will someone go on an e-bike?
Although urban cycling is widely known as physically active transportation, the actual physics of cycling have been given little attention in transportation engineering and planning. In contrast, the field of sports science has developed detailed data and models of road bicycle performance, but only for sport and racing cyclists.
What can we learn about utilitarian cycling by integrating knowledge of the physical attributes of bicycles and cyclists?
This seminar examines the ways in which bicycle physics, and the physiology of cyclists, can influence outcomes of interest to transportation professionals, from speed and stopping distance to cycling frequency and health benefits. Findings will be presented from recent and ongoing studies aiming to quantify these relationships and enhance travel analysis tools with an understanding of the physical aspects of cycling.
Modes including ridehailing, bikeshare, and e-scooters offer the potential to revolutionize how people travel. But as cities and agencies work to integrate these new services into the existing transportation landscape, the equity implications of these modes remain murky.
This talk presents research on ridehail travel and equity from Los Angeles and compares the equity outcomes of ridehailing to the previous status quo embodied by taxis. The research highlights both the promise of new mobility services and the remaining obstacles to delivering equitable access. Findings yields implications for policies that cities and planners can advance to ensure that new travel modes boost mobility for all, not just some, travelers.
Gonçalo H. A. Correia
Automated driving has become a hot topic of research in different fields of science. Despite the great advancements in the vehicle technology itself, researchers are now concerned in figuring out what will be the impacts of these vehicles in life as we know it. These impacts can be rather broad from traffic safety to the economy. In this lecture, Goncalo will focus on the research that is being done at TU Delft, a leading university in automated vehicles’ (AVs) impacts research, focusing on urban areas and how mobility, and even the city itself, can change with fully-automated vehicles. Goncalo Correia will be covering impacts on the value of travel time, traffic congestion, land use, among others. This is work in progress that requires the involvement of all researchers interested in the topic, thus, in that sense, the lecture is intended more to foster research questions and methods than on giving final answers, which are still a bit far away.
From Complete Streets policy implementation to stronger community engagement, bus rapid transit expansion to waterfront redevelopment—and so much more!—Vancouver, Washington, is on the move. Directly across the river from Portland, Oregon, the City of Vancouver serves as the southern gateway to Washington State; the City encompasses over 50 square miles, and, with a population of nearly 185,000, Vancouver is the fourth largest city in Washington (behind Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma and just ahead of Bellevue). As Vancouver embarks on an update to the 15-year-old Transportation System Plan, learn about how the City is striving to transform the existing transportation system through more collaborative programs and more efficient measures. Smaller and suburban cities face unique challenges in growing metropolitan areas with economic and demographic shifts—and these communities must balance multiple, sometimes differing, expectations that the transportation system will provide everyone with an excellent level of service. In the changing landscape of ever-improving mobility options, advancing technology, and evolving best practices, find out how Vancouver is working to ensure that the transportation system operates as safely, efficiently, and innovatively as possible.
With the on-going disruption of the transportation industry and rapid advancement in ITS technologies; emerging smart cities, navigation systems and autonomous transportation, the need for highly accurate geospatial localization has never been more crucial. These technologies demand that we have more granular location information of vehicles not just on a road, but to a specific lane on the road.
This presentation will give a pedagogical style summary and overview of some of the on-going research work at HERE Technologies and how we have pushed the state-of-the-art in lane-localization of noisy GPS probe data using novel Machine Learning Algorithms and how some of these innovations is being applied to power new products for real-time traffic, routing and navigation systems, maps for autonomous vehicles, incidents and safety services.
An example of such product is Split Lane Traffic (SLT)
Split Lane Traffic (SLT) detects divergent traffic speeds at highway junctions with exit ramps. It is the first traffic product that provides lane maneuver guidance information to drivers based on lane-level traffic conditions ahead thereby giving better navigation experience and a more accurate routing and ETA.
Gabe Graff and Kelly Betteridge
Over the past two years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and TriMet have joined forces to identify, design and build capital and operational treatments to help buses move more quickly and reliably through Portland’s increasingly congested Central City. Already the densest concentration of people and jobs in Oregon, Portland’s Central City is growing fast and increasing the speed and reliability of transit is key to achieving our City and region’s transportation, climate and livability goals. Working in partnership on PBOT’s Central City in Motion plan and TriMet and Metro’s Enhanced Transit Corridor program, the two agencies have identified a series of bus lanes in the Central City that will make transit faster and more reliable throughout the region. Project staff will discuss how projects were identified and trade-offs weighed, share the most recent designs, and discuss the benefits to transit riders and the region, with a focus on approaches to the Hawthorne, Steel and Burnside bridges.
While the overarching objective of the transportation system is to provide mobility, it should be developed and operated under the framework of a safe system with the aspirational goal to establish a system on which no road user can be severely or fatally injured. To accomplish such a safe system, it is necessary to effectively harness all the core protective opportunities provided by the system. This includes the street design and operations, user behavior, vehicle design, protection systems, and EMS. The common thread across these layers is speed. This is directly driven by the quadratic relationship between velocity and kinetic energy, and the necessity to provide safe and structured dispersion of kinetic energy at the onset of a safety-critical event. The presentation will describe ongoing research that examines what happens when we no longer design each of the individual safety components to provide a desirable level of protection for a certain circumstance, but that it can contribute to a larger joint entity (i.e., the system) and can exhibit the required level of safety.
The Community Cycling Center has been working with youth through the "Big Jump: Gateway to Opportunity" project. We'll be discussing our exploratory educational model and the ways the project can increase accessibility and opportunity for the youth living and learning in the Gateway neighborhoods.
Michelle Marx and Francesca Patricolo
Pedestrian safety and access is an equity issue. In Portland, inadequate pedestrian infrastructure and traffic safety concerns disproportionately impact low-income communities and people of color. The City is attempting to rectify these inequities through PedPDX, Portland’s new citywide pedestrian plan (anticipated for adoption in Spring 2019). PedPDX prioritizes sidewalk and crossing improvements and other investments, policies, strategies and tools to make walking safer and more comfortable across the city.
Come learn about the strategies PedPDX is using to address transportation equity in Portland, including establishing a data-based prioritization for citywide pedestrian investments, identifying roadway and behavioral characteristics most closely correlated with pedestrian crashes in order to prioritize needs before crashes happen, using pro-active outreach to engage disproportionately impacted residents, and applying innovative pedestrian design and policies to address pedestrian infrastructure needs.
Briana Orr, John MacArthur, and Jennifer Dill
Portland's E-Scooter Pilot made national news for its proactive and data-driven approach to exploring the role of e-scooters in our transportation system. One of the first cities to implement a comprehensive data sharing agreement with e-scooter providers, Portland now has a lot of findings to share. This Friday Seminar will dive into both the data collected and the experiences of Portlanders during the pilot. We’ll discuss what worked well, unexpected findings, and considerations for future new mobility pilots. Download the E-Scooter Findings Report (released Jan 2019) here.
New mobility options such as bike share, scooters, and transportation network companies (e.g. Uber) are proliferating across the United States and beyond. Early research has shown that while the private automobile continues to be the main competition for transit, new mobility options may also be siphoning off some riders. In this seminar, we will explore what the role of public transportation should be in this era of rapidly expanding private transportation options. We will also examine how private transportation could be harnessed to help public transportation succeed and allow for cities to meet their mobility goals.
The Success of an Integrated Mobility Strategy: Lessons from the Netherlands for the Pacific West Coast
Lucas van der Linde
The Netherlands sets the standard for their multimodal connectivity. It has world's highest use of cycling and an integrated mobility network with an efficient transport system. During this seminar, Lucas will tell more about the Dutch Approach and how this could be applied to the American transportation context.
Lucas will use the case of the Bay area to show this. The Bay Area in California currently faces massive challenges in transportation because of the enormous growth of the region. With the use of a new innovative modelling tool, the Move Meter (http://www.movemeter.com/), Lucas will show the potential of an integrated multi-modal mobility strategy for the Bay Region: it results in less congestion and a more sustainable mobility pattern. The realization of mobility hubs are important in this. During this presentation the results of the study will be presented. Moreover, a short preview is shown of what the application of this approach would mean for Portland.
This seminar will present ongoing research into how integrated social, natural, and engineered systems can improve life safety under threat of multi-hazards. The targeted scenario is a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, threatening communities along 1,000 miles of the US Pacific Northwest coastline.
Since the mid-1980’s scientific evidence has underscored the possibility of such an extreme event, and it has taken at least another decade or more before public attitudes and policy have begun to adapt to this new hazard. Life safety is a pressing issue for the near-field CSZ tsunami hazard for several reasons.
- First, there is limited time from the start of the earthquake to when the tsunami arrives to the shore–20 to 30 minutes depending on location–compared to several hours for the case of a distant tsunami across the Pacific Ocean.
- Second, evacuations will be self-initiated, relying on an individual’s perception of risk and knowledge of correct course of action.
- And third, unlike other natural disasters such as river floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes which are more easily imagined, the rarity of tsunami events in the U.S. make the tsunami scenario difficult to visualize.
This seminar will present the results of an agent-based tsunami evacuation model to explore how decisions on when to leave, route choice, mode (on foot or by car) and unplanned disruptions affect life safety. This work is applied to case studies: one in Seaside, Oregon and a second at Oregon's South Beach State Park. These projects developed close collaboration with a number of organizations responsible for public safety during the response to extreme natural hazards, including the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Oregon Sea Grant, and internationally.
The Datafication of Cycling – Effects and Opportunities at the Intersection of Industry and Transport Policy
This seminar will provide a brief overview to Shaun Williams’ "Datafication of Cycling" PhD project. The main aim is to understand how volunteered app data, provided by cyclists, are used to inform transportation planning practice and policy. There is an emerging body of academic work calling for digital aspects of cycling – such as app data - to be considered by transportation authorities. This project builds upon these contributions and asks: Are new forms of cycling data contributing to increased cycling provision and infrastructure? The Datafication of Cycling Project runs from 2017 – 2021 and includes visits to Portland (Oregon) and Copenhagen (Denmark). If you would like to find out more about the project, or to get involved, please feel free to contact Shaun directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unobserved Heterogeneity and Spatial Correlation: Statistical and Econometric Analyses of Heavy-Vehicle Hard Braking and Crash Frequency
In heavy-vehicles (a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds), a hard braking event is described as an event that prompts the vehicle’s “black box” to record an abrupt change in speed. More specifically, this occurs when the driver applies excess force to the vehicle’s brake. These hard braking events can then serve as a proxy for several factors, such as economic impacts, environmental impacts, and impacts on safety. In the context of the present study, being that approximately one-third of all heavy-vehicle-caused crashes in 2014 were attributed to faulty brakes, there is a need to better understand heavy-vehicle hard braking and its impact on safety for all highway users. Therefore, the current study utilizes a previously unused freight data source to identify statistically significant heavy-vehicle hard braking hot spots.
Upon merging several datasets, crash data is spatially joined to the hard braking hot spots to conduct a crash frequency analysis of the four crash types that occurred most often: rear-end crashes, turning movement crashes, fixed-object crashes, and sideswipe (overtaking) crashes. Applying advanced statistical and econometric methods, a set of random parameters models and a set of spatial lag models were fit to determine if accounting for unobserved heterogeneity or spatial correlation provides better parameter estimates, overall model fit, and higher prediction rate of crash frequencies for crashes at heavy-vehicle hard braking hot spots. Results show that several exposure-based variables impact the expected number of crashes, such as traffic volume, roadway characteristics, posted limits, etc. In terms of the preferred modeling framework, the spatial lag models provided a slightly better overall fit and correctly predicted more crash counts for the given datasets. This suggests that transportation agencies and safety practitioners should explore the impact of spatial correlation (as well as unobserved heterogeneity) when conducting safety analyses and generating specific safety performance functions.
While public transit has a reputation as a potential means to ameliorate the adverse environmental effects of automobile travel, there have been very few empirical studies of the marginal effect of transit supply on air quality. We explore whether any of the substantial improvement in air quality observed in the U.S. from 1991 to 2011 can be attributed to increased public transit supply by developing an equilibrium model of transit and automobile travel volumes as a function of the level of transit supplied. We then empirically analyze the effects of the level of transit supply on observed ambient pollution levels by applying an instrumental variables approach that accounts for the potential endogeneity of public transit investment to a panel dataset of 96 urban areas across the U.S. over the years 1991-2011. We analyze the effects of the level of transit supply on the following criteria pollutants: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. We find that—at the margin, and given existing urban travel regulations in place—there is no evidence that increased transit supply improves air quality; in fact, transit appears to lead to a small deterioration in overall air quality.
In 2016 the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published a Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures that presents methods for measuring walking and bicycling performance and activities and embedding them into the transportation planning and decisionmaking process (U.S. Department of Transportation 2016). Building on the 2016 guidebook, this resource focuses on pedestrian and bicycle network connectivity and provides information on incorporating connectivity measures into state, metropolitan, and local transportation planning processes.
Connectivity measures can help transportation practitioners identify high priority network gaps, implement cost-effective solutions that address multiple needs, optimize potential co-benefits, and measure the long-term impacts of strategic pedestrian and bicycle investments on goals such as improving safety, system efficiency, network performance, and access to key destinations. Toward that end, this resource should be used in conjunction with self-evaluation and transition plans to evaluate needs for pedestrians with disabilities.
What Is Multimodal Network Connectivity? Connectivity is one of several concepts commonly used in transportation performance measurement to describe the ease with which people can travel across the transportation system. At its simplest level, network connectivity addresses the question, "Can I get where I want to go easily and safely?" Multimodal network connectivity adds the dimension of travel choices to the picture: "Can I get where I want to go easily and safely in whatever way I choose-for example, walking, bicycling, using transit, or driving?" A connected multimodal network allows people to travel by whatever mode they choose, including people who do not drive or do not have access to a motor vehicle.
Key Components of Pedestrian and Bicycle Network Connectivity This guidebook outlines five core components of multimodal network connectivity, as listed below, with a focus on pedestrians and bicyclists. While these components are all related, the distinctions between them provide a framework for selecting connectivity measures that address specific questions. The guidebook describes analysis methods and supporting measures associated with each of these components:
- Network completeness - How much of the transportation network is available to bicyclists and pedestrians?
- Network density - How dense are the available links and nodes of the bicycle and pedestrian network?
- Route directness - How far out of their way do users have to travel to find a facility they can or want to use?
- Access to destinations - What destinations can be reached using the transportation network?
- Network quality - How does the network support users of varying levels of experience, ages, abilities, and comfort with bicycling or walking?
Part of the Student Presentations from TRB
Pedestrians and bicyclists are the most vulnerable road users and suffer the most severe consequences when crashes take place. An extensive literature is available for crash severity in terms of driver safety, but fewer studies have explored non-motorized users’ crash severity. Furthermore, most research efforts have examined pedestrian and bicyclist crash severity in urban areas. This study focuses on state roads (mostly outside major urban areas) and aims to identify contributing risk factors of fatal and severe crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists in state roads. The results seem to suggest that besides improvements in roadway characteristics, additional countermeasures to reduce crash severity for vulnerable users should include educational campaigns, more strict control of alcohol intoxicated drivers, and protection strategies of senior pedestrians.
Private companies and public officials are seeking sustainable and cost effective ways to green supply chains and freight deliveries. There is enthusiasm regarding the potential benefits that innovative technologies such as drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can generate. This presentation discusses key issues and insights that arise from modeling the logistical, and environmental performance of UAVs.
In less than a decade, the ride-hailing industry, led by Uber and Lyft, has dramatically transformed the way we travel in our metro regions. Rider adoption of these on-demand mobility services has proceeded much quicker than our understanding of their impacts to our urban transportation systems. Planning for this transformation in personal mobility, which will have unintended consequences, has been made more difficult by the scarcity in meaningful data made available by these ride-hailing companies. Public agencies responsible for managing congestion and transit services are hindered in their ability to successfully plan for the integration of this emergent travel mode without access to these valuable data.
In response, Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council conducted an intercept survey of nearly 1,000 passengers to understand who uses ride-hailing services, what types of trips are performed using these new mobility options, and how these services impact more established travel modes. Perhaps expectedly, most ride-hailing passengers were under the age of 35, use ride-hailing on a weekly basis, and do not own a car. Remarkably, however, 59-percent of surveyed ride-hailing trips added new vehicles to the region’s already congested roadways, with 42-percent of respondents stating they would have used public transit if ride-hailing was unavailable. These and other important findings provide a window of insight into the extent of ride-hailing utilization in the Boston Region and help to foster a greater dialogue about the need for data provision mandates to guide effective policy decisions.
Travis Bradley Glick
Congestion and travel delay on urban roadways can influence operating costs and service attractiveness. This research uses high resolution bus data to examine sources of delay on urban arterials. A set of tools was created to help visualize trends in bus behavior and movement; this allowed larger traffic trends to be visualized along urban corridors and urban streets. By using buses as probes and examining aggregated bus behavior, contoured speed plots can be used to understand the behavior of roadways outside the zone of influence of bus stops. Speed plots can be utilized to discover trends and travel patterns with only a few days’ worth of data. Congestion and speed variation can be viewed by time of day and plots can help indicate delays caused by intersections, crosswalks, or bus stops. This type of information is important to transit authorities looking to improve bus running times and reliability. Congested areas can be detected and ranked. Speed plots can be utilized to reevaluate bus stop locations, e.g. near-side vs. far-side, and to identify locations where improvement are needed, e.g. queue jump lanes. Transportation agencies can also benefit from this type of information because arterial performance measures are difficult to estimate.
The Transportation Wallet is one of Portland’s newest parking and transportation demand management (TDM) strategies, designed to reduce parking demand while simultaneously offering new mobility options by bundling transit and bike share passes into one consumer product. Two of Portland’s managed parking districts have elected to add a surcharge to the cost of on-street parking permits, a portion of which is used to subsidize the cost of the Transportation Wallet. Residents and employees in the parking districts are eligible to purchase the Transportation Wallet at a fraction of the retail cost. As an added incentive to increase parking supply, people can trade in their on-street parking permits in exchange for free Transportation Wallets. Since the program’s full implementation in the past year, the number of parking permits issued in the districts has noticeably declined. Wallet holders report they are taking transit and bike share trips more, some of whom are new riders altogether, and many report driving less. The impact of the Transportation Wallet on the overall transportation system is promising, as people are replacing car trips throughout the city, with the highest concentration being in the two parking districts. Planning is already underway to expand the Transportation Wallet to offer more mobility options to a greater audience in more Portland neighborhoods.
Aaron Golub and Vivian Satterfield
There is an active debate about the potential costs and benefits of emerging “smart mobility” systems, especially in how they will serve communities already facing transportation challenges. This presentation will describe the results of an assessment of these equity impacts in the context of lower-income areas of Portland, Oregon, based on a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research.
Portland, Oregon’s proposal for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, “Ubiquitous Mobility for Portland,” focuses on developing mobility solutions that would serve traditionally underserved populations (low-income, communities of color, and residents with mobility challenges). This study found that by lowering costs and improving service for public transit, ridesharing and active transportation, smart mobility systems could address many of the needs of transportation disadvantaged communities. Significant barriers exist, however, which prevent smart mobility technologies from benefiting all communities. For example, lower income survey respondents and respondents of color had significantly lower access to drivers’ licenses, bank accounts and credit cards, and also rely more heavily on paying cash for transit tickets. Lower income respondents and respondents of color had lower access to Internet at home and work and were more likely to reduce data use or cancel cell plans because of cost or data restrictions. Respondents were also concerned about information security, as the impacts of loss or theft, especially identify theft, can be devastating for lower-income residents.
Since integrating payment systems and relying on Internet and cell data for mobile applications is a core feature of smart mobility systems, these disparities are significant barriers to the equitable transition to smart mobility. Policy recommendations to address equity include expanding free and public WiFi, better real-time transit information, improved training, and language translation for phone applications, among other things.
Transportation Impacts of Affordable Housing: Informing Development Review with Travel Behavior Analysis
Planning for affordable housing is challenged by development policies that often do not differentiate between the travel patterns of residents of market-rate housing and those living in affordable units. The development review process generally requires an evaluation of the anticipated additional transportation demand that new development places on the system and an assessment of fees or improvements to mitigate these impacts.
However, industry standard guidelines for assessment of travel demand outlined within the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Trip Generation Handbook have been focused solely on vehicle trip rates for these traffic impact analyses. Given the public goals of providing affordable housing in areas with good accessibility and transportation options, there is a need to reduce unnecessary costs imposed by the potential over-estimation of automobile travel and its associated impacts. During the course of this seminar, we will discuss the importance of examining the influences of urban characteristics, residential housing type, and income on metrics commonly used to assess the transportation impacts of new development.