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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204

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Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer


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The Google car and the future of driving

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The dream of the robot-driven car had been around as long as personal jet-pack travel.  Google, of course, has a whole secret division devoted to crazy ideas and their self-driving car looks like it's quickly going from sci-fi to reality TV.

Watch out for this guy driving

you around soon.


Granted, this story isn't new.  Last week, just about every major media outlet covered Nevada's decision to grant Google permission for their autonomous car to drive itself around the state.  But what are the implication for our transportation infrastructure and our health?

What happens to those parking lots at places like the airport? That's a lot of pavement that could be obsolete in just 10 years (if you're inclined to believe PC Magazine writer John Dvorak's opinion).

And what about our personal health? The motoring public doesn't walk all that much right now, but what happens when we stop walking from the parking lot to the store? What are the cumulative impacts of even less physical activity in our daily lives?

The flip side is a potentially dramatic reduction in automobile crashes and increased transportation system efficiency.  Plus, we'll be allowed to text while we drive again.  Hooray!

Weigh in.  Is this for real?  Or will we still live in a future of honking horns and gridlocked traffic?  Will the Google car provide net benefits for society or cause more problems than it solves?

Portland's got a lot more transit than just TriMet

Even if you don't ride the bus, streetcar, MAX, or WES very often you're still probably familiar with TriMet, the Portland area's main transit provider.  You might even know about Clark County's C-Tran or perhaps you've seen the SAM buses in Sandy when you're heading up to Mt. Hood.

But did you know that between Longview and Salem there are 15 different transit options?  Whether you're heading to Astoria or Yamhill (no "Z" cities in Oregon) there's a bus that will take you there (and your bicycle taboot!).

And now in one beautifully designed map, you can point and click to learn more about each of these options.  Take a look at our new image map of the region's transit options.

Click on the picture to explore our new image map


Portland Employer Bike Summit a huge success

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Regence brings together over 50 employer representatives to discuss encouraging biking at the workplace

On May 18th, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon President Don Antonucci welcomed over 50 people representing dozens of employers to the city's first Portland Employer Bike Summit.

Speakers from Chris King Components, Daimler Trucks North America, David Evans and Associates, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University, Regence and Stoel Rives provided case studies on creating workplaces that encourage healthy, sustainable transportation. 

The conference concluded with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's bicycle tour of covered and secure bike parking in several downtown office buildings.

A number of the speakers (Chris King, David Evans, OHSU and Stoel Rives) described their company's financial reimbursement for bike commuters and how it helped the companies remain competitive in recruiting and retaining talented employees. 

Another key focus was providing adequate and safe bicycle parking. OHSU's bike valet system provided the most creative example. The valet system provides four part time jobs and is a faster, more flexible solution than a bike cage. John Landolfe, OHSU's transportation options coordinator, said the bike valet system costs roughly a fourth of the price of a traditional, secure bike cage.

Portland State Universityhas 30,000 students (and only 2,000 students living on campus) and 4,000 faculty and staff. According to PSU Transportation and Parking Manager Ian Stude, the university provides more than 2,000 bike parking spots (including two four indoor bike garages) and discounted student and faculty transit passes.  From 2000 to 2010, biking by students and staff has more than doubled tripled.

In 2010, 40% of student commute trips to PSU were made by transit and 12% of students, faculty and staff commuted by bike. If those people all chose to drive it would grind downtown traffic to halt, noted Stude. 

It was not only big firms who found a way to encourage biking. At Puppet Labs, a technology startup, 80% of employees commute by bike, foot or transit. According to Jill Burrows, the CEO bikes to work, help setting the tone for the company.

Encouragement was a common theme throughout the conference. OHSU's Landolfe turned the Field of Dreams analogy on its head recommending that companies encourage employees to bike and then build excellent facilities to insure that they get used ((“if they come, build it”).

Daimler Trucks North America's demonstrated the power of promotion through an internal company challenge for one bicycle jersey that generated over 11,000 bike commute miles by employees in the chilly and wet month of February. 

The Regence Bike Commuter Team envisioned and organized the conference. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the Portland Bureau of Transportation provided support.

For more information, contact Regence's Jeff Markle and read the Portland Employer Bike Summit meeting notes (scroll to the bottom of the page) submitted by summit participant Hanna Neuschwander.

8 reasons your business should promote bicycling

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Bike commuting pays big dividends

1) Your commute can alter your genes.
According to Dr. Ruth Loos, a program leader at the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge, England “Physical activity, even in small doses, may subvert genetic destiny. You don’t have to run marathons or work out in the gym. Walking the dog, cycling to work, weeding the garden — those all count” and provide enough moderate to vigorous physical activity to reap benefits.
“Physical activity attenuates the influence of FTO variants on obesity risk: a meta-analysis of 218,166 adults and 19,268 children.” PLoS Med.

2) The yearly average health cost savings for a physically active person (30 minutes or more of moderate activity/day for five days a week) is between $305 and $907
-Colditz GA. Economic costs of obesity and inactivity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(11, Suppl):S663–S667.
-Wang G, Pratt M, Macera CA, Zheng ZJ, Heath G. Physical activity, cardiovascular disease, and medical expenditures in U.S. adults. Ann Behav Med. 2004;28(2):88–94.
-Pratt M, Macera CA, Wang G. Higher direct medical costs associated with physical inactivity. Phys Sportsmed. 2000;28:63–70.

3) Adults who bike to work have better weight, blood pressure, and insulin levels. (Gordon-Larsen, P., et al., 2009)

4) Women who bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. (Luoto, R., et al., 2000)

5) Adolescents who bicycle are 48% less likely to be overweight as adults. (Menschik, D, et al., 2008)

6) The health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by a factor of 20 to one. (Hillman, M., 1992)

7) Sustainable transportation strategies can increase employee productivity 50% and cut sick time in half.
Research includes: Nieman, David, et al, “Immune Response to a 30-Minute Walk,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,Jan. 2005, pp. 57-62.  Besser, Lilah, et al, “Walking to Public Transit: Steps to Help Meet Physical Activity Recommendations,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2005, Vol. 29, pp 273-280.

8) Studies have demonstrated a significant link between commute stress and job satisfaction.
Research: Wener, Richard, et al, “Commuting Stress: Psychophysiological Effects of a Trip and Spillover in the Workplace,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 1924, pp. 112-117.

 *Check out the Case for Cycling wiki for more on why bicycling benefits everyone, not just people who bike.