(Photo courtesy of OSU-Cascades)
Around the world automotive innovation, big data and user demand challenge how transportation managers plan for the future. A new Mobility Lab at Oregon State University – Cascades may help area leaders identify more convenient, cost-effective and sustainable ways for residents to travel within the region, potentially increasing community livability and helping manage traffic congestion.
One project undertaken by the lab, a microtransit solution for community members and students impacted by the discontinued Cascades East Transit bus route 12, has been supported with $50,000 in funding from the City of Bend and $25,000 from St. Charles Health System.
Microtransit refers to on-demand, often app-enabled, shared ride services such as Uber and Lyft. In this instance, microtransit has the potential to serve users at less than half the cost of public bus transportation.
“Innovation in the transportation field, as in other fields requires testing,” said Casey Bergh, OSU-Cascades transportation program manager and director of the lab. “The Moblity Lab will allow transportation concepts to be tested and proven at a small scale, before they are invested in and executed at a larger scale in the Bend and Central Oregon communities.”
The Mobility Lab’s charge is to evaluate how technology impacts the future of transportation. Using an experimental approach, it proactively evaluates new mobility solutions in order to identify right fit — and rule out wrong fit — solutions and best practices for the local area.
The lab will engage computer science faculty, and students who will contribute data analytics, data visualization, animation or other services as part of a senior-level capstone project.
Students are currently analyzing datasets from CET, as well as from local Uber, Lyft and Zagster bikeshare service offerings. The analysis can help transportation managers in Central Oregon understand how residents travel throughout the region and provide valuable information that can influence future transportation investments.
To learn more about the Mobility Lab visit OSUcascades.edu/mobility-lab.
Oregon State University’s campus in Bend, Ore., features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant economy and abundant natural resources. Nearly 20 undergraduate majors, 30 minors and options, and three graduate programs include computer science, energy systems engineering, kinesiology, hospitality management, and tourism, recreation and adventure leadership. The campus expanded to a four-year university in 2015; its new campus opened in 2016.