Archive | March, 2011

The Addressable, Queryable Bus Stop?

Sometimes as I’m browsing through the too many RSS feeds I subscribe to, I’m struck by an interesting intersection between two items from different sources.

That happened this weekend when I noted this comment (from regular commenter Dave H) on the open thread:

I’m not sure if anyone here is familiar with QR Codes, but I was wondering about the idea about posting them at TriMet stops as Smart Phone use increases.

The iPhone, Android, Symbian and Palm platforms all support it with free applications (Android has native compatibility, as far as I know), so I’m wondering is this maybe a way to directly link a user to Transit Tracker information for the stop they’re at?

It’s an open and free to use standard, and it would make things really easy for users if all you have to do is aim your phone at a Transit Tracker QR Code to figure out when the next bus shows up it seems like an easy way to gain some choice riders.

If we can be bothered to post route info at every stop, is this maybe an easy way to help make the Smart Phone more transit integrated? I’m sure with GPS you can do similar things for finding next trips, but it seems like a way to move Transit Tracker from display boards to the pocket at a minimal cost.

This struck me as interesting, because it could probably be easily accomplished as a community project – it would just take a good mail merge program to produce labels with QR codes from TriMet’s GTFS files.

But could we do something beyond just Transit Tracker with it?

Then I came across this article (via @caseorganic) on the “City as Software” concept. It suggests that real objects in the urban environment should be “addressable and queryable”.

QR codes would clearly provide one convenient form of addressability. But what about “queryability”. What would we want to query from a transit stop beyond next arrivals?


EV Adoption in Oregon

Portland State University
Center for Transportation Studies
Spring 2011 Transportation Seminar Series

Speaker: George Beard, Portland State University

Topic: Electric Vehicles: Are We in The Driver’s Seat?

When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), Oregon has all the right ingredients: the Governor’s support, the necessary infrastructure and investment by major manufacturers; but is that enough to ensure success? George Beard, Portland State University’s conduit to Portland General Electric (PGE) and other EV partners, will provide a briefing on the status of EV deployment and adoption in Oregon. His talk will examine remaining barriers to EV adoption and the conditions in which key parties can overcome them. Can the professionals who are working on EVs, including planners and engineers, have any impact on the most important measure of success: consumer acceptance? Sit down, plug in, and find out!

When: Friday, April 1, 2011, 12:00 – 1:00pm

Where: PSU Urban Center Building, SW 6th and Mill, Room 204

Your Questions for Neil – “Round 2” – The Videos – Part 4

Here is the final installment of our recent interview with Neil McFarlane, based on questions submitted by the readers of Portland Transport. Today’s Part 4 talks about future projects and other miscellaneous questions.

Parts 1 and 2 |
Part 3 | Part 4

Special thanks to multiple volunteers who have compiled transcripts of these videos. There is also an embedded closed-captioning track on the YouTube videos (Click the “CC” button on the video player to view).

Pedestrian Safety Bill at the Legislature

A note from Portland’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PAC):

Senate Bill 424 has a Hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Tuesday March 29, 8:30 AM.

This is the Crosswalk Safety Bill (formerly known as the Hand Signal Bill) requested by the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition.

In past years, the PAC has encouraged and supported this legislation. This hearing is an opportunity to provide written or oral testimony.

  • SB 424 can help improve pedestrian safety while crossing roads and highways.
  • It can help reduce confusion among drivers about whether or not a pedestrian is intending to cross the street and allow them more time to stop safely.
  • It gives pedestrians a tool to clearly and safely communicate to drivers their intent to cross without needing to step or roll out into a busy roadway. They may safely remain on the edge of the sidewalk.
  • It provides a good education tool, among other lessons, for teaching our children and adults how to safely cross the street without going out into the road.

Links to the Bill:

Link to track changes to the hearing agenda and find more info besides what I pasted below:

Date: Tuesday-March 29
Time: 8:30 A.M.
Room: 343

**This meeting will begin at 8:30 am**


Public Hearing and Possible Work Session
SB 39 Requires Department of Justice to establish restitution collection pilot program in geographically dispersed counties or regions and to make grants to enable district attorney’s offices in participating counties or regions to employ one restitution clerk.

SB 415 Increases penalty for offense of violation driving while suspended or revoked if commission of offense contributed to serious physical injury or death of vulnerable user of public way.

SB 424 Clarifies that pedestrian is crossing roadway when any part or extension of pedestrian’s body moves onto roadway with intent to proceed.

Work Session
SB 495 Requires court or arbitrator to award reasonable attorney fees to prevailing plaintiff in action for fraud or based on untrue statement or omission of material fact in connection with sale or purchase of security.

SB 635 CARRIED OVER FROM 3/22/2011 AGENDA – Excepts from private security professional certification requirement person who provides security services as volunteer or for de minimis consideration other than money for event operated for benefit of nonprofit or federally tax exempt corporation.

SB 878 CARRIED OVER FROM 3/22/2011 AGENDA – Extends exception to private security professional licensing requirement to person employed for purpose of controlling access at entrance of premises by licensee of Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Staff respectfully requests that you submit 15 collated copies of written materials at the time of your testimony and, if possible, an electronic copy of materials provided to staff 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Persons making presentations including the use of video, DVD, PowerPoint or overhead projection equipment are asked to contact committee staff 24 hours prior to the meeting.

ADA accommodation requests should be directed to Karen Hupp, or Juliene Popinga, ADA Coordinators, at or by telephone at 1-800-332-2313. Requests for accommodation should be made at least 72 hours in advance.