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E-Bike laws create widely differing situations for users

Posted on August 28, 2014

E-Bike laws create widely differing situations for users

In 2009, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the Copenhagen Wheel, a device that converts an ordinary bicycle into a hybrid e-bike.

An e-bike is considered a motorized bicycle under Massachusetts law. This means that once the 13-pound, 26-inch Copenhagen Wheel is attached to the rear wheel of a bicycle, the resulting vehicle requires a driver’s license to operate, must be registered with the DMV, and its rider must wear, not just a bike helmet, but a motorcycle helmet to be in compliance with the law.

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are well established in China and other Asian and European countries but market adoption has been slow in the United States.

Part of the reason could be that the law is often nebulous where e-bikes are concerned.

NITC researchers at Portland State University conducted a policy review revealing the current state of legislation regarding e-bikes in the United States and Canada.

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Tags: active transportation, bicycle, bicycling, e-bikes, electric vehicles, john macarthur, livability, nitc, portland state university, research

How Minnesota saves lives by spreading safety money thinly: Oregon Transportation Summit focus

Posted on August 27, 2014

How Minnesota saves lives by spreading safety money thinly: Oregon Transportation Summit focus

(First published by BikePortland.org)

Sue Groth’s job: use math and millions of dollars to stop injuries before they happen.

The team Groth leads at the Minnesota Department of Transportation has probably saved a few hundred lives over the last 10 years. In that time they’ve reinvented “highway safety” spending and seen traffic fatalities fall almost twice as fast as they have in Oregon and the rest of the country.

Groth is the plenary speaker at the Sept. 15 Oregon Transportation Summit hosted by OTREC at Portland State University. Michael Andersen of BikePortland spoke to her last week to talk about MnDOT’s daring decision to give up some of the “gobs of money” it gets for highway safety and hand it to local agencies instead.

What’s the nature of your work on the safety movement called Vision Zero, also known as Toward Zero Deaths?
My state happened to be one of the first to adopt it. We have had a program for over 10 years now and have had some pretty good success. We don’t have to accept the fact that 400 people a year die on the roads in Minnesota, or 33,000 nationally.

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Tags: leah treat, minnesota department of transportation, oregon transportation summit, safety, sue groth, toward zero deaths, troy costales, vision zero

Research finds medians make driveways safer

Posted on August 17, 2014

Research finds medians make driveways safer
An OTREC report from Oregon State University looked at various center median and bicycle lane configurations, and how they affect traffic at road access points.
 
In the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) publication A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, commonly known as the Green Book, access points include the intersections of public roads as well as driveway locations. In the Green Book, most of the supporting research for the spacing of driveways is based on standard highway design procedures. They include simple human factors and geometric principles, and have not been thoroughly evaluated based on a variety of road cross section configurations.
 
Principal investigator Karen Dixon of Oregon State University sought to close this research gap by evaluating the influences of select cross-sectional-related design elements, specifically median configurations and bicycle lanes, on driveways.

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Tags: bicycle infrastructure, karen dixon, oregon state university, otrec, research

OTREC research examines ways to anonymize location data

Posted on August 13, 2014

OTREC research examines ways to anonymize location data
A new OTREC report explores an innovative technique for making household travel data more widely available without compromising individual privacy.
 
Public agencies spend vast amounts of money collecting information in household travel surveys.
 
In the report, Wider Dissemination of Household Travel Survey Data Using Geographical Perturbation Methods, lead investigator Kelly Clifton of Portland State University examines ways to make that information more accessible by planners and other professionals.
 
Survey respondents are guaranteed anonymity in exchange for their participation. In addition to asking which modes individuals use to get around, surveys learn where they live, where they work, their household sizes and demographic information.
 
Detailed geospatial referencing of the home, work and other travel destinations is common practice.
 
Such data can be of enormous use to planning professionals, but its dissemination must be balanced with the need to keep locations confidential.

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Tags: otrec, portland state university, research

U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer leads transportation forum at PSU

Posted on August 7, 2014

U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer leads transportation forum at PSU
Congressman Earl Blumenauer called together a group of transportation policy makers on Monday, August 4, for a “Rebuilding and Renewing” forum.
 
Transportation professionals and officials from every level of government, from the federal to the local, met at Portland State University to discuss how to maintain and revive America’s transportation infrastructure.
 
Blumenauer, the representative for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District, advocates fuel taxes and VMT taxes to pay for infrastructure needs.
 
As the Highway Trust Fund rapidly shrinks and America’s deteriorating roads and bridges silently cry out for maintenance, Congress is in the process of trying to determine the best, most sustainable path forward.
 
During Monday’s forum, a variety of voices were sought out and listened to. Bill Wyatt, executive director of the Port of Portland, gave opening remarks and introduced Blumenauer, who spoke about dwindling highway funds and the need for investment in infrastructure to keep the nation’s economy alive.

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Tags: infrastructure, livability, portland state university

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