June 19, 2015
PacTrans is proud to sponsor the ITS America Symposium on Building a Smart, Diverse, and Shared Travel Network, July 16 – 17 at the University of Washington. Three technical tours are included in the symposium registration, including to the PacTrans STAR Lab.
Bike Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail
Sponsored by Iteris, strap on your helmet and take off on a Pronto bike with us as we take a bike tour of the Burke-Gilman Trail.
**This tour is included with your symposium registration but capped at 20 people. It includes a helmet and access to a Pronto bike.
Tour of University of Washington Light Rail Station – Set to Open in 2016
Where a hard hat and go underground to tour the new Light Rail station being built on the University of Washington Campus. A new pedestrian bridge allows walkers and bikers to avoid traffic and will alleviate congestion by directly connecting the station to upper campus and the Burke-Gilman trail.
**Riders will board trains underground. Ride to downtown Seattle in six minutes or to the airport in about 42 minutes. Tour is capped at 18 attendees.
Tour of the STAR Lab
Join us to tour STAR Lab, located on the University of Washington Campus. Major objectives of the STAR Lab are: support advanced ITS research; cultivate ITS professionals; explore effective solutions to transportation problems; provide hand-on training instruments and software applications for students in ITS classes; and construct a bridge between the UW and agencies of transportation practice.
**Tour is capped at 30 people.
View symposium program and register.
June 18, 2015
The third annual University-wide Scholars’ Insights competition, an event based on the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) research competition developed by the University of Queensland, took place on May 6. Jennifer Warner, a civil engineering MS student advised by Dr. David Hurwitz was awarded second place for her presentation “Out of Sight, Out of Mind…Right-Hook Crash Solutions”. The presentation was based on Jennifer’s research in the OSU Driving Simulator evaluating a variety of design treatments to mitigate right-hook crashes. Congratulations Jennifer! Jennifer successfully defended her MS Thesis and will be moving to Pennsylvania to start her career as a transportation engineer with Stantec.
June 17, 2015
Emily Feenstra, Director for Infrastructure Initiatives of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), spoke at the PacTrans-sponsored Transportation Seminar on June 4. Her talk, “The Case for Engaging in Public Policy – Your Projects Depend on It,” related the current status of infrastructure funding, how ASCE has engaged in the policy debate, and the importance of engineers’ involvement in policy.
Making infrastructure visible is a main priority for ASCE, explained Feenstra. Often, the public does not notice the aging infrastructure, in part due to the slow – and undramatic – nature of deterioration. ASCE aims for infrastructure to be as high a priority as health care and education, and one step toward this goal is communicating ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure (Report Card).
The Report Card provides an assessment of current infrastructure conditions and needs, assigning grades in an A to F school report card format, and makes recommendations on how to raise these grades. With America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure at a D+ in 2013, Feenstra demonstrated the need for increased investment. By investing an additional $157 billion per year through 2020, the country can prevent a $3.1 trillion loss in GDP, $3.5 million job losses, and a $3,100 per year drop in personal disposable income per household.
To improve the Report Card, Feenstra offered three key solutions: bold leadership and a compelling vision, sustainability and resilience, and prioritize, plan and fund. Several issues at the national level, however, remain important to consider, including infrastructure spending decreasing relative to other countries, and the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
Feenstra suggested a host of ways civil engineers can get involved. To influence policy and issue awareness, Feenstra proposed engineers share their state’s infrastructure report card through social media, host an infrastructure event, or tweet questions to state legislators and members of congress.
Feenstra’s talk clearly broadens PacTrans students’ knowledge by introducing the policy side of projects.
June 15, 2015
PacTrans is proud to sponsor the ITS America Symposium on Building a Smart, Diverse, and Shared Travel Network. Technology is advancing traveler mobility at an unprecedented rate, and Seattle and the Puget Sound region are leading the way in the adoption and deployment of many shared-use transportation options. From the new Pronto cycle sharing system, to the region’s evolving transit environment, infrastructure improvements and more, technology is making the commute faster, smarter and more efficient for the traveling public.
For more information and to register, read on.
June 11, 2015
On May 26, PacTrans welcomed transportation professionals from Japan as part of an international exchange to share best practices in data, organizational collaboration, and road management. Kenji Saita, Assistant Manager, West Nippon Express Company (NEXCO), and Seishu Kitamura, Senior Researcher and Kzuhiko Makimura, Deputy Director, both of the Institute of Behavioral Sciences, visited the PacTrans STAR Lab to learn about the center’s work in intelligent transportation systems (ITS).
The group discussed the different types of traffic detectors employed by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and those under development at the University of Washington, and ways to navigate the privacy concerns of data collection in Japan.
PacTrans, Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC), and WSDOT have a history of close collaboration. Doug Brodin, WSDOT Research Manager for ITS, Traffic and Congestion, and Freight, emphasized the importance of the long-term relationships with PacTrans and TRAC and considered it the key in the successful collaborative efforts between WSDOT and universities, which is visible in the many PacTrans intern students working in WSDOT.
Dr. Yinhai Wang, PacTrans director, highlighted the center’s interest in international collaborations and potential future partnership with NEXCO and IBS and the Japanese delegation responded very positively.