From the President: Spring 2010
Author: President Wim Wiewel
Posted: June 10, 2010

President Wiewel with Portland Streetcar in the backgroundGET OUT your transit pass, put on your bike helmet, or prepare to plug in your car—sustainable alternative transportation continues to roll into our region, and Portland State is helping pave the way through new partnerships and research projects.

Over 70 percent of faculty, staff, and students use alternative transportation to get to campus. In fact, our Urban Center Plaza is the busiest transit hub in the city with buses, MAX trains, and the streetcar all coming together. So it should be no surprise that PSU is a sought-after partner.

Portlanders are fanatic about bicycling, and so are many of our professors. Faculty from our Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation are measuring bicycle behavior, evaluating Portland's bike lanes, and analyzing the local Safe Routes to School Program. Last year, Portland's first bike lane sited between the curb and parked cars opened on Southwest Broadway in the heart of campus. PSU researchers are helping the city evaluate its effectiveness.

But the news is not all about bikes. Did you know that the largest introduction of electric vehicles and charging stations in U.S. history is coming to Oregon this December? Nissan and engineering firm ECOtality chose Oregon, with Portland General Electric as lead, to be one of five test markets. Portland State is helping PGE study consumer response, policy development, and other issues affecting the hundreds of charging stations it's building for the new Nissan Leaf electric cars. And this June, PSU will receive 10 new Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles from Toyota to help in evaluating the lithium-ion battery-equipped car. We also expect to be a research partner when Mitsubishi Motors rolls out its electric vehicle. That's three major car companies all reaching out to PSU to help them push the adoption curve on electric vehicles.

Even the federal government has recognized PSU's importance for the future of alternative transportation. The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, better known as OTREC, is a federally funded cooperative among Oregon universities based on our campus. Working with OTREC, our faculty are forecasting Oregon's rural transit needs, studying route and driver issues for TriMet, and exploring automated methods for truck identification, to mention just a few projects.

More and more, PSU is looking to partnerships to identify what is needed and what we can provide. For transportation that need is finding modes and systems that are economically sound and environmentally efficient in promoting quality of life.

Whether traveling by bicycle, electric car, or mass transit, PSU is leading the way through partnerships to a more sustainable future. Hang on—it's going to be a great ride!

Wim Wiewel signature

Wim Wiewel
President, Portland State University