Current Research

Ongoing Projects


 Multimodal Trip Generation

Despite evidence that a more compact urban form, access to transit and a greater mix of uses generates fewer and shorter vehicle trips, local governments are often compelled to use current ITE trip generation rates to evaluate transportation impacts and calculate transportation system development charges (TSDCs). This ongoing line of research proposes to develop multi-modal trip generation rates and methods that better reflect the relationship between land use, transportation and travel demand for specific land use types located in various urban settings. The research theme aims to: a) improve the methods to collect and disseminate local data (using multi-modal counts and establishment surveys), b) develop methodologies to estimate multimodal (or person) trip generation rates that are sensitive to demographic, land use and transportation contexts, and c) understand the links between various policy levers and travel behavior.

To this end, we have engaged in a variety of projects to advance this research agenda. Links can be found below:

Development of non-motorized planning tools

Bicycle and pedestrian research has made important gains as communities are increasingly interested multi-modal planning to create communities that are accessible, safe, livable, environmentally sensitive, healthy and economically vibrant. But the methods to support these efforts are lacking and less sophisticated than those available for motorized modes. To help remedy this issue, our ongoing research agenda aims to advance pedestrian modeling tools and increase the capacity for public agencies, planners and researchers to estimate various aspects of pedestrian demand.

To date, we have completed several research projects to advance pedestrian modeling capacity:

Consumer Behavior & Travel Choices

This study aims to marry travel behavior with consumer behavior to better understand the relationship between modes of access and local business districts. Here we aim to understand the correlates with access mode, the built environment, establishment characteristics, and consumer purchases with an emphasis on understanding how cyclists differ from other user groups. This study is sponsored by OTREC, City of Portland, Bikes Belong, and Travel Oregon. This study is ongoing through Summer 2012.

Read TR News article 

Linking Residential Location and Transport Choices


Recently Completed Studies


Refining GreenSTEP: Impacts of Vehicle Technologies and ITS/Operational Improvements on Travel Speed and Fuel Consumption Curves

GreenSTEP is a sketch planning model, being developed by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to analyze various strategies for reducing statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector. The Oregon Modeling Collaborative (OMC) is currently engaged in refining several components of the model, primarily those related to the fuel efficiency of future vehicle engine technologies, and the impacts of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and traffic operational improvements and strategies on aggregate fuel consumption rates. Sponsored by OTREC and Oregon Department of Transportation, this work was incorporated into the current model in use in Oregon.

Wider Dissemination of Household Travel Survey Data Using Geographical Perturbation Methods

This project is researching ways to enable more public release of household travel survey data at finer geographic scale without compromising the anonymity of survey respondents. Here, the goal is to determine how much error needs to be introduced into the locations in the data – home, work and other activities to skew their geographic placement and thus, preserve the anonymity of households in the data set. At the same time, we investigate how much the introduced error will impact various transportation analysis. When complete, the information provided from this research will help public agencies to make these data available to a broader audience, thus increasing their utility and public value. Finer resolutions of spatial information will permit more robust analysis of pedestrian, cycling and transit activities than previously permitted.

Complete Streets Policies and Institutional Change: Lessons from U.S. Case Studies

These case studies aim to identify lessons learned from communities that have adopted Complete Streets Policies nationwide. Of particular interest here are efforts that focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities. This work is sponsored by Active Living Research and will be completed in Summer 2012.

Study of Workforce Housing, Transportation and Employment Decisions: Implications for Siting Future Federal Facilities

Sponsored by the US General Services Administration, this research will assist the federal government in locating future federal facilities within the Washington, DC region. The research team is led by the DC Office of Planning and includes Dr. Kelly J. Clifton from the National Center for Smart Growth and Dr. Casey Dawkins from Virginia Tech. The project will assess the future workforce needs of the federal government, model housing affordability and transportation costs, and develop models of residential location and commuting mode choice. This work was completed in Winter 2011.