The Center for Transportation Studies has marked Portland State as a leader in transportation research since its initiation in 1966. The center has made years of transportation and urban livability research available in a single database with the launch of the Transportation Research and Education Center website.
“The new TREC website is a place where professors and students who are interested in livability can find opportunities. It’s a place where they can keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening at PSU,” said Lacey Friedly, a communications coordinator for TREC.
In 2006, PSU joined the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, which consisted of four Oregon universities including PSU, University of Oregon, Oregon State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology. PSU received a $30 million grant to last through 2014. By the time the grant ran out last June, the program had expanded beyond state boundaries.
“The main difference is that OTREC was this campus grant program; only projects that were funded through that program were a part of OTREC. TREC is the center for all research that’s transportation related at [PSU],” said Justin Carinci, communications director for TREC.
The center houses both the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, and the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation. Through these two programs the center provides grants, training and education. It also hosts lectures and uses outreach to expand livability in Portland. The expansion broadens research opportunities so that more members of the PSU campus can participate.
“Now we’re saying, if you do transportation research whether you’re in the traditional disciplines like engineering and planning, or if you’re in geography or psychology—even dance—if you’re doing a transportation related project, we want you to be a part of this center,” Carinci said.
Ideally, the expansion will also fortify the center’s primary objective—making the city of Portland more livable.
“Livability could mean so many things. How far do you have to walk to a transit stop? How feasible is it for you to use bicycle facilities? Livability is everyone’s experience interacting with their community,” Friedly said.