News Tagged: Transportation Modeling
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Portland State University engineering doctoral student Alex Bigazzi has developed a new course aimed at giving transportation engineers experience running emissions models. The course, Transportation Emissions Modeling, is offered through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
The practical nature of the course sets it apart from the few emissions courses offered at other universities, Bigazzi said. “Those tend to be on the policy side or the environmental side,” he said. “This is unique in trying to help engineers more than policymakers or future policymakers.”
The course fits with both Bigazzi’s own experience and Portland State’s faculty research strength in emissions and modeling. The university already offers an air quality course, but Bigazzi’s offering focuses narrowly on emissions from motor vehicles.
Students spent the first half of the inaugural course learning context for the models, including when they are used and what they can do. “There are federal requirements to do these models for all serious transportation projects,” Bigazzi said. “People need to understand what goes into them and how accurate they can be.”
Because emissions models aren’t as complex mathematically as other models, and because the Environmental Protection Agency’s MOVES model is freely accessible, students can spend more time learning exactly what the model can and can’t do.
Tags: alex bigazzi, emissions, transportation modeling
Portland State University inducted graduate student Kristina Currans into the Denice Dee Denton Women Engineers Hall of Fame in a ceremony Nov. 15. Currans is the second transportation engineering student to win the student award.
Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, took the Outstanding Female Engineer honors.
Currans’ boundless enthusiasm and dedication to her work quickly become apparent to anyone who works with her, said Kelly Clifton, an associate professor of civil engineering and director of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative. “I’ve never met someone able to manage so many things,” said Clifton, who nominated Currans for the honor.
Currans works with Clifton as a part of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative and on several OTREC research projects. “She brings a tremendous amount of energy,” Clifton said.
After graduating Oregon State University with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree in 2010, Currans soon made a name for herself in transportation circles. She started her graduate coursework at Portland State and worked during academic breaks with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Transportation Planning Analysis Unit, home to state and regional transportation models.
“For someone who had just graduated with an undergraduate degree, she completed that internship and really impressed ODOT,” Clifton said. “To do that so quickly caught everyone’s attention.”
Tags: greenhouse gas emissions, greenstep, institute of transportation engineers, kristina currans, oregon department of transportation, oregon modeling collaborative, swim2, transportation modeling
With transportation models increasingly used to inform policy decisions at all levels, OTREC is pleased to offer a free educational series designed to help decision makers, transportation officials and others understand these important tools. The series was organized with OTREC’s Oregon Modeling Collaborative and presented during the weekly transportation seminars at Portland State University’s Center for Transportation Studies.
Archived video of the entire eight-week series is now available. Each seminar lasts one hour. Click here for a description of each seminar and links to the video.
While the Friday seminar series has showcased transportation issues for years, the modeling series marks the first time that eight seminars focused on a single theme. Modeling is a timely topic, as policy makers come to rely increasingly on models, whether or not they have a background in modeling.
The series demonstrates how modeling can support better decision-making and explains the tools and the process to a nontechnical audience, said Kelly Clifton, director of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative. Oregon’s discussions regarding modeling tools have helped inform the national discussion, she said.
The final seminar in the series recapped some of the earlier lessons and pointed out some of the challenges for the future of modeling. No single model will meet everyone’s needs, Clifton said.
“There’s more than one tool,” she said. “We’ll need more flexible models that are quick to run lots of scenarios.”
Click here to learn more.
Tags: climate modeling, kelly clifton, land-use modeling, modeling, oregon modeling collaborative, oregon modeling steering committee, otrec, transportation modeling, transportation seminar series
It’s not shocking that bridges built without thought to earthquakes wouldn’t make it through a big quake unharmed. More surprising, however, is how much damage even a relatively small earthquake would cause to Oregon’s bridges.
In an exhaustive OTREC project, researcher Peter Dusicka looked at the most common bridge types in the Oregon highway system. Those bridges weren’t just fragile, he found—they were even more fragile than other researchers and technical guidelines had suggested.
Dusicka published his preliminary findings in a draft report last year. The final report, “Bridge Damage Models for Seismic Risk Assessment of Oregon Highway Network,” is out now. Click here to download.
Most Oregon highway bridges were built before the 1980s, when designers started to consider seismic activity. Dusicka set out to see what would happen to the most common bridge type, continuous concrete multi-beam or girder, during quakes of varying degrees.
Tags: bridge damage state model, bridge failure, bridges, cascadia subduction zone, fragility curves, hazus, opensees, oregon department of transportation, peter dusicka, seismic risk assessment, transportation modeling
Although specialized equipment and vehicles make up a large portion of state transportation budgets, an OTREC research report found little consistency in how states decide to replace this equipment.
Researchers David Kim and David Porter of Oregon State University surveyed 25 state departments of transportation to determine how they made replacement decisions. Nearly all consider the age of the vehicle or piece of equipment, with many considering how much use it gets.
Around half use thresholds, such as number of miles or months in service, to identify candidates for replacement. Some consider the equipment’s repair cost or operating cost, while others rely on physical inspections. None explicitly considers greenhouse gas emissions or other environmental concerns in its replacement criteria.
Given the huge range of approaches, Kim and Porter wondered if modeling could lead to better decision-making. They ran various models against the simple approach of using equipment age as a threshold value.
As it turns out, the simple approach isn’t too bad. In fact, it does better than one complicated mathematical model and about the same as a second model.
Click here to learn more about the project and download the report.
That may seem puzzling, but Kim said he wasn’t surprised. Models need good data to produce good results and most states don’t collect and process enough data to feed the most complex models.
Tags: david kim, david porter, fleet replacement, fleet vehicles, fleets, oregon department of transportation, transportation modeling, vehicle fleets