Citizen Transportation Education: A Case Study of the Portland’s Traffic and Transportation Course

The Portland Traffic and Transportation course is taught each year to 30-40 Portland residents who want to learn more about how the local transportation system developed and functions. The course, which is operated by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, in conjunction with Portland State University. It helps participants understand local transportation agencies and their decision-making processes, and how to be involved. Over 1,200 Portland residents have taken the course over more than 20 years. This paper discusses findings from a case study about the course derived from interviews with the people involved in launching the course over twenty years ago, meetings with course instructors, administrators and teaching assistants, a review of course materials, and through a survey of past course participants. The course background provides important context into key considerations for launching and operating such a course. The survey of participants found that people enrolled for a variety of reasons, from a general interest in transportation to a desire to learn how to become transportation advocates. Participants generally feel the course imbues a solid understanding of local transportation agencies and processes. Many indicated that, through the course and course project, they have since been involved and successful in improving transportation in their neighborhood and beyond. The course offers a public involvement tool and model for cities to educate and engage residents as partners in improving the effectiveness of transportation agencies in meeting community needs. Providing residents with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively participate in transportation decision-making processes can help increase public participation while improving social capital.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ADA60 Standing Committee on Public Involvement in Transportation. Alternate title: Citizen Transportation Education: Case Study of Portland’s Traffic and Transportation Course.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • McNeil, Nathan
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01588043
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-0041
  • Files: PRP, TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 27 2016 5:13PM