Chelsea Jordan | Cecil Daily

BALTIMORE — In Portland, Ore., public transportation is a huge part of the urban life, with 80 percent of adults in the area riding TriMet, which runs Portland’s transit system, according to TriMet figures.

Among their riders, 84 percent are “choice” riders, meaning they choose public transit over such transportation as driving their own cars.

What Portland offers its 603,000 residents — light rail, commuter rail, streetcars and buses — isn’t that different from systems in Baltimore.Transit

What makes Portland’s system so effective is its seamlessness and accessibility, says Katherine Hunter-Zaworski, a civil and construction engineering professor at Oregon State University.

“It’s just so easy. Things interface so nicely,” says Hunter-Zaworski, who has worked with TriMet on technology development. “The other thing about Portland transit is that, if you happen to be a wheelchair user or somebody with a disability, it is really quite easy to get around.”

Hunter-Zaworski, who is a director for the National Center for Accessible Transportation, says that West Coast systems have a cooperative and collaborative atmosphere that has encouraged more innovative and accessible transportation for all riders. {….}