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Relevant Research

IBPI conducts, supports, and disseminates important research about innovative bicycle and pedestrian topics. Research is conducted by IBPI staff and fellows, affiliated faculty, and students of planning, urban studies, and engineering.

New infrastructure evaluation

Lessons from the Green Lanes

Sept. 16, 2016–Dec. 31, 2017

This project was a comprehensive analysis of separated bicycle facilities in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; Memphis, Tennessee; and San Francisco, California. Video observation was used to evaluate safety and operations, and user surveys (of bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians) assessed attitudes, perceptions, preference, use, and understanding. The Portland State team worked closely with practicing profe­­­ssionals in these cities as part of the project, including conducting site visits to all cities and meeting with city staff on multiple occasions. Findings from the study included suggestions for clarifying and improving turning and mixing zones at intersections; improved understanding of the perceived safety benefits of various types of bike lane buffers; and insights into the importance of protected bike lanes in encouraging more women, traditionally underrepresented among bicyclists, to ride a bicycle for transportation. The project was funded by People for Bikes and the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, the federal university transportation center based at Portland State. (Monsere, Dill, Clifton, McNeil)

Evaluation of Bicycle Facilities in the District of Columbia

Jan. 1, 2011–Apr. 1, 2012

Portland State teamed with Kittelson and Associates, Inc. and Toole Design Group on this research effort to evaluate new cycling facilities in Washington, D.C., including cycle tracks on Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street. The Portland State research team developed, implemented and analyzed surveys of 505 cyclists, 239 pedestrians and over 1,000 nearby residents, as well as analyzing video of cyclist, motorist and pedestrian interactions and volumes. The study found that bicyclist volumes nearly quadrupled on the study routes, and facility users and residents had had positive perceptions of the facilities. (Monsere, McNeil, Dill)

Evaluation of Innovative Bicycle Facilities

July 1, 2010–Jan. 14, 2011

Portland State University evaluated two innovative bicycle facilities installed in downtown Portland, Oregon in 2009, including a cycle track on SW Broadway and couplet of buffered bike lanes on SW Oak Street and SW Stark Street. Retrofitting existing roadway space by restriping and removal of a motor vehicle lane enabled the creation of these facilities. This study evaluated both perceptions of users through surveys as well as impacts on traffic flow, operations and user interactions through video analysis. The study was funded by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation and findings helped inform improvements on each of the facilities, including the use of green coloring in the buffered bike lanes to differentiate them from motor vehicle lanes, and the addition of a curb-accessible ADA drop-off mixing zone on a section of the Broadway cycle track. (Monsere, McNeil, Dill)

Evaluation of Bike Boxes at Signalized Intersections

Oct. 1, 2008 – Jan. 31, 2010 (Phase I), Oct. 1, 2010–Sept. 15, 2013 (Phase II)

Portland State University conducted an evaluation of two sets of bike boxes installed in Portland, Oregon.  Right-hook crashes are a common crash pattern affecting right-turning vehicles and through or stopped bicycles. Bike boxes are an innovative technique used at signalized intersections to increase visibility and safety for cyclists. The first phase of the study evaluated 12 bike boxes installed in 2008 as part of the first large-scale installation of this treatment in the United States. This phase used before-and-after video collection and review, along with surveys of bicyclists and motorists to assess user comprehension, safety, and the impact of green coloring in the bike box. Phase one found that users generally understood where to stop, though the green coloring increased correct stopping behavior in cyclists.  Conflicts decreased and yielding increased in video observations, but the rarity of conflicts made the significance of the safety findings weak. A second phase was undertaken to focus on more hours of video review and a greater number of bicycle-motorist interactions. (Monsere, Dill, McNeil)

Operational Guidance for Bicycle-Specific Traffic Signals

Dates: Oct. 1, 2011–Sept. 15, 2013

As more cities promote and expand the usage of signalized traffic controls specific for bicycles, this project was initiated to develop a set of comprehensive engineering guidelines. This research project produced a synthesis of current practice and collected important observational data that informs critical engineering design and operational guidance. The state of the practice document was cited in FHWA’s recent interim approval of bicycle-specific signals. The objectives of the research were to develop engineering guidelines for the need for and design of bicycle-specific traffic signals, and to develop operational guidelines for timing and phasing of bicycle-specific traffic signals or modifications that can be made to existing signals to better accommodate bicycles. (Monsere)

Improved Pedestrian Safety at Signalized Intersections Operating the Flashing Yellow Arrow

Oct. 1, 2011–Dec. 31, 2012

Though many operational and safety issues have been studied about the flashing yellow arrow (FYA), this research investigated factors (e.g., opposing traffic volumes, pedestrian volumes, pedestrian expectation, intersection geometry, phasing sequence) that influence driver behavior in the context of the permissive left-turn conflict with pedestrians. Specifically, the research studied driver glance behavior to identify reasons why drivers are "looking at but not seeing" pedestrians in or near the crosswalk or not searching for the presence of pedestrians at all. We proposed recommendations for what situations warrant additional pedestrian protection, such as exclusive phasing. (Monsere)

Contextual Guidance at Intersections for Protected Bicycle Lanes

Nov. 1, 2015–Jan. 31, 2017

Cities around the United States are increasingly seeking to modernize and enhance their bicycling infrastructure with the aim of accommodating a greater number of people who are willing to bicycle for transportation. Cities are employing separated (or protected) bike lanes in greater numbers. Efforts to address crash risk have focused on two main philosophies: 1) reduce separation prior to the intersection by channeling bicyclists toward motor vehicle traffic, and 2) maintain separation at intersections. The first philosophy is accomplished through creating mixing zones or truncated bike lanes, which increase mutual visibility and, in some cases, move turning motorists across through bicyclists prior to the intersection. The second philosophy is accomplished through separating movements in time (e.g., with a bike signal and protected phase) or, by maintaining protection to the intersection to channel bicyclists away from traffic to provide motorists additional space and time to see and react to cyclists (e.g., with protected intersections). In this project, PSU researchers are first seeking to identify and document a breadth of intersection design types, informed by a review of existing designs, literature, and current best practices. In the second phase, the research team will prepare and follow a data collection and analysis plan to identify and isolate successful design elements and potential countermeasures, and allow us to make recommendations on the preferred treatment selection and design elements to maximize user comfort. (Monsere, McNeil)

Towards Effective Design Treatment for Right Turns at Intersections with Bicycle Traffic

Sept. 10, 2013–April 25, 2014

This project for the Oregon DOT sought to quantify the safety performance of alternative traffic control strategies to mitigate right-turning vehicle-bicycle crashes at signalized intersections in Oregon. Past collision data were reviewed in detail to identify the frequency and severity of crashes by intersection lane configuration and traffic control. Based on these efforts, a two stage experiment was developed in the OSU high-fidelity driving simulator to investigate the causal factors of right-hook crashes at signalized intersections with a striped bike lane and no right-turn lane, and to then identify and evaluate alternative design treatments that could mitigate the occurrence of right-hook crashes. Experiment 1 investigated motorist and environmental related causal factors of right-hook crashes, using three different motorist performance measures: 1) visual attention, 2) situational awareness (SA) and 3) crash avoidance behavior. Experiment 2 evaluated several possible design treatments, (specifically: signage, pavement markings, curb radii, and protected intersection designs), based on the visual attention of motorist, their crash avoidance behavior, and the severity of the observed crashes. The resulting analysis of the driver performance indicators found that all treatments had some positive effect on measured driver performance. (Monsere)

Evaluation of Bicyclists Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution along Distinct Facility Types

Aug. 1, 2012–June 30, 2014

While bicyclists and other active travelers obtain health benefits from increased physical activity, they also risk an uptake of traffic-related air pollution. But pollution uptake by urban bicyclists is not well understood due to a lack of direct measurements and insufficient analysis of the determinants of exposure (particularly characteristics of the transportation system). This knowledge gap impedes pollution-conscious transportation planning, design, and health impact assessment. The research presented in this report generates new connections between transportation system characteristics and pollution exposure for bicyclists. The primary research questions are: 1) How does urban bicyclists’ exposure to air pollution vary with roadway and travel characteristics? and 2) To what extent can transportation-related strategies reduce exposure? These questions are addressed with an exhaustive review of the literature, an on-road data collection campaign, advanced statistical modeling of the empirical data, and synthesis of findings. Novel methods to collect and integrate bicycle, rider, traffic, and environmental data are introduced. (Figliozzi)

Addressing Bicycle-Vehicle Conflicts with Alternate Signal Control Strategies

Aug. 1, 2015–Dec. 31, 2016

In urban areas, intersections are locations where a variety of modes converge, thus increasing the propensity for conflicts. Many bicycle-vehicle crashes occur at intersections. A common crash type involving bicycles at intersections is the “right-hook” where a right-turning vehicle collides with a through bicyclist. Intersections are also the source of increased stress for many bicyclists where the interactions with cars are more pronounced. Geometric treatments such as pavement markings, bike boxes, colored lanes, and shared right-turn lane designs have been implemented in an attempt to alleviate the problem. While the use of signal timing treatments has been limited until now, cities are beginning to explore treatments such as leading bicycle intervals, split leading bicycle intervals and exclusive phasing using bicycle specific signals. While exclusive phasing eliminates the bicycle-vehicle conflict by separating the phases and restricting turns, the trade-off is a decrease in efficiency at the intersection with increased delays for all users. An emerging operational treatment at intersections is to provide a split leading bicycle interval (split LBI), with concurrent green for bicycles, pedestrian walk and green for the through vehicles while restricting or essentially delaying the right turn for vehicles. After a certain time, the restriction on turns is lifted. The same treatment could also be used for pedestrians and offers advantages over the traditional leading bike and pedestrian intervals (LBI, LPI) in that there is no lost time for through vehicles. This study will evaluate various signal timing control strategies that are designed to minimize conflicts between bicycles, pedestrians and turning vehicles using micro simulation, deployment and video based conflict analysis to study efficiency and safety impacts. (Kothuri, Monsere)

Creating Livable Communities through Connecting Vehicles to Pedestrians and Cyclists

April 1, 2015–Sept. 30, 2016

The U.S. DOT has embarked upon a major research program toward implementing connected vehicle safety technologies, applications and systems using short-range communication technologies (e.g., DSRC). These technologies may potentially address up to 82 percent of crash scenarios with unimpaired drivers, preventing tens of thousands of automobile crashes every year. States, regions and cities will benefit from initial scoping, evaluation, and assessment of the impact of connected vehicles and infrastructure and a range of potential cooperative system applications. CV applications have a great potential to fundamentally transform the development and deployment of your future transportation system and communities. Most of the research and implementation projects have focused on V2V and V2I applications that improve mobility and vehicle safety, with some focus on pedestrian-vehicle conflicts (U.S. DOT 2014b). Some of those applications are Red Light Violation Warning, Blind Spot/Lane Change Warning, Right Turn Warning, Mobile Accessible Pedestrian Signal System. Vehicle-to-People (V2P) or V2X applications have not been as extensively developed and tested as other CV applications. How can these technologies and applications, such as DSRC, be used by pedestrians and cyclists to improve their safety and reduce vehicle conflicts? Can access to travel information improve mobility options and achieve environmental outcomes? This project will explore the linkages and opportunities with connected vehicles and infrastructure to pedestrians and bicycles. Building on U.S. DOT exploratory research in this area, this project will assess current V2P applications, the state of the knowledge, barriers, gaps, current applications and develop a research agenda. (MacArthur)

Data

Online Non-motorized Traffic Count Archive

April 1, 2014–December 31, 2016

Jurisdictions around the country are collecting non-motorized traffic count data, but the lack of a centralized database inhibits data sharing and greatly reduces the utility of this important and growing dataset. Lack of access to count data has led some transportation professionals to assume that cycling and walking levels are close enough to zero to be ignored. To remedy this, we will create a national online non-motorized traffic count archive. This archive will include online input, data reformatting and validation functions, data visualization and analysis tools, and the ability to download user-specified data and exchange the data with other databases and applications. These features will provide safety researchers with a measure of exposure to collisions, will give educators data to better include cycling and walking in their curricula, will provide local agencies with seasonally adjusted estimates of daily non-motorized traffic at their short duration count sites, and will provide policymakers and transportation professionals with basic information on cycling and walking that will inform decisions and plans around the country. Access to a centralized non-motorized traffic data archive will open the door for innovation through research, design, and planning; provide fundamental performance metrics for planning and funding decisions; and allow policymakers and transportation professionals to better support the public’s desire for livable communities. Ongoing work includes improvements to its usability for both data providers and data users, specifically transportation professionals. To improve usability, area transportation planners will be invited to participate in an idea gathering session to help design an “Explore Data Page.” The purpose of this page is to allow transportation planners (data users) ready access to the non-motorized count data available in Bike-Ped Portal in a way that is useful and attractive to them. The page may include graphical displays (maps, graphs, etc.) and/or summary statistics. The work also includes other usability improvements including data quality communication improvements, user interface improvements for data providers, maintenance, adding data to the archive, software testing, spreading the word to potential data users, and inclusion of National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project (NBPDP) data. (Hagedorn, McNeil)

Evaluating the Use of Crowdsourcing as a Data Collection Method for Bicycle Performance Measures and Identification of Facility Improvement Needs

Dec. 3, 2013–Dec. 31, 2014

Although there is a great body of knowledge and practice to measure motorized vehicle highway infrastructure performance levels and activity, the same cannot be said about bicycle infrastructure performance and network usage. Although the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) collects some bicycle/pedestrian data, the quality and quantity of bicycle data are not as abundant as the data collected for motor vehicles. In particular, there is scant information regarding bicyclist routes (origin-destination) and adequacy of existing bicycle facilities. (Figliozzi)

Bicycle and Pedestrian Traffic Monitoring Data Quality

Aug. 1, 2016–Dec. 31, 2017

Cycling and walking are sustainable modes of transportation which improve community livability, but these modes have not been studied with the quantitative rigor applied to motor vehicle travel. This research aims to change that by improving bicycle and pedestrian traffic monitoring data quality. This research will address the question, how can erroneous data best be identified through automated processes? The research team will answer this question by analyzing continuous bicycle and pedestrian count data stored in Bike-Ped Portal, a National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) funded data archive of bicycle and pedestrian count data which currently contains over four million count records from five states. Techniques such as directional distribution, interquartile range checks, continuous annual average daily traffic (AADT) percent difference checks, continuous monthly average daily traffic (MADT) percent difference checks, and number of consecutive zeros have been identified by others and will be explored to identify known errors while avoiding flagging normal variation. The goal of this research is to create a practical method to quality check bicycle and pedestrian traffic counts. (McNeil)

Application of Interactive Video Sensing and Management for Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Studies

Aug. 1, 2012–June 30, 2014

As video data collection and storage technologies become ubiquitous and inexpensive, transportation agencies struggle to process and extract useful information from growing libraries of archived video data. Although there are some sophisticated, specialized applications for transportation agencies, these are either proprietary and/or too expensive to be widely deployed. The goal of the project is to create an interactive, video sensor processing system which will combine computer vision techniques into a user-friendly interface that can be easily "programmed" by researchers to study some of the most frequent traffic safety issues such as vehicle and pedestrian conflicts in the time-space plane or bicycle compliance with traffic signals. We will be leveraging the OpenCV computer vision libraries made available via open-source from Intel and programming the user-friendly interface. The goal is to allow practitioners to more easily provide the semantics of the information they wish to extract and process into the video processing algorithms. (Feng, Monsere, Figliozzi)

Utilizing Ego-centric Video to Conduct Naturalistic Bicycling Studies

Aug. 1, 2014–June 30, 2016

Cyclists (and pedestrians) are the most vulnerable road users since cyclist-vehicle collisions often result in severe injuries and have high fatality rates with respect to other types of collisions. In particular, intersections are one of the most critical areas in a road network given the high number of conflicts and accidents occurring at these locations. This research will utilize ego-centric videos to better understand cyclist behavior at intersections. Ego-centric videos captured by cameras mounted on a cyclist's helmet capture the first-person cycling experience and contain rich information for understanding cyclist behavior. The goal of this project is to develop a platform to collect naturalistic bicycling data and computer vision techniques to automatically reason about cyclist behavior from the captured ego-centric videos. This project will develop dedicated computer vision techniques that are able to efficiently and robustly extract cyclist behavior data from the ego-centric videos. The outcome of this project will enable naturalistic bicycling studies. The proposed platform will also be utilized to evaluate how cyclists perceive and react to bicycle specific traffic signals. (F. Liu, Figliozzi)

Planning and Designing an On-line Implementation Resource of Innovative Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities

July 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2015

This project aimed to provide local agencies an online resource to share technical information related to the latest research, design, implementation, and evaluation of innovative facilities such as cycle tracks, bike signals, bike boulevards, bike boxes, pedestrian crossings, and the interaction between transit operations and bike facilities. Portland State developed the framework for such a resource, working to design the database and a user-friendly web interface. At the same time, the team developed content for the database, including and inventory of innovative facilities, documents, a case study format, research syntheses, and inventory of relevant research, and a synthesis of research by facility type. To ensure that this resource be relevant and useful to end users, the team worked closely with practitioners. Current project activities include building out the inventory to populate the web page and opening the resource for others around the country to contribute content. (Dill, McNeil)

Modeling

Improving Regional Travel Demand Models for Bicycling and Pedestrians

Oct. 1, 2008–Dec. 31, 2009

When policymakers look to boost cycling by building new bicycle routes, they have little research to determine whether cyclists will actually use them. The primary tool used by public agencies to plan urban transportation systems – travel demand models – rarely includes bicycles as a separate mode. This keeps cycling facilities at a disadvantage compared to motor vehicle infrastructure. Researchers tracked cyclists with GPS units and modeled their route choices, determining the attractiveness of paths, bike boulevards and the effect of intersection design, turns and slope. Among the findings: Cyclists will go 26 percent out of their way to use a separated path, 18 percent to use a bike boulevard; Cyclists will detour 16 percent of their trip to avoid a left turn at a busy intersection with no traffic light; Each additional turn is equal to adding 7 percent of the trip distance. The research has been incorporated into the regional travel demand model that helps inform regional and local transportation investments. (Dill)

Design and Implementation of Pedestrian and Bicycle-Specific Data Collection Methods in Oregon

Aug. 1, 2012–Aug. 1, 2013

This project helped to develop a statewide system to collect data or plan future data collection efforts in the state of Oregon. This research conducted a comprehensive review of pedestrian and bicycle data collection methods and counting technologies. Oregon data sources were also compiled and AADT estimation techniques were reviewed and applied to Oregon data. A pilot study was conducted to test bicycle and pedestrian counting methods at signalized intersections with 2070 controllers. The pilot study was conducted at a typical suburban signalized intersection with heavy motorized traffic that was instrumented on all four approaches with pedestrian push buttons and advance inductive loops in the bicycle lane for signal operation. One day (24 hours) of video data were collected as ground truth. The data were reduced and compared to the controller logs. Results indicated that utilizing pedestrian phases as a proxy for estimating pedestrian activity is a promising avenue for future application at a statewide level at signalized intersections. A total of 596 pedestrians used the intersection while 482 pedestrian phases were logged, resulting in an average of 1.24 pedestrians per phase logged. However, bicycle counts were not as accurate, due to a number site-specific factors: (1) inductive loop location, (2) loop sensitivity settings, (3) loop shape, and (4) nearly half of the bicycle volume through the intersection was riding on the sidewalk. (Monsere, Figliozzi)

Incorporate Emerging Travel Modes in the Regional Strategic Planning Model (RSPM) Tool

Aug. 1, 2015–Dec. 31, 2016

The Regional Strategic Planning Model (RSPM) is a performance-based planning tool first developed by Oregon State DOT (as GreenSTEP) and later adapted for use by other states in the form of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool (EERPAT) and the underlying basis of the SHRP2 C16 Smart Growth Area Planning software (SmartGAP). As the popularity of the RSPM tool grows and application cases expand, there is recognition that a deeper understanding is needed to determine how mode choices and mode share may be impacted by policy and investment decisions and how these mode choices further influence performance outcomes of the transportation system. The project will examine, along with existing modes, emerging travel modes, including car sharing, bike sharing, and autonomous vehicles, with stated preference (SP) experiments, and incorporate these new options into the RSPM tool. By incorporating these modes in the mode choice module, this project will make the RSPM tool sensitive to policies and investment targeted to shift mode share and enable it to evaluate futures in which these modes may become the mainstream, besides contributing to the emerging body of research that aims to better understanding these modes. (Wang, Dill, Clifton)

Improving Trip Generation Methods for Livable Communities

Jan. 1, 2015–June 30, 2016

Current trip generation factors and methods used by engineers across the country do not accurately estimate travel from types of development key to livable communities, such as mixed use and infill development, and focus on motorized modes. This project addresses that problem, building upon two prior efforts, one in Oregon and one in California. Data from these prior projects will be pooled, creating a combined sample of over 180 sites in a variety of urban contexts. We will use these pooled data to further refine and validate trip generation methods, including: expansion of the number of land use types considered, addition of mixed-use developments, the role of site design and micro-scale built environment measures, and estimation of person trips including those made by non-automobile modes. (Clifton)

Better Representation of the Pedestrian Environment in Travel Demand Models

Oct. 1, 2011–Aug. 31, 2013

There is growing support for improvements to the quality of the walking environment, including more investments to promote pedestrian travel. Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are improving regional travel demand forecasting models to better represent walking and bicycling and to expand the evaluative capacity of models to address policy-relevant issues like air quality, public health, and the smart allocation of infrastructure and other resources. This report describes an innovative, spatially disaggregate method to integrate walking activity into trip-based travel models. Using data for the Portland, OR, metropolitan area, the method applies trip generation at a new micro-scale spatial unit: a 264-foot-by-264-foot (80-meters-by-80-meters) pedestrian analysis zone (PAZ). Next, a binary logit walk mode split model—using a new pedestrian environment measure—estimates the number of walk trips generated. Non-walk trips are then aggregated up to larger transportation analysis zones (TAZs) for destination choice, mode choice, and traffic assignment. Finally, there are opportunities for choosing destinations and for routing of the PAZ pedestrian trips. This method improves travel models’ sensitivity to policy- and investment-related walking influences, and it could operate as a standalone tool for rapid scenario analysis. (Clifton)

Development of a Pedestrian Demand Estimation Tool

Jan. 1, 2014–March 31, 2016

A previous project developed a pedestrian modeling framework for use in four-step travel demand models. This project builds off of the successes of the authors’ previous work, continues the collaboration with Metro, and extends the pedestrian demand estimation tool’s functionality to encompass pedestrian destination choice. Specifically, this project developed statistical models of pedestrian choice behavior, predicting the distribution of walk trips generated (from the previous project) to destinations also at a small spatial scale. The findings from this work (and the previous phases of this study) have informed the pedestrian modeling efforts in Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles, California; and Montreal, Quebec. (Clifton)

Transferability & forecasting of the Pedestrian Index Environment (PIE) for modeling applications

Aug. 1, 2016–Dec. 31, 2017

There have been important advances in non-motorized planning tools in recent years, including the development of the MoPeD pedestrian demand model (see above). This tool and others are increasingly requested by governments and agencies seeking to increase walking activity and create more walkable places. To date, the MoPeD tool has been piloted with success in the Portland region using data unique to Metro, the metropolitan planning organization. However, there is increasing interest from planning agencies within and outside of Portland and Oregon (e.g.: City of Tigard, OR; Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities, MN; San Francisco Public Health Department, CA) about adapting the pedestrian modeling tools for use in their own jurisdictions. Among the most critical needs are the standardization and forecasting of model inputs, particularly measures of the built environment. In this next phase of our pedestrian modeling work, we propose focusing on making our measures, models, and methods more transferable to other locations. Specifically, we will re-evaluate, compare and test our pedestrian index of the environment (PIE) measure using data resources more commonly available to planning agencies across the country. (Clifton)

Oregon Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Analysis

June 15-August 15, 2014

In a project for the Oregon Department of Transportation, Dr. Kelly Clifton provided analysis of bicycle and pedestrian travel behavior data to inform the statewide bicycle and pedestrian plan. As part of the project, Clifton developed a tool to estimate total bicycle and pedestrian demand as a function of the commute data from the American Community Survey, socio-demographics and the built environment. (Clifton)

Travel behavior

Increasing Bicycling for Transportation: The Role of Cyclist Type and Infrastructure

Oct. 1, 2010–Sept. 15, 2013

This research sought to provide a scientific basis for understanding the market for “potential bicyclists” in the Portland metro region by employing a random phone survey (n=908) of adults that included both land-line and mobile phone numbers. Through a series of questions asking respondents about their stated level of comfort cycling on a variety of facility types, their interest in cycling more for transportation and their physical ability to bicycle, people were placed into one of four categories. Originally developed by the City of Portland, the categories were: Strong and Fearless, Enthused and Confident, Interested but Concerned, and No Way No How. The findings indicated that a majority (56%) of the region’s population fit in the Interested but Concerned category – thought to be the key target market for increasing cycling for transportation. In addition, reducing traffic speeds and increasing separation between bicycles and motor vehicles, such as through cycle tracks, may increase levels of comfort and cycling rates. Women and older adults are underrepresented among the more confident adults and those who currently cycle for transportation. (Dill, McNeil)

Understanding Cycling Interest on a National Level

Jan. 1, 2014–Jan. 30, 2016

Expanding on the Four Types of Cyclists study, this research teams with the National Association of Realtors to conduct a national survey to gauge how many people, across a variety of national contexts, fall into the different categories of the typology, including the Interested but Concerned people who might bicycle if conditions were right. The research also seeks to understand the role of bicycle infrastructure in housing decisions. Specifically, what role does bicycle infrastructure play in people’s housing decisions, and what is the demand for more bikeable neighborhoods? Among key finding were a general consistency of the typology breakdown between past research in Portland and this national survey, along with the lack of significant differences between regions in this national survey. For planning efforts, it appears that around a third of the population is in the no way no how group and a plurality (or majority) in the interested but concerned group. The research provides insight into approaches that may be successful in converting the interested but concerned into active cyclists. (Dill, McNeil)

Effects of Traffic Calming Bicycle Boulevards on Physical Activity and Active Transportation

Feb. 1, 2010–Dec. 31, 2013

The overall aim of this research was to evaluate the effects of bicycle boulevards on the physical activity of families with children. The project collected longitudinal data from more than 300 families using surveys, GPS and accelerometers. The findings examined changes in physical activity and travel for both recreation and transportation; relationships between parents’ and children’s activity; and the influence of other correlates, including socio-demographics, social factors, attitudes, and other physical environment factors. As part of the project, the Portland State team developed a series of tools to process and analyze GPS data, including imputing mode and linking GPS trip traces to the transportation network (Dill, McNeil)

Understanding and Measuring Bicycling Behavior: A Focus on Travel Time and Route Choice

April 6, 2007–Sept. 30, 2008

Given the potential for bicycling for utilitarian travel, why aren't more people cycling? There is very little research in the U.S. on bicycling. One area where data are lacking is on the effect of different types of infrastructure, such as bicycle lanes or paths, on bicycling. This research project aimed to fill that data gap. The project used global positioning system (GPS) technology to record where a sample of 164 adults in the Portland, OR, region rode their bicycles. Data were collected from March through November 2007. The data focus on trips made exclusively on a bicycle, excluding trips where, for example, the participant took his/her bicycle on transit. This report used data to address four primary research questions: (1) How often, why, when, and where do cyclists ride? How does this vary based upon rider characteristics?  (2) How do cyclists’ routes differ from the shortest network distance? (3) What factors influence cyclists’ route choice decisions? How do personal attributes influence these decisions? (4) What is the difference in travel time between bicycling and driving? (Dill)

Contextual Influences on Urban Trip Generation

Oct. 1, 2010–Sept. 30, 2011

The goal of this research was to understand how urban trip generation and mode shares varied across urban contexts for similar types of businesses, and develop a method to adjust the data in the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Handbook to better reflect these differences. The project collected information from four land use types (restaurants, drinking establishments, convenience stores, and supermarkets), and involved about 90 different sites throughout the Portland, OR, region. Findings revealed diversity in mode shares across the region, including bicycling, and that infrastructure supports were highly associated with the choice to cycle. The project was funded by Oregon Transportation Research & Education Consortium (OTREC) with additional support from Metro and other communities in the region. The findings from this research were reflected in the changes to the Institute for Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Handbook 9th Edition (2015) and have helped to shape the national state of the practice with respect to trip generation data collection and analysis. (Clifton)

Travel Mode Choice Framework Incorporating Realistic Bike and Walk Routes

Jan. 1, 2013 –June 30, 2014

For a number of reasons (congestion, public health, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, demographic shifts, and community livability to name a few), the importance of walking and bicycling as transportation options will likely continue to increase. Currently, policy interest and infrastructure funding for nonmotorized modes far outstrip our ability to model bike and walk travel. To ensure scarce resources are used efficiently, accurate models sensitive to key policy variables are needed to support long range planning and project evaluation. This project attempts to synthesize and advance the state of the art in nonmotorized mode choice modeling. This project proposes a more complete mode choice behavioral framework that acknowledges the importance of attributes along the specific walk and bike routes that travelers are likely to consider. The proposed framework will then be applied to a revealed preference travel datasets collected in Portland, Oregon. Measurement of nonmotorized trip distance/time, built environment, trip/tour, and attitude attributes as well as mode availability and model structure will be addressed explicitly. Route and mode choice models will be specified using discrete choice techniques. (Broach)

Safety

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Reference Tool

Ongoing

The objective of this project is to produce an online tool to help pedestrian and bicycle safety stakeholders navigate the plethora of guidance on planning, designing and operating safe facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. Though the use of this tool FHWA seeks to promote and extend their national leadership role to connecting stakeholders to information that will enable them to develop safe non-motorized travel options. PSU’s role has involved significant stakeholder outreach, developing the conceptual framework, inventorying available resources and cataloging the individual references in how they fit the conceptual framework. Dr. Monsere is the PSU PI on this project. (Monsere, McNeil)

Improving Bicycle Crash Prediction

July 1, 2015–Dec. 31, 2016

The 2010 Highway Safety Manual (HSM) provides methods for predicting the number of motor vehicle crashes on various roadway facilities. However, it includes only a rudimentary method for predicting the number of bicycle-related crashes. Despite research demonstrating that bicycle volume is an important factor in estimating number of bicycle crashes, the method does not include the volume of bicyclists using the roadway. To remedy this, this project will investigate the potential of various simplified methods to include bicycle volumes in future versions of the HSM. By studying locations where bicycle traffic volumes, motor vehicle traffic volumes, bicycle collisions, and roadway facility types are known, the research team will study how best to predict bicycle collisions. This includes creating bicycle specific safety performance functions. The project will then examine how and if these methods could be simplified for use in future versions of the HSM. Potentially, bicyclist volumes could be simplified into high, medium, and low categories in order to reduce the need for difficult to find data. The impact of different facility types will also be investigated, such that a generalized table appropriate for HSM users can be generated. While this research cannot provide a final HSM-ready version, it will investigate locations where data are available and could lead the way in developing such. In addition, this work will investigate the impact of cyclist volume on bicyclist collision risk. This work could have an impact on cyclist safety by facilitating a better understanding of the impact of facility design on bicyclist safety by separating out the effect of bicycle volume on predicted bicycle crashes. (Kothuri)

Safety Effectiveness of Pedestrian Crossing Enhancements

Sept. 18, 2013–July 1, 2014

This project’s objective is to estimate the effectiveness of pedestrian crossing enhancements (PCEs) on multimodal safety in Oregon design contexts. One of the expected outcomes of the project is to derive CMFs calibrated to Oregon (i.e. not only pedestrian crashes but also motorized vehicles and bicycle crashes in the vicinity). This research will carefully consider the type of enhancement, the geometry, the surrounding land uses, and pedestrian/vehicle exposures. The results of this research will provide decision-makers with a valuable tool to guide future PCE deployments. The results of this research can also set the foundation for future cost/benefit analysis of PCEs. (Monsere)

Economics, Policy & Planning

FHWA Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

Ongoing

PSU is part of the current team led by ICF to assist FHWA in developing the agency’s strategic agenda for pedestrian and bicycle transportation. PSU is the lead on the research and training tasks. The project has an expected completion date of July 2016. FHWA contact is Dan Goodman. (Dill, McNeil)

Consumer Behavior and Travel Choices

Oct. 1, 2010–Sept. 30, 2012

This Portland State University (Clifton) project related consumer behavior – the frequency of visits to a business establishment and the amount spent per trip – to patrons’ mode choices. The research team conducted intercept surveys at nearly 90 establishments in the Portland, OR, region, and collected information about the patrons and the characteristics of their visits to the establishment. Findings revealed important differences in spending and frequency by mode for different business types; however, when taken over the course of the month, spending was generally not significantly different by mode. This offers encouraging news for cities and local businesses as they strive to attain their sustainability goals through the encouragement of non-automobile modes. This project was funded by Oregon Transportation Research & Education Consortium (OTREC), the Portland Development Commission, Bikes Belong and Travel Oregon. (Clifton)

Understanding the economic impacts of urban greenway infrastructure

Aug. 1, 2015–Dec. 31, 2016

This project proposes a comprehensive economic analysis of the “City Greenways” concept from Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which calls for a citywide network of park-like pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets crisscrossing the city at roughly 3-mile intervals. Examining the urban greenway infrastructure comprehensively through economic, sustainability and equity perspectives helps cities such as Portland to understand how it can better address carbon emissions, develop effective pedestrian and bicycle transportation networks and improve health outcomes citywide. This project develops analysis to understand how cyclists, pedestrians and users of other modes interact with an urban greenway system of safer, clear and direct pathways linking land uses, open space amenities and daily destinations throughout the city, building on current research by the PI and regional partners that explore related issues for a smaller-scale “Green Loop” in central Portland. The goal of this project is to evaluate the comprehensive economic impacts of the “City Greenways” network, through two primary research questions: (1) how does the “City Greenways” connect to current transportation network and how might the design and configuration of these urban greenway facilities provide broader active transportation networks linking businesses, households, centers and corridors; and (2) what would be the economic impacts (local and regional economic development, place-making benefits or land use tradeoffs), and how would this impact livability, sustainability and equity in the urban region? (Liu)

Understanding Economic and Business Impacts of Street Improvements for Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility - A Multi-City Multi-Approach Exploration

Sept. 16, 2016–Dec. 31, 2017

Many cities across the country, as part of Complete Streets initiatives or to promote community livability and environmental sustainability, have engaged in street improvement or transportation infrastructure upgrade projects that increase access and mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists through a reduction of on-street parking or traffic lanes. There is a vital need to understand whether and how these investments impact economic vitality, business activities and neighborhood equity in surrounding areas. By examining multiple data sources, utilizing multiple longitudinal economic and business activity indicators (e.g., employment by industry sector, number of establishments, business revenues, etc.), and applying distributional analysis and spatially-based econometric approaches to a variety of street improvement corridors (treatment and control) in 4-5 selected study cities across the US, this proposed study aims to establish whether and how these types of investments impact economic vitality, business activities and demographic composition of surrounding neighborhoods with outcomes that are applicable to additional cities and corridors for pre-implementation assessments; and to develop a systematic and rigorous methodological approach that is replicable to other cities and corridors for post-implementation evaluation and analysis. (Liu)

Implementation of Active Living Policies by Transportation Agencies and Departments

Oct. 1, 2008–Sept. 30, 2010

The built environment is an important factor in enabling people of all ages to be physically active on a daily basis whether for recreation or carrying out the tasks of everyday life. The built environment is the result of dynamics of land development involving builders, investors, consumers and public policies which over time have favored car-dominated developments that contribute to a decline in physical activity as people come to rely on cars for mobility. The overall aim of this project was to examine how and why some public agencies adopt policies that are intended to create a built environment that supports physical activity and active living. Understanding how and why is essential to promote reformation of planning and policy processes to support active living. Methods included a thorough literature review (print and web), an inventory of state DOT actions, interviews with innovative state DOTs, examining a random sample of MPOs and regional transportation plans, a survey of local and regional agencies that are undertaking best practices, and a random survey of MPOs and city/county agencies. (Dill)

Equity

Evaluating Efforts to Improve the Equity of Bike Share Systems

June 1, 2015–April 30, 2016

Bike share has the potential to provide residents a cost effective and healthy means of transportation, but many systems are not serving lower-income and minority populations, possibly due to lower station density in less affluent neighborhoods (Ogilvie & Goodman, 2012), low participation among non-white populations (Virginia Tech, 2012), or other factors. As a means to address these challenges to equity, the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), a collaboration of PeopleForBikes, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and local partners, is making $900,000 in grant funding available for bike share operators, cities, and local non-profits to increase bike share participation among underserved populations. This research seeks to understand the impacts of these efforts to site bike share stations in low-income and/or communities of color and promote participation through outreach efforts. PeopleForBikes is funding the research team to evaluate efforts in Philadelphia, where BBSP’s inaugural bike share effort is set to launch this spring, which serves as match for this project. This proposal seeks to expand the research to include neighborhoods in Austin, New York (Brooklyn), Chicago, and Washington. (McNeil, MacArthur, Dill)

Equity Analysis for the Existing and Planned Bicycle Network

July 28, 2009–Dec. 31, 2009

Portland’s current bicycle network has brought the city into the national spotlight as a leader in the provision of cycling infrastructure. As the city looks forward to 2030 with ambitions of becoming a truly world‐class bicycling city, it is clear that if the Draft Plan is fully implemented, nearly all of the city will be covered by a dense network of bikeways. The question of equity in the future is therefore not so much one of network coverage or lack of coverage, but of project priority and timing of implementation. The current network, while outstanding relative to other cities, nevertheless has certain service gaps where network coverage is sparse. Identifying where service gaps overlap with disadvantaged populations can help the city prioritize projects from the Draft Plan to serve these groups. The approach of this study was guided by a Public Health/Equity Objective developed during the planning process. This objective urged action to “perform equity gap analysis that includes demographic/income indicators overlaid with existing bike facility gap analysis to inform priority settings where people live, learn, work, and play.” In addition to these four categories, we also address bicycle access to transit in recognition of the reality that many outlying neighborhoods are not within a 3‐mile bikeable distance to important destinations. (Dill)

Racial Bias in Drivers' Yielding Behavior at Crosswalks: Understanding the Effect

Aug. 1, 2015–Dec. 31, 2016

 This project explores social identity-related factors that influence drivers’ behaviors in interactions with pedestrians at crosswalks. Racial minorities are disproportionately represented in pedestrian fatalities: From 2000 to 2010, pedestrian fatality rates for Black and Hispanic men (3.93 and 3.73 per 100,000) were more than twice the rate of 1.78 for White men (CDC, 2013). If drivers yield differently to Black and White pedestrians at crosswalks, this may lead to disparate crossing experiences and disproportionate safety outcomes. In our 2013 National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) “Small Starts” grant examining racial bias in drivers’ yield behavior at crosswalks, we conducted a controlled field experiment by observing drivers’ behavior toward Black and White male pedestrians at an unsignalized midblock marked crosswalk. Results (88 pedestrian trials, 173 driver-subjects) revealed that Black male pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars and waited 32% longer than White male pedestrians, confirming that minority male pedestrians experience discriminatory treatment by drivers. This study will expand the findings from the Small Starts grant and focus on the effect of additional pedestrian, driver, and environmental characteristics on drivers’ yielding behavior with pedestrians. (Kahn)

Electric Bikes

National Electric Bike Owner Survey

July 1, 2016–Feb. 28, 2017

Cycling and walking are sustainable modes of transportation which improve community livability, but these modes have not been studied with the quantitative rigor applied to motor vehicle travel. This research aims to change that by improving bicycle and pedestrian traffic monitoring data quality. This research will address the question, how can erroneous data best be identified through automated processes? The research team will answer this question by analyzing continuous bicycle and pedestrian count data stored in Bike-Ped Portal, a National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) funded data archive of bicycle and pedestrian count data which currently contains over four million count records from five states. Techniques such as directional distribution, interquartile range checks, continuous annual average daily traffic (AADT) percent difference checks, continuous monthly average daily traffic (MADT) percent difference checks, and number of consecutive zeros have been identified by others and will be explored to identify known errors while avoiding flagging normal variation. The goal of this research is to create a practical method to quality check bicycle and pedestrian traffic counts. Researchers around the country are struggling with the question of how to check data efficiently without removing correct data. Thus, this research is valuable to researchers and agencies around the nation. Matching funds provide by Oregon Department of Transportation will allow us to implement our findings as part of the data quality assurance process in National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC)’s Bike-Ped Portal. Quality data are needed to accurately estimate bicycling and walking, data needed to inform research, practice and policy for livable communities. (MacArthur)

Evaluation of Electric Bike Use at Three Kaiser Permanente NW Employment Centers in Portland Metro Region

Aug. 1, 2012–June 30, 2016

Oregon’s electric bike (e-bike) market is growing but little data are available on the potential market and e-bike user behavior and interest. This proposal aims to gain greater understanding of how e-bikes can be integrated into a sustainable transportation system. In the U.S., e-bikes are bicycles that have an electric motor that assists, but does not replace, the power provided by the rider. E-bikes have the potential to overcome common barriers to cycling, including hilliness and long trip distances. Existing qualitative research indicates that certain segments of the population may be particularly attracted to e-bikes, including women, older adults, and people with some physical limitations. Drive Oregon and Kaiser Permanente Northwest have developed a program to give e-bikes to Kaiser employees at three Portland region campuses for trial use. The program’s primary goal is to test user acceptance of electric-assist folding bicycles as a first/last mile commuting solution and be able to communicate positive stories to a broad range of workplaces to help reduce single occupancy vehicle (SOV) use. In attempts to inform ongoing e-bike research, this research project has two objectives: (1) Understand Kaiser Permanente employee perceptions and attitudes of e-bikes; and (2) Evaluate the use of e-bikes by study participants in Portland Metro region. The objectives will be addressed through surveys of study participants and GPS trip collection. (MacArthur)