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PSU awarded $2.83 million transportation study grant

The federal government has awarded Portland State University a $2.83 million grant to for a number of transportation studies.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the grant to the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (ORTEC), which is based at PSU. It was one of 142 applicants to the federal University Transportation Centers program for 35 grants.

ORTEC's mission is to foster a vision of transportation that builds livable communities. The studies will be conducted by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) based there. They include:

• A project evaluating how transit-oriented developments (TODs) affect jobs, housing choice and affordabilitY.

• A project examining their equity effects of TODs in immigrant communities.

• A study providing designers and engineers the safety effects of splitting scarce right-of-way among various modes.

• A project looking at whether a fuel-cell drive can reduce emissions from large commercial vehicles such as garbage trucks.

“OTREC is quickly becoming a national leader in researching innovative transportation systems and finding ways to encourage more livable communities,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said of the award. “This grant further solidifies OTREC’s leadership and builds on the success already happening at Portland State University, as well as helping move research into the community and making our cities a magnet for middle class families."

Since 2006, OTREC has received $26 million of U.S. DOT grants, matched one to one by community partners, for its transportation research and education center. The NITC program was created in 2012 to reflect the center’s national leadership on transportation serving livable communities.

“Portland State University continues to be recognized as a national leader in cutting-edge research on safety, multi-modal planning, and innovative methods to reduce vehicle emissions,” U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said of the award. “Expanding the scope of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities program builds upon OTREC’s record of success and I’m excited to see how we can capitalize on their work to create safer, healthier, and more livable communities.”