PacTrans News

  • July 24, 2015

    Alternative Information Signs: An Evaluation of Driver Comprehension and Visual Attention

    Dr. David Hurwitz (PI), Michael Olsen (Co-PI), and Justin Neil
    Oregon State University

    The effectiveness of a traffic sign is collectively influenced by the sign’s understandability, legibility distance, glance legibility, and learnability; however, understandability has been repeatedly identified as a one of the most important measures of effectiveness. This study compared a variety of online survey questions and driving simulation tasks to assess the understandability of alternative Tourist Information signs in Oregon. In all of these tests, the “INFO” Sign was shown to be the most understandable of the alternatives evaluated in this study by a significant margin. The two “i” Sign alternatives had the second and third highest comprehension rates for driving simulator subjects. However, it is likely that comprehension rates for the “i” Sign will continue to increase in the future due to its prolific usage in a wide variety of contexts.


    The results were accepted for publication in the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering. Separately, the results of the study will be presented at the 15th Annual COTA Conference in Beijing, China by Dr. David Hurwitz. The PIs and PacTrans would like to recognize the cash-match provided by Travel Oregon, without which the project would not have been nearly as successful.

    Contact: Dr. David Hurwitz

  • July 23, 2015

    New Track – Construction Management Occupational Safety and Health

    CMOSH (Construction Management Occupational Safety and Health) is an exciting new track within the Master of Science in Construction Management degree at the University of Washington. Transportation students wanting to incorporate health and safety in their field may be interested in this track to work toward true project success.

    View more information about the CMOSH track.

  • July 23, 2015

    PacTrans Newsletter – Issue #12 Now Available!

    Read the July 2015 PacTrans newsletter here.

  • July 13, 2015

    Meet Our 2015-16 PacTrans Fellows

    As part of PacTrans’ mission to bring talented professionals into the transportation field, PacTrans provides funding to students seeking transportation-related graduate degrees each year.

    Thomas Steckel

    Thomas_steckel_edThomas Steckel is from Bainbridge Island, Washington and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering with a focus in Transportation from The George Washington University in May 2015. He has past experience working in AutoCAD design programs as well as experience researching ITS applications in Advanced Traffic Management Systems. He is currently interning with the Washington State Department of Transportation Toll Division, a position he will maintain during his pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Transportation at the University of Washington. During his studies, Thomas plans to conduct research in sustainable transportation systems. After graduation, his goal is to find a job working to advance the field of transportation as society moves to be more sustainable.

    Thomas has 4 years’ experience as a coxswain for both the Bainbridge High School Rowing Club and the George Washington Rowing Team. He would like to continue rowing after he completes his degree.

    Luke Peters

    Luke_peters_edLuke Peters is from Madison, Wisconsin and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Marquette University in December 2012. He has spent the past two years working in the Traffic Engineering Division with the City of Madison, focusing on traffic operations and safety enhancements through signing, pavement marking, and geometric design. His primary interest in transportation is the design of improvements for pedestrians, transit, and bicyclists on urban streets. Upon earning his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, Luke plans to work either with a municipality or with a transportation consulting firm. In his free time he enjoys playing and listening to music.

    Riley Kimball

    riley_kimball2Riley Kimball is from Portland, Oregon, and he received his undergraduate degree in International Relations and Mathematics from Occidental College in 2012. He has been living in Seattle for the last three years working in tech sales. Riley currently serves on the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board as a member of Get Engaged, a youth leadership development program through the YMCA.

    At the University of Washington, Riley will be working on his Master’s in Civil Engineering in Transportation, focusing on multimodal transportation options. With his degree, he plans to pursue work in developing sustainable infrastructure in Seattle and abroad.

    When he’s not working or studying, Riley loves riding his bike around Puget Sound and swimming in the lakes.

    Rich Lee

    rich_leeRich’s academic background is somewhat different than most in the civil engineering program, having earned a bachelor’s degree in music composition from Wesleyan University. He subsequently received a master’s degree in geography from Texas State University, where he used GIS and remote sensing techniques to analyze post-wildfire vegetation regeneration.

    Since graduating in December of 2013, he has worked as a research assistant for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) in Austin, TX. During that time, he has authored three publications and presented research at several conferences covering a variety of topics including travel behavior modeling, passive data technologies, and health in transportation planning. Rich plans to continue working for TTI while studying transportation engineering at the University of Washington. Having grown up in Seattle for the first seven years of his life, he is looking forward to returning to the beautiful Northwest to continue his graduate studies.

    Jeffrey Conor

    Jeffrey_Conor_edJeffrey Conor is originally from Olympia, Washington. He has a Bachelor of Economics from Oberlin College and a Master of Math Education from Brooklyn College. He worked for three years as a public school 7th grade math teacher in New York City. He taught special education, general education, honors, and English as a second language classes (not all at the same time, thank goodness). Jeffrey then switched gears and spent the past three years as an IT Support Specialist for the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in their Seattle Courthouse. This has allowed him to travel and take care of judges in Washington, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Despite these disparate experiences, nothing quite seemed right. Jeffrey’s interests in transportation center on how different modes are balanced in an urban setting. At present he’s happy as an intern with the Seattle Department of Transportation Traffic Operations Department and hopes to find a job that can become a career.

  • July 10, 2015

    Save the Date: PacTrans Regional Transportation Conference

    PacTrans regional transportation conference, transportation safety, technolgy

    Join the Pacific Northwest transportation community for a time of networking, education, collaboration, research sharing, research funding, and updates on technology.

    October 16, 2015
    University of Washington
    Cascade Room, Haggett Hall

    Check back for more details in the coming weeks.

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