Six neat charts from Metro’s new report about Portland-area transportation

by on April 27th, 2016 at 9:59 am

Commute vs All Trips_0
We hear more often about commute trips, but people’s trips to stores, schools, parks and friends look quite a bit different.
(All charts via Metro)

Metro is the only elected regional government in the United States. It’s also got one of the most interesting government communications teams in the country. Like MLB.com, Metro hires people to write journalism-style coverage of itself.

For its latest project, a four-part “regional snapshot” about transportation, the agency pulled out all the stops: original tilt-shift photography, narrative video, text drawn from at least a dozen interviews and a whole quiver of custom-made infographics. If you want a single overview on the basics of the region’s transportation situation, I’ve never seen a better one.


Low-income households drive much less than high-income households

by on January 25th, 2016 at 1:07 pm

miles driven
Source: 1995 National Household Travel Survey via Purdue University.

We’ve explored this issue various times over the years, but you often hear people claiming otherwise so let’s share the information in a new way.

It’s relevant as the city gets ready to vote on a 10-cent gas tax that would go toward slowing the crumbling of Portland’s streets and improving their safety.

Who pays gas taxes?


Three secrets hidden in Metro’s great new map of every local traffic collision

by on December 9th, 2015 at 1:18 pm

metro area collisions
Every reported traffic collision in the Metro area, 2007-2013.
(Source: Metro Crash Map)

Last spring, the City of Portland created a fantastic new map of every fatality and major injury on its records for a decade. Now, regional government Metro has followed suit with a similar map that includes many other cities and unincorporated areas, too.

It’s not just an essential tool for understanding the context of future traffic collisions. (Should we be arguing about the specific circumstances of collision X, or does something seem to be inherently wrong with the street it happened on?) It’s also a source of some useful insights about road safety in Portland.


Seven years after ‘Platinum,’ Portland’s collision and fatality rates remain well above its peers

by on June 2nd, 2015 at 10:33 am

building blocks of bfc
An infographic by the League of American Bicyclists showing the average performance of the communities they identify as bike-friendly.
(Zoomable PDF.)

Though Portland has been justly praised for regularly making it through many calendar years with zero deaths of people biking, it is clearly the most dangerous of the four cities recognized as the nation’s bike-friendliest.

For the years 2009-2013, Portland’s fatality rate per bike commuter was 75 percent higher than the officially listed average for the League of American Bicyclists’ four “Platinum” cities: Portland; Fort Collins, Colo.; Boulder, Colo.; and Davis, Calif. Its reported collision rate per bike commuter was 94 percent higher.


Bike commuting at 11% in latest PBA downtown census

by on November 15th, 2012 at 10:54 am

Bike commuting by downtown employees has made solid gains since 2001.
(Source: Portland Business Alliance 2011 Downtown Portland Business Census & Survey)


Oregon roads claimed 319 lives in 2011: Bike deaths more than doubled

by on January 3rd, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Aftermath of a fatal crash on December 31st.
(Photo: Oregon State Police)

319 people died while traveling on Oregon roads in 2011; that’s two more than 2010 and the first increase since 2005. Another bit of preliminary data shows that 15 people on bicycles were killed last year — that’s a 114% increase from the seven lives lost in 2010 and it ties the highest bike fatality total since at least 2003. (more…)

Not just safer for bikes: Fatal car crashes lowest since 1925 – UPDATED

by on January 27th, 2011 at 8:43 am

PBOT chart shows traffic fatalities in Portland by mode between 1996 and 2010.
Download larger image (with additional data) as a PDF –


Portland had zero bike fatalities in 2010 (again)

by on January 26th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

A Sunday ride-9
A family enjoys a sunny winter
ride on SE 52nd Ave.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Lost in the end-of-year festivities and perhaps overshadowed by a startling number of people killed while walking on Oregon roads in 2010 (60), lies a positive statistic that deserves our attention. In 2010, there were zero fatal bicycle crashes in Portland.

According to PBOT data, this is the sixth time since 1999 that no one has been killed while riding a bike in our city (others were 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2008). (more…)

Biking, walking, and NHTSA’s latest Traffic Safety Facts data

by on January 24th, 2011 at 11:36 am

With Oregon lawmakers set to get down to business in the coming weeks, it’s a good time to prepare for the upcoming debates by brushing up on the latest traffic safety data.

The early edition of the 2009 Traffic Safety Facts is a 232 page compilation of national traffic collision data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and General Estimate System (GES) published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF here). This is an early report (2010 data is not expected to be available until early 2012), but it still contains several gems of information. (more…)

Portland Business Alliance reports sharp increase in downtown bike commuters

by on October 4th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Getting to work by bike hit double-digits for the first time ever in 2009, according to a survey by the Portland Business Alliance.
(Graph: 2009 Downtown Business Census & Survey, Portland Business Alliance)