• Barriers and Opportunities for Using Rail-Trails for Safe Travel in Rural, Isolated, and Tribal Communities

      Lowry, Michael; Chang, Kevin (2021-11)
      This project explored barriers and opportunities for more effectively using rail-trails for safe travel in rural, isolated, tribal, and indigenous communities. We investigated using crowdsourced data from a fitness app to estimate bicycle volumes on trails. For 10 locations this new method produced suitable results, but for 19 locations the method was not satisfactory. Future research could identify situations in which this new method is feasible. We also created a new mapping tool to get demographic data surrounding locations where new rail-trails could be built. We identified 8,616 miles of potential rail-trail in the Pacific Northwest and explored the surrounding demographics for 12 locations in rural communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. We conducted two separate surveys to solicit community member opinions and usage habits of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

      Chang, Kevin; Hodgson, Cody (2021-07-05)
      While extensive procedures have been developed for the collection and dissemination of motor vehicle volumes and speeds, these same procedures cannot always be used to collect pedestrian data, given the comparably unpredictable behavior of pedestrians and their smaller physical size. There is significant value to developing lower cost, lower intrusion methods of collecting pedestrian travel data, and these collection efforts are needed at the local or “grass-roots” level. While previous studies have documented many different data collection methods, one newer option considers the use of drones. This study examined its feasibility to collect pedestrian data and used this technology as part of a school travel mode case study. Specific information with regard to the study methodology, permissions required, and final results are described in detail as part of this report. This study concluded that while purchasing and owning a drone requires relatively minimal investment, the initial steps required to operate a drone, along with processing time required to analyze the data collected, represent up-front barriers that may prevent widespread usage at this time. However, the use of drones and the opportunities that it presents in the long-term offer promising outcomes.
    • MIXED-USE SAFETY ON RURAL FACILITIES IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: Consideration of Vehicular, Non-Traditional, and Non-Motorized Users

      Belz, Nathan; Chang, Kevin (Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, 2018-08-15)
      In the United States, one in 12 households do not own a personal automobile and approximately 13% of those who are old enough to drive do not. Trips by these individuals are being made in one of many other possible modes, creating the need to “share space” between many forms of travel. The goal of this project is to: improve safety and minimize the dangers for all transportation mode types while traveling in mixed-use environments on rural facilities through the development and use of engineering and education safety measures. To that end, this report documents three specific efforts by the project team. First, a comprehensive literature review of mixed-use safety issues with consideration of non-motorized and non-traditional forms of transportation. Second, a novel analysis of trauma registry data. Third, development, execution and analysis of the Pacific Northwest Transportation Survey geared toward understanding safety perceptions of mixed-use users. Most notably, findings indicate that ATVs (and similar non-traditional-type vehicles) are used on or near roads 24% of the time and snowmachines are used on or near roads 23% of the time. There are significantly more (twice as many) ATV-related on-road traumas in connected places than isolated places in Alaska and three times more traumas in highway connected places than in secondary road connected places. Comparably, bicycles had 449 on-road traumas between 2004 and 2011 whereas ATVs had 352 on-road traumas. Users of all modes who received formalized training felt safer in mixed-use environments than those who reported having no training at all.
    • Reaching Out to Tribal Communities: Lessons Learned and Approaches to Consider

      Awwad-Rafferty, Rula; Chang, Kevin; Brown, Helen (2019-12-31)
      When transportation safety decision-making is desired, the involvement and engagement with a community is essential. A streamlined delivery of a project or program is more likely to occur when active dialogue and an exchange of ideas occurs in advance and occurs frequently. This is particularly important in tribal communities, who value sustained relationships and represent the focus population of this study. The research team, on six separate occasions, met with local and regional tribal leaders to explore and discuss transportation safety needs within and outside tribal communities, as well as discern the recommended approaches to foster ongoing dialogue about these needs. In all cases these discussions closely correlated with existing research studies or activities; transportation safety and equity is not seen as separate from other tribal foci and community needs. Specific recommendations to consider, in no particular order, included the following: invest respectfully enough time for people to talk; tribes think long-term and consider the impact of any decision from a long-term viewpoint so an iterative process and re-sharing of ideas is critical; the power of decision is in the hands of the tribe and its members; do not lump tribes together as each tribe is sovereign and unique and every community should be expected to think differently; all tribes are unique as is the environmental and social context; to disseminate information widely and iteratively, do so when there is a large group or event; be sure to understand the Tribal governance, decision making, and organizational structure; know who is the tribal Chairman or Chairwoman; and develop an emic and etic understanding of the community.