BikePortland is at TRB thanks to TREC at PSU

Posted by on January 14th, 2019 at 12:27 pm

These stickers (modeled by Portland State University’s Michael Espinoza) are a hot commodity at the conference.
(Photo: @TRECPdx on Instagram)


Publisher’s Note: I realize that’s a lot of acronyms for a headline; but anyone who cares about the big transportation research conference happening in Washington D.C. this week is probably fluent in them.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting is the most important wonky gathering of the year. It’s such a big deal that we hired Portland organizer, writer, and activist Aaron Brown (@ambrown on Twitter, which I highly recommend following ASAP) to be our eyes and ears inside (and outside) the conference. His coverage from TRB is being made possible by the Transportation Research and Education Consortium at Portland State University (TREC at PSU, @TRECPdx on Twitter).

This week Aaron will be sharing his notes and observations with us right here on the Front Page. Take it away Aaron…

Do Uber and Lyft help mitigate urban traffic congestion or make it worse? How will the proliferation of e-bikes impact transit service? What is the optimal proportions of concrete mixtures for asphalt in different climates?

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Our correspondent, Aaron Brown.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

These disparate questions may not seem to have a lot in common, but the smartest researchers across the planet who know about these things have converged in our nation’s capital this week for the 98th annual TRB Annual Meeting (#TRBAM). Over 13,000 researchers, civil engineers, urban planners, policymakers, graduate students, and industry specialists are here, it’s a dizzying spectacle that overwhelms multiple floors of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

I’ve counted no less than six languages spoken by presenters during their poster sessions in the first three hours on Monday morning, and I’ve satisfied my inner cartography geek with more maps about cities and freeways and bike lanes than I could ever imagine possible to find in one place.

BikePortland and TREC at PSU were nice enough to send me to DC this week and report back to Portland my thoughts from the conference. Through Wednesday, I’ll be providing a daily roundup of the most interesting things I saw, some tidbits of Portlanders and Oregonians who are making waves with their presentations and research, and some perspectives on the state of national transportation research and governance at a time in which we have eleven years to solve climate change.

And yes, I’m going to provide updates on the latest research on bikes and scooters, too.

Stay tuned!

— Aaron Brown, @ambrown on Twitter

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2 Comments
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    Brendan January 14, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    Is there talk amongst the conference about the terrible funding from the government due to the Trump admin? So many great ideas but the gov is being pitiful with funding. Is there more hope with the incoming Dem house?

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      Aaron Brown January 15, 2019 at 8:34 am

      Not much, at least not much that I’ve heard so far. TRB is a little more geared towards engineering/research/academia, and less towards “policy” – at least in the implementation of (there’s plenty of studies of policies!) Although there is obviously overlap and plenty of corporate sponsors of the event that are eagerly lobbying for infrastructure funding, this event is not particularly *explicitly* political in that context.

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