Data Collection and Spatial Interpolation of Bicycle and Pedestrian Data – year 2 (2013-14)

PI: Michael Lowry (UI)
Co-Investigators: Yinhai Wang (UW), Mike Dixon (UI), Ahmed-Abdel Rahim (UI), Mark Hallenbeck (UW)
Dates: 07/01/2013 – 10/31/2014

It is very difficult to measure safety without knowing how many people use a facility. For this reason, millions of dollars and decades of research have sought to estimate and forecast travel demand, such as through the ubiquitous 4-step model. Unfortunately, existing methods are lousy for estimating pedestrian and bicycle volumes. In fact, most agencies forego expensive, data-intensive models and instead resort to simply using expert judgment when estimating pedestrian and bicycle volumes. Cities and state DOTs struggle to collect and utilize pedestrian and bicycle data in an effective and meaningful way. Read More

Educating Teenage Drivers in the Pacific Northwest Regarding the Dangers of Distracted Driving Phase II – year 2 (2013-14)

PI: David S. Hurwitz (OSU)
Co-Investigators: Linda Boyle (UW), Ahmed Abedl-Rahim (UI), Ghulam Bham (UAF), William Cofer (WSU)
Dates: 07/01/2013 – 10/31/2014
Led by: (Oregon State University) Professor David Hurwitz, this project is the PacTrans multi-institution Outreach Project for 2013-2014. (A phase II project, it builds on the successes of the phase I PacTrans multi-institution Outreach Project for 2012-2013.)

Driver distraction can be defined as the diversion of driver attention away from the driving task, and it can result from factors both within and outside of the vehicle (Sheridan, 2004). It can include anything that distracts a driver from the primary task of driving and has been categorized as follows: visual (e.g. reading a map), auditory (e.g., listening to a conversation), biomechanical (e.g., tuning a radio), and cognitive (e.g. ‘being lost in thought,’ and ‘ looking but not seeing’) (Ranney et al., 2000). Most distractions are actually a combination of these, thus it may be more useful to categorize distractions according to the task that drivers are engaged in while driving (rather than the combination of the forms of distractions). For example, cell phones are associated with cognitive, auditory, biomechanical, and potentially, visual distractions. Both the attentional demands placed on the driver by a secondary task and the driver’s willingness to engage in that task contributes to the potential for driver distraction and thus increases the likelihood of crashes (Donmez et al., 2006). A distracted driver may also make riskier decisions. As observed by Cooper et al. (2003), distracted drivers made left hand turns with smaller gap acceptance than drivers who were not distracted. As teenage drivers gain moderate levels of experience, they also tend to have greater crash risks related to driver distraction when compared to drivers in other age groups (Lam, 2002). One proposed explanation for this is that younger drivers appear more willing to accept new technologies and devices than other drivers. As younger drivers become confident in their driving abilities, they tend to overestimate their ability to multitask with these devices while driving (Sarkar and Andreas, 2004). Poysti et al. (2005) also found that young drivers, from 18-to 24 years old, were more likely to use their cell phones while driving than middle aged drivers. The goal of the study is to examine driver distraction among teenagers including what tasks they consider to be distracting as compared to their level of engagement in these same distracting tasks. This study differs from other studies in that a follow-up period will be used to identify differences in response based on feedback and education on distraction.

Refinement and Dissemination of a Digital Platform for Sharing Transportation Education Materials – year 2 (2013-14)

PIs: Kevin Chang (UI) and Ahmed Abdel-Rahim (UI)
Co-Investigators: Shane Brown (OSU), David Hurwitz (OSU), Bill Cofer (WSU), Robert Perkins (UAF), Linda Boyle (UW)
Dates: 6/01/2013 – 6/01/2014
Led by: (University of Idaho) Professors Kevin Chang and Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, this project is the PacTrans multi-institution Education Project for 2013-2014. (A phase II project, it builds on the successes of the phase I PacTrans multi-institution Education Project for 2012-2013.)

National interest abounds in improving engineering education stemming from concerns over the role of the US as a national economic leader (NRC 1999; NRC 1999), low performance on concept inventories (Hestenes, Wells et al. 1992; Olds, Streveler et al. 2004; Gray, Costanzo et al. 2005; Allen 2006), and a sense that we can improve the state-of-the-practice. These concerns have led to the development of an abundance of materials and methods that have been shown to be an effective means of improving student learning and other important educational outcomes. Read More

Developing a Performance Measurement Approach to Benefit/Cost Freight Project Prioritization – year 1 (2012-13)

Kenneth Casavant (WSU)
Starr McMullen (OSU), Anne Goodchild (UW), Edward McCormack (UW), Eric Jessup (WSU)
06/01/2012 – 05/31/2013

Current project prioritization methodologies used by DOTs often do not specifically include freight benefits of projects and they have not taken advantage of new data made available by GPS technology (instead they depend on modeled data). This project will investigate the use of performance data for the emerging freight project prioritization methodology, primarily through the investigation of minimum performance standards and ongoing performance evaluation to develop a prioritization methodology that recognizes the impact of investments on overall freight system performance. The Washington State Department of Transportation has a well-developed benefit/cost methodology for long-standing programs supporting the Legislature’s policy goals for safety, preservation, environmental issues, and mobility. This project will finalize and test important methodological elements to improve freight project prioritization. It will also exploit new data sources for performance measurement, therefore addressing key weaknesses of the current approaches.

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Inspection, Assessment, Monitoring, and Renewal Strategies for Structures on Critical Lifeline Corridors – year 1 (2012-13)

David Trejo (OSU)
Marc Eberhard (lead at UW), Dawn Lehman (UW), Charles Roeder (UW), John Stanton (UW), Leroy Hulsey (UAF), Chris Bell (OSU)
06/01/2012 – 10/31/2013

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) faces unique combinations of environmental hazards, including the strong potential for seismic events from the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ). The last known significant earthquake on the CSZ is believed to be in 1700. Evidence indicates that major earthquakes on the CSZ likely occur at a return period of approximately 300 years, and the next subduction event is anticipated to cause widespread damage throughout the PNW (The Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup 2005). In addition to being susceptible to earthquake damage, many infrastructure systems in the region are exposed to coastal zones or de-icing and/or anti-icing chemicals. Exposure to these conditions result in premature deterioration (corrosion, alkali silica reactions (ASR), cracking, etc.) and often results in reduced structure capacity. Keeping critical corridors operational during and after a seismic event on the CSZ is essential to minimizing loss of life and minimizing economic impact after the quake in the State. Critical to keeping these corridors open is the continued operation of the bridges on these corridors.

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