Some intersections are riskier to cross than others, but looking at the number of pedestrian injuries alone doesn’t tell the whole story. A new RSI-funded study combines crash data with pedestrian counts to deliver a more nuanced picture of traffic dangers for people on foot.
Congestion on metro area freeways has reached record levels, and a Twin Cities think tank says bad public policy and not regional growth is to blame. In a report called "Twin Cities Traffic Congestion: It's No Accident," author Randal O'Toole squarely points the finger at the Met Council and the Minnesota Department of Transportation, claiming the agencies have shifted their priority away from congestion mitigation to encouraging commuters to use public transportation and other alternatives to driving....
A new 10-episode podcast is exploring what commuting in the Twin Cities is like—and what it could be.
The University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies has developed an app that will pair directly with technology in construction zones. Researcher Chen-Fu Liao calls it "a Bluetooth beacon." Workers can send messages to drivers as they approach construction zones. The idea is not to look down at the app or the phone but to have it speak to drivers. ... The U of M's Human First Lab tested the app for driver distractions.
Nearly a quarter of adults in Minnesota ride their bikes at least once a week, and that number is even higher for those under 18. Seven in 10 walk daily in their community. Advocates are asking lawmakers to keep that in mind as they debate the active transportation bill.
Truck drivers are everywhere on our highways, undergirding the American economy, but most of us know little about their work and personal lives beyond musty stereotypes from the days of CB radio. Most truckers were quick to disabuse me of any notion that life on the open road holds romantic allure. ... A couple of truckers who are now college professors were helpful to me. Stephen V. Burks, an economist at the University of Minnesota at Morris, calculated that his pay as a union driver in 1979 would be the equivalent of $101,600 today.
In conjunction with Bike to Work Week, Brendan Murphy gives an update on the Accessibility Observatory’s work measuring access to jobs by bicycle in this guest post.... People are steadily increasing the rates at which they choose to bike to where they need to go, and with that comes the need to focus more intently on whether our road, trail, and path systems do a good job (or not) of getting people on bikes to destinations safely and efficiently.
As the school year comes to a close, so too does a major project in Brooklyn Park that will shape the city's future. The nine month collaboration between the city and the University of Minnesota is called the 'Resilient Communities Project.' Nearly 300 students completed work on two dozen projects, and the students' findings will be used to implement city policies for years to come.
In observance of National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week 2017, Brendan Murphy of the U of M’s Accessibility Observatory shares his work on bicyclist safety in Minneapolis in this guest post.
University of Minnesota grad student Jargalmaa Erdenemandakh put her public policy major to work in Brooklyn Park this semester. For months, she’s been researching how Minnesota’s sixth-largest city can assess its rebranding efforts. Her findings are part of the U’s Resilient Communities Project, which connects students with communities chosen each academic year through an application process. Students complete projects across a broad array of topics and turn their findings over to city leaders, who can use them to guide policy and urban planning.
Researchers at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs have found a definite link between the construction of the Green Line and economic development activity along its route.
The Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee (MFAC) recently published its 2016 annual report on the state of freight in Minnesota. Karen Donohue, a professor of supply chain and operations at the U’s Carlson School of Management and a CTS Scholar, is one of many Minnesota experts featured in the report.
CTS scholar Cathy French and three U of M students were honored by WTS Minnesota at the organization's 2017 Scholarships and Recognitions Luncheon on April 27.
May 1 marks the start of National Bike Month, an annual celebration of bicycling sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists.
Last month, the U of M’s Resilient Communities Project announced that the City of Ramsey, located in Anoka County, will be its next partner community. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Ramsey and the U of M will work together on approximately 20 multidisciplinary projects from the city’s strategic plan.
The day after a section of an Interstate 85 bridge in Atlanta collapsed, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority saw a 21 percent increase in ridership. Nearly a month later, the growth in new riders is slowing down. ... Michael Iacano worked with his colleagues at the University of Minnesota at the time to study the impact of the collapse using two years’ worth of data from Metro Transit, the largest public transit agency in the area.
Those familiar thick carpets of blue salt crystals could soon be a thing of winters past on Minnesota roads. Instead, expect to see more brine. Liquid anti-icing agents, like salt brine, are the current stars of the winter maintenance world, while granular anti-icing agents -- like sand and rock salt -- get used more sparingly and for specific purposes, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, academic researchers and environmental consultants. ...
The city of Ramsey will partner with University of Minnesota students as it updates its long-term plans on issues including community development, water conservation, community engagement and more. Now in its fifth year, the University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project, through a competitive process, chooses one community each school year to give university students and a chance to work on a multitude of projects. And it gives the city some extra input as it explores some big topics.
We often identify as Minnesotans or Midwesterners, citizens of the Twin Cities metro area, or simply our various hometowns. But did you know you're also a resident of Laurentide? This is just one of the unofficial designations that researchers, regional planners and other experts have for the Twin Cities and its surrounding areas as they redraw the United States to better reflect how cities currently connect with each other and will do so in the future.... Tom Fisher and David Levinson comment.
Do you work for a local transportation agency in Minnesota? Do you or your maintenance staff need funding to develop a new idea, tool, material, or process related to operations, construction, or maintenance? The Local OPERA program wants your proposals! Submit your project ideas by May 12.
On April 10, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs launched Civios, a new online collection of videos, podcasts, and other multimedia tools that translate public affairs research into easy-to-understand presentations. The collection features work by CTS scholars Yingling Fan and Greg Lindsey.
Richard P. Braun, the founding director of CTS and a champion of transportation innovation, died this week at the age of 91.
In Washington, one of freshman Rep. Jason Lewis’ first legislative moves was to introduce a bill that he claims will limit the power and scope of the Met Council, the Twin Cities metro area planning organization. Lewis’ bill would overturn an obscure, 11th-hour rule from Barack Obama’s administration regarding metropolitan planning organizations, or MPOs, of which the Met Council is one of about 400 around the U.S...
Richard P. Braun, 91, a longtime public servant who was commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation from 1979 to 1986, died this week.... In 1986, Braun stepped down as MnDOT commissioner to lead what is now the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month—a perfect time to remind all drivers to put safety first, put down their devices, and focus on driving.
John Hourdos, director of the U of M’s Minnesota Traffic Observatory is featured.
Congratulations to CTS-affiliated researcher Loren Terveen on being named a new Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota.
Tourism specialist and extension educator Xinyi Qian spoke to John Hines live on WCCO-AM radio about a recent state report on the economic benefits of commuting by bike.
In 1987, a new research center opened at the University of Minnesota that would begin a decades-long mission to catalyze innovation in all facets of transportation, from traffic flow and safety to pavements and bridges. This year, the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) celebrates its 30th anniversary, capping three decades of developing new tools to help agencies across the US improve transportation systems and provide objective data to inform elected officials on matters of transportation policy.
A new report pegs the economic impact of cycling in Minnesota at $780 million annually. The study finds more than 13-percent of Minnesotans commute by bike, at least once in a while. The state Department of Transportation commissioned the study, which also found about 5,500 jobs tied to the biking industry. The Star Tribune reports Minneapolis leads the nation in the concentration of bike lanes and paths, with near six per square mile. Researchers at the University of Minnesota surveyed bikers and businesses and used public health data and computer modeling to compile the report.
Biking isn’t just a fun way to get around Lake Calhoun or a cheap way to get to work—it’s also an economic and health boon to the state. That’s according to the findings from a report by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, which said that Minnesota’s bike industry contributed $780 million in economic output in 2014. It also helped support 5,500 jobs and over $200 million in labor-related income.
For many Minnesotans cycling is nothing more than a Sunday frolic, but a new report finds that the state’s bike industry produces $780 million in annual economic activity, 5,519 jobs and millions of dollars in health care savings because of reduced obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
CTS and the Roadway Safety Institute provided 21 U of M graduate students with travel awards to attend the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in January. The travel awards allow students interested in transportation to learn about the latest transportation research and network with professionals.
In February, CTS convened all five of our research, education, and engagement councils for a joint meeting focused on how the transportation community can help reduce GHG emissions. Representatives from several Minnesota agencies shared what they've been doing to reduce emissions, and attendees participated in a group discussion.
On Saturday, kids and their families how to “be seen and be safe” in the Roadway Safety Institute exhibit at Tech Fest, an annual event held at The Works Museum in Bloomington, Minnesota.
A team of researchers from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Department of Administration, and U of M Extension to develop and implement a unique approach linking economic development and transportation planning. Their work has focused on getting manufacturers’ perspectives on transportation issues as part of regional transportation decision making.
As cities across the U.S.—from college towns to major urban centers—have introduced bike sharing into their mix of transportation options, elected officials, advocacy organizations, and social justice groups are raising questions about equity. In this guest post on the CTS blog, three Humphrey School students share highlights from a project they conducted on bike sharing and equity.
A measure introduced at the Legislature would exempt car-sharing firms like Car2Go from paying motor vehicle rental taxes and fees in Minnesota. If the bill passes, its supporters hope Car2Go would come back to the Twin Cities or its competitors would enter the market.... Car2Go pared back its Twin Cities geographic service area in 2015, saying it preferred to concentrate on places that resulted in the most use.
In September, Lyft CEO John Zimmer declared the world to be on the cusp of the "third transportation revolution," when self-driving cars push us one step closer to "Star Trek" utopianism.... In the Twin Cities, there are scattered efforts to engage with the technology, and University of Minnesota research and researchers are in the thick of them. Frank Douma, with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and Tom Fisher, the director of the Metropolitan Design Center, are cited along with buses and snowplows outfitted with advanced driver assist systems.
Minneapolis Tree Advisory Committee has called for the city to plant about 25,000 new trees each year. That sounds like a lot, but New York City planted 1 million trees in eight years, over five times the rate in the Minneapolis recommendation.... Imagine Minneapolis a couple of decades from now, with a green canopy covering almost half of the city and an evergreen forest along our highways. We would have cleaner air and water, cooler summers, less windy winters, higher land values, and a healthier population.
Last month, the University of Minnesota’s annual State of Research report highlighted a research enterprise that continues to grow, driven by greater diversification of funding sources and enhanced public-private partnership. The report, produced by the Office of the Vice President for Research, also highlighted several ongoing research projects that are advancing knowledge across a wide variety of fields.
LA Metro, the Los Angeles rail and bus transit system, is the third most comprehensive system in the entire USA, according to a study by the University of Minnesota. Local online magazine LAist describes it as technically the “best accessible” transit system in the country, while the city's integrated bus system is “robust” and “incredibly extensive."
Whether it's winter or summer, it's clear to see bicycling is popular in Minnesota. Now, there are numbers to show just how beneficial the activity is to our state thanks to a new study conducted by the University of Minnesota, and funded by MnDOT. MnDOT tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this study is the first of its kind. Officials at MnDOT say Minnesota is one of the most bike friendly states in the country, but now there are numbers to back it up.
How well does your city’s transit system connect people to jobs? A new report from the University of Minnesota lays out how many jobs are accessible via transit in major American cities. New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and D.C. offer the best transit access to jobs, the authors concluded. In addition, Seattle and Denver are two regions that punch above their weight, according to co-author David Levinson, a University of Minnesota civil engineering professor.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota-Duluth may have the answer to our pothole problem. "I think everybody recognizes that road deterioration and potholes are a real problem. It's a huge cost to consumers and to motorists on an annual basis just for damage to their vehicles," said Larry Zanko with UMD's Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI). Zanko, principal investigator, is part of a team fine-tuning two new ways for pavement patching and repair--both taconite-related.
According to the Met Council's 2015 Regional Park-and-Ride System Report, there were 19,340 vehicles in the lots when the annual survey was taken in late September and early October 2015. The annual survey tracks facility use to identify emerging travel patterns by park-and-ride users across the Twin Cities region. It also is used by planners to determine where to put new facilities and update service. And that's where another study conducted by University of Minnesota Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering Prof.
On too many days, Metro serves up an ample dose of frustration, with breakdowns and repair work snarling travel, but the subway and bus network ranks fourth in the nation when it comes to connecting the dots between home and work. That’s according to the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota, which has ranked 49 of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. for the ability to get workers to their jobs via transit.
New research from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota ranks 49 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States for connecting workers with jobs via transit. The new rankings, part of the Access Across America study that began in 2013, focus on accessibility, a measure that examines both land use and transportation systems. Accessibility measures how many destinations, such as jobs, can be reached in a given time.
Growing traffic on U.S. roadways and heavy construction machinery in road work zones pose a critical safety threat to construction workers. At the University of Minnesota, Duluth, researchers are taking a new approach to preventing work-zone accidents by bringing situational awareness to the operators of construction vehicles.
TaskRabbit was founded in 2008 with a big idea. On the company's website and app, people make money by assembling strangers’ Ikea furniture or cleaning their bathrooms.... Saif Benjaafar, who runs the Sharing Economy Initiative, a research project at the University of Minnesota, credits TaskRabbit with helping create a movement.
To help prospective college students winnow their school choices, WalletHub’s analysts compared 415 U.S. cities of varying sizes based on 26 key indicators of academic, social and economic opportunities for students. Our data set ranges from “cost of living” to “quality of higher education” to “crime rate.” University of Minnesota professors John Adams and Andrew Furco are interviewed.
Dodging potholes is a rite of winter and spring for Minnesota motorists, but a research team in Duluth is attacking the annoying roadway craters head-on. Experts from the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute are advancing research on a pair of technologies that, in their view, will put maintenance crews a step or two closer to the “ideal repair” for potholes. Compared with traditional hot-mix asphalt repairs, the technologies lead to cheaper, quicker and more permanent fixes, said Lawrence Zanko, a senior research fellow who is heading up the team.
Dangerous collisions between cars and bikes could be a thing of the past with the help of a University of Minnesota student. At a conference hosted by the University’s Center for Transportation Studies earlier this month, a professor and graduate student presented a system to detect cars in a bicyclist’s blind spot. Mechanical engineering student Woongsun Jeon and Professor Rajesh Rajamani created a method that places sensors on the side and back of a bicycle.
The first snowfall of the season means adjusting our driving behavior to deal with cold, snow, and ice. HumanFIRST Lab principal researcher Nichole Morris provides tips and insight into safely driving in winter weather.
Researchers in Australia and the United States are now testing what kind of feedback will make young drivers slow down. Statistics show young drivers die at twice the rate of other drivers.... In an American study, newly-licensed teenage drivers were more likely to stop speeding when their parents received text messages dobbing them in for breaking the limit. Road safety expert Max Donath, who visited Australia last month, said most parents trusted their teenagers "much more than they should".
Donald Trump loves the idea of infrastructure. He brings it up all the time. He wants to make an infrastructure bill a priority in his first 100 days as president.... David Levinson, a transportation analyst and professor at the University of Minnesota, brings up a number of other concerns about a plan to set up PPPs that don’t rely so heavily on tolls. PPPs are complicated multi-decade financial arrangements, and not all states and localities are necessarily well-equipped to manage these deals in the public interest.
In June, more than 40 White Earth Nation (Minnesota) students were introduced to a variety of transportation topics in a daylong session offered by the Roadway Safety Institute (RSI).... The Roadway Safety Institute also sponsored a day focused on safety at the second annual National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) hosted by the Center for Transportation Studies in July on the University of Minnesota campus.
University of Minnesota experts are touting automated speed enforcement cameras as an effective way to curb speeding drivers — a top cause of driving fatalities in the state. But some say the cameras could face similar pushback to red light cameras which were deemed a violation to state law nine years ago. Nichole Morris, University research associate at the Center for Transportation Studies, said allowing speed cameras should be a “no-brainer” for state legislation.
A new pilot program at the University of Minnesota focuses on working with partners outside the U to create new knowledge and put it into play benefiting the community. In one of three pilot projects, University researcher Diwakar Gupta is working with Metro Transit experts Scott Cady and Christine Kuennen to develop new scientific methods for optimizing its bus and light-rail operations.
Earlier this year, new rules overseeing taxicabs and ride-sharing firms, including UberX and Lyft, were proposed for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Few could have predicted what a wrenching, regulatory journey it would prove to be. Proposed ordinances were retooled along the way, and the most recent version will be voted on by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) on Monday. If approved, the new regulations will take effect Jan. 1.
State and federal transportation officials, business owners and developers are exploring the notion of “capping” several sections of freeways with wide swaths of land. The idea has been floated around the Twin Cities area from St. Paul to north Minneapolis to Edina. Some view it as a way to add developable space in built-out areas. Others see public health benefits in controlling air and noise pollution....
The number of pedestrians killed on state roads this year is already at 37 — up from 23 at this time last year. Plus, October, the most dangerous month for pedestrians, is just getting started. This year in St. Paul alone, there have been 117 crashes involving vehicles and pedestrians through Sept. 23, resulting in 91 injuries and three deaths. Those numbers are why St.
The rise of online rentals in Rochester, Minnesota, has jumpstarted a policy debate that's playing out in much bigger cities: how to balance the interests of existing, regulated businesses against those operating in the unregulated sharing economy. Big debates around car-sharing services, like Uber, continue to play out in city council meetings.... University of Minnesota design expert Tom Fisher says getting this question right is crucial to realizing the Destination Medical Center vision. Millennials make up roughly 40 percent of the workforce.
A team of researchers has concluded that for every three gallons of corn ethanol that’s being burned under America’s flagship renewable fuel rules, Americans will avoid burning just one gallon of gasoline made from crude. Their findings add to evidence that the mandated use of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard, which was approved by Congress and is overseen by the EPA, is making the problem of global warming worse — while doing little to ease fuel imports. The researchers, from the University of Minnesota, St.
Most assessments measuring congestion focus on the number of extra hours individual motorists spend stuck in traffic each year. But a new study from University of Minnesota researchers takes a different approach. The “Access Across America: Auto 2015” study looks at how congestion collectively impacts the ability of people to get to and from jobs. In other words, it looks at how many jobs drivers can get to in a specified amount of time and how many they can’t. AO director Andrew Owen is interviewed.
Our decisions about transportation determine much more than where roads or bridges or tunnels or rail lines will be built. They determine the connections and barriers that people will encounter in their daily lives — and thus how hard or easy it will be for people to get where they need and want to go.... according to a study released by the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota, a typical resident of the Baltimore-Towson region can reach fewer than 138,000 of our region's 1.2 million jobs in under an hour using public transportation.
Many area farmers are entering the busy harvest season but before cutting down all their crops, MnDOT is looking for farmers to take part in their standing corn rows program. In the winter months, snow might be nice to look at... but for drivers, it's a nuisance they'd rather avoid. That has MnDOT and the University of Minnesota Extension working with landowners to keep the roads clear, especially in some 3,700 problem sites on state highways....
While still in their infancy, two University of Minnesota start-ups will travel to Congress on Tuesday as part of a University event that helps nascent companies secure investment. The two companies, Minnepura and Innotronics, were funded with help from the University’s Venture Center..... Innotronics—launched last year—and aims to market remote sensors for industrial and agricultural equipment. The three-member team first researched sensors for cars that could detect and prevent imminent crashes, said Innotronics Chief Scientific Officer Rajesh Rajamani.
New research from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota estimates the impact of traffic congestion on access to jobs for the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States. The new rankings are part of the Access Across America study, which began in 2013. The rankings focus on accessibility, a measure that examines both land use and transportation systems. Accessibility measures how many destinations, such as jobs, can be reached in a given time.
When it comes to earthquakes and other natural disasters, designing structures to be resilient against environmental forces can help limit the resulting damage. Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Multi-Axial Subassemblage Testing (MAST) Lab can test how structures and building components hold up against the strain of enormous natural forces, from simulated earthquakes to tornadoes to soil pressure.
As Americans drive more miles than ever before, express lanes are facing a challenge: they are too popular. So many drivers of all kinds are using the lanes that it is increasingly difficult for transportation officials to keep them speedy.... As tolls have climbed around the country, researchers have noticed an interesting phenomenon: Rather than deterring drivers, as they are supposed to, higher prices tend to attract them.
Innotronics LLC, a company launched by the U of M’s Venture Center based on scientific discoveries made by CTS Scholar Rajesh Rajamani, was named among the “Best University Startups 2016” in August by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer.
Last week the Metropolitan Council adopted a plan to issue $103.5 million in “certificates of participation” (COPs) to help pay for the $1.9 billion Southwest light-rail project. Because state lawmakers failed to fund their anticipated share of the project, the Met Council was left scrambling for cash. The project faced imminent shutdown—and with $140 million already spent on it....
Maps and an abundance of other current data and advice for transit and workforce development are part of an impressive report that was released toward the end of the regular session by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies. A distinguished U of M associate professor in transportation policy, Yingling Fan, is the lead author.
Minnesota’s Smart Lanes is the brand name of the active traffic management (ATM) system implemented on I-35W and I-94, the two busiest freeways in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The centerpiece of this system, and a novel idea at the time of its installation since no other U.S. city has anything similar, is the implementation of Intelligent Lane Control Signs (ILCS). Minnesota Traffic Observatory director John Hourdos explains.
Research shows left-turning vehicles are more likely to be involved in a collision, because the vehicle must cross in front of oncoming traffic.... Experts say that while there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the hazards, such as better road design and alert drivers, turning left is just inherently more risky. "They are the most dangerous because they are direct conflicts between different movements," said John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory and an adjunct assistant civil engineering professor at the University of Minnesota.
While he's long been interested in the tangible, physical world around us, University of Minnesota Metropolitan Design Center director Tom Fisher has a new book of essays about "the design of what we cannot see."
In theU.S. overall, there aren’t enough jobs to go around. But that’s not the case in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, where one job opening exists for each unemployed person, according to a 2015 report. The problem, however, is that while these vacancies are clustered in the suburbs, the people who could potentially fill them live in the urban centers.
Many qualified job-seekers in the metro area remain unemployed because they can’t find transportation to work, a new study found. The study, published by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies and released to the public late last month, found urban workers are often qualified for entry-level jobs but have no way of reaching those jobs in the suburbs.
A recent University of Minnesota study found a “serious disconnect” between unemployed workers and job vacancies in the seven-county Twin Cities area. The culprit? The lack of a dependable car, for one, but also the need for a public transportation system that’s reliable and convenient. As a result, disadvantaged workers who live in urban areas often have no way to reach employment centers in suburbia, the study concludes.
The absolute best way to reduce cut-through traffic is to transform your neighborhood into a grid. Cut-through traffic “is particularly a problem in areas that try to concentrate traffic onto a few major roads, but leave only a few other routes besides main arterials connected,” says David Levinson, a civil engineer with the University of Minnesota. Streets arranged as connected grids, on the other hand, “tend to distribute traffic more evenly.”
A new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Traffic Observatory shows that drivers are heeding the messages displayed on the high-tech warning signs designed to get them to switch lanes before they reach the point where there is a stall, crash or hazard impeding traffic. But when it comes to mitigating congestion, well, that’s another story.... The signs had the intended effect on driver behavior, meaning vehicles vacated the lanes far enough in advance to minimize traffic disruption, said study coordinator John Hourdos.
Connecting unfilled Twin Cities jobs with workers is a matter of distance, and University of Minnesota researchers Andy Guthrie and Ying Fan say they might have a solution.
According to a new University of Minnesota study, the mismatch between unemployed workers and job vacancies is a serious problem in the Twin Cities region and it appears to have worsened since the turn of the millennium. The biggest concentrations of unemployed workers lack fast or frequent transit service to some of the richest concentrations of job vacancies, particularly vacancies in the south and southwest metro.
The $27 million A Line opened June 11 amid much fanfare among transit and elected officials. ... University of Minnesota Prof. David Levinson recently released an accessibility evaluation of the A Line, part of a broader, federally funded project.
Getting a driver’s license is considered a rite of passage in American culture. But this exciting coming-of-age has instead become a death sentence for thousands of teens each year. Motor-vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 16 and 19, which also happens to be the age group with the highest risk of crashes. Nichole Morris, principal researcher in the HumanFIRST Laboratory at the Roadway Safety Institute, and research scholar with the Center for Transportation Studies at University of Minnesota, offers expert insights.
In Minnesota, the incidents of traffic deaths among the American Indian (AI) population is 2.5 times higher than the general population and a recent tribal road safety summit in the state highlighted the need for accurate geographical data on accident types and locations. Many incidents occur on dirt roads that are well below normal US standards of construction and maintenance. Professor Kathy Quick, of the Roadway Safety Institute at the University of Minnesota, says “much existing research is at the level of the AI population in the US as a whole.
Potholes are a world-wide problem. This article highlights new research, including a project out of the University of Minnesota Duluth, that aims to make pothole patching more effective and long-lasting. Led by Larry Zanko, the research team developed an experimental repair vehicle that uses microwaves and taconite to heat up the patch and improve adhesion. More information: Microwaves and taconite improve pothole repair, CTS Catalyst, July 2013
Nichole Morris, a researcher at the HumanFirst Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, has startling statistics that should keep parents awake. Morris says the most hazardous years of life for children are between 16 and 17 -- not because of suicide, cancer or other accidents; the cause is driving. Morris acknowledges cars and roads have become safer. The trouble is young drivers make fatal mistakes that should never happen.
With this issue, the Journal of Transport and Land Use enters its ninth volume (and many articles from volume 10 can be found online under Forthcoming). Many of the articles in the issues in this and next volume were selected from papers presented at the 2014 World Symposium on Transport Land Use Research in Delft, the Netherlands.
Professor David Levinson, University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies and Department of Civil Engineering, discusses the future of Hyperloop as it completes its first test.
CTS and the Roadway Safety Institute today hosted U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar with Minnesota high school students, safety leaders, researchers, and advocates to highlight the dangers of distracted driving.
University of Minnesota researchers are working to create an algorithm to solve scheduling issues for public transit. A study found that dispatchers manually assign driving jobs to workers on a daily basis, and when bus drivers call in sick or have some sort of emergency, dispatchers must quickly assign jobs to reserve drivers or overtime bus drivers.
With advancing technology and widely available car-sharing services, getting around without your own car is becoming a reality for big-city dwellers. The need for personal vehicles is dwindling with the rise of self-driving cars and sharing services — such as zipcar, Hourcar and car2go — according to a University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies report published this month. ... Car-sharing service users pay per trip, eschewing usual expenses like monthly loans or maintenance, said David Levinson, a civil engineering professor and the study’s principal investigator.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is in the middle of an open call for state and local agencies to submit data that it will use to put together a national transit map. ... Many transit agencies have begun to publish their route and schedule data online in a standard, machine-readable format. By combining this data into a National Transit Map, we will be able to better understand and illustrate the role of transit in America, understand where gaps in service exist and help connect more Americans to opportunity.
This spring, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is ramping up its "living snow fence" program, just as farmers begin planting their fields across the state. The program aims to create safer road conditions by paying farmers to leave corn rows, hay bales or silage bags along the side of state-maintained roads to break blowing snow. The program has been around for a number of years, but it really gained steam after the terrible 1996-97 winter (remember that one?).
Could you save by dumping one vehicle? Over the past half-dozen years, new car- and ride-sharing services have revolutionized the way people get around, creating a new set of alternatives. ... If you doubled up only a few times a week, you’re a strong candidate for downsizing, says David Levinson, a civil engineering professor and researcher at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the amount of snow that blows across a road can be 100 times more snow than what's falling from the sky. In 2013, researchers from the University of Minnesota and MnDOT set out to find a new way, a cost-effective way, to keep some of that snow off the roads. It turns out the answer may be as simple as shrub willows. That's right, shrub willows.
The car-sharing service car2go has scaled back its presence in the Twin Cities to concentrate its cars in more high-demand areas. The company downsized its 107 square mile service area — which was the company’s largest service area — to 50 square miles last week. The University of Minnesota area is included in the company’s smaller footprint. ...
Truck drivers with sleep apnea who don't regularly follow their treatment program are much more likely to crash, a new study finds. "The most surprising result of our study is the strength and robustness of the increase in the crash risk for drivers with sleep apnea who fail to adhere to mandated treatment with positive airway pressure therapy [CPAP]," said study author Stephen Burks. He's principal investigator of the Truckers & Turnover Project at the University of Minnesota.
Truck drivers who fail to adhere to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a fivefold increase in the risk of serious, preventable crashes, according to a new study led by University of Minnesota Morris faculty, staff, and student researchers and supported by the Roadway Safety Institute at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. This is the largest study of sleep apnea and crash risk among commercial motor vehicle drivers to date. UMM professor Stephen Burks is leading the study.
While many experts says that too much involvement in your teenager's life can be counterproductive, statistics show that advice doesn't apply to driving. NBC's Tom Costello reports for TODAY from a driver's ed program in Potomac, Maryland. University of Minnesota researcher Nichole Morris was interviewed for the story.
In the labyrinth of bus routes, rail lines and commuter arteries that make up a city map, identifying areas that lack sufficient services can be difficult. But a new U.S. Transportation Department initiative would help pinpoint these “transit deserts.” Then, planners say, urban and suburban pockets with substandard train and bus service — or those lacking any transit — could be better connected to a city’s grid.
Among the people who know what they are talking about, the unanimous message to parents is: You’re not worried nearly enough. Get much more involved. Your child’s life may be in danger. What’s the topic? Teenage driving. “If you’re going to have an early, untimely death,” said Nichole Morris, a principal researcher at the HumanFIRST Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, “the most dangerous two years of your life are between 16 and 17, and the reason for that is driving.”
In recent years, the economy is shared around the world quietly. Credit Suisse believes that the global economic share in the profits generated from the rise in 2013 of $15 billion in 2025 to $335 billion. As an economic model, share ideas through the adjustment of economic resources to achieve social stock of products and services to maximize use, which continues to stimulate economic growth through new investment in traditional practices brought new ideas. Some analysts believe that sharing economy will gradually enter the fast lane.
The Minneapolis School District's decision to have high school students use public transportation to get to class instead of riding yellow school buses is paying off with better attendance and better grades according to a new study by University of Minnesota researchers. And in a surprising finding, it's also helped their social well being, according to the study of the Student Pass program published in the February edition of Catalyst, a monthly newsletter published by the university's Center for Transportation Studies.
In 2013, six Minneapolis public high schools participated in Metro Transit’s student Go-To Card program, which gave students free or discounted passes for unlimited rides for that school year.
A newly published University of Minnesota analysis of a program for Minneapolis high school students to use public transportation instead of traditional yellow school buses has found a range of benefits—from better student attendance to financial savings to reduced vehicle mileage and emissions.
Imagine a world without traffic jams, car crashes, or highway pileups. A future where smartphones are no longer a distraction from safe driving, but rather a safety tool. A future where it’s easier for everyone to get where they need to be, whether they’re driving, busing, biking, or hoofing it. This future may happen sooner than later, thanks to advancements from researchers in the U’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE). These researchers are helping to make our commutes smoother, our vehicles smarter, and our destinations more accessible.
MnDOT District 7 is piloting a snowplow driver assist system to combat the blowing snow and fog that often cause zero visibility. The DAS helps snowplow operators see road alignments and features, such as turn lanes, guardrails, and road markings. Even in less extreme winter weather, snowplow operators gain assurance of their lane location using the system. ... The DAS system was designed by the U of M Intelligent Vehicles Lab and deployed by licensee, MTS Systems.
Stearns County is a microcosm of the growing chasm between Minnesotans' demands for a modern, safe, efficient network of roads, bridges and transit, and the available dollars to pay for it. ... But those funding sources haven’t been keeping pace, and drivers now pay about half the amount of tax per vehicle mile traveled as they did in the 1960s, according to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies.
Metro Transit is testing its first rapid transit bus line on an urban street. The new A Line is designed to attract more riders by cutting travel time and improving bus service. ... The new bus line plays a different role than light rail or even highway-based bus rapid transit, said Andrew Guthrie, a research fellow at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The rapid transit lines "are very much about setting a higher standard of quality for local service."
Bus Rapid Transit lines can generate economic development, attract high-paying jobs, and increase property values, according to a study released last month by the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah. The report, which aims to answer questions about economic development near BRT lines by comparing systems around the country, veers into new research territory.
Waiting at a bus stop or a subway station, it can feel like the minutes stretch on forever, forever, forever, foooooooorever, for-ev-er before the train or bus finally (finally!) arrives. This isn’t because your local transit agency is conspiring to make your life miserable. Your brain perceives the minutes spent waiting as longer than they actually are.
Metro Transit, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and a half-dozen other partners this week will submit an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, a competition to bring home $50 million to improve transit and transportation. ... Besides the cities and Metro Transit, other local partners include the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the University of Minnesota, Nice Ride, Transit for Livable Communities, the McKnight Foundation and the Shared Mobility Center.
In December 2014, a study was released that claimed that electric cars actually produced “3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than those powered by gas.” Study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota, says: “It is kind of hard to beat gasoline. … A lot of technologies that we think of as being clean are not better than gasoline.” In reality, these zero-emissions vehicles are generally fueled by coal.
With a weekday average of more than 276,000 rides last year and a steadily increasing rider population, use of Metro Transit buses and light rail trains has continued to grow since 2005. Last year’s ridership eclipsed 2014’s record numbers by nearly 1.2 million rides. ...
Thousands of factors contribute to Minnesota’s vital economy. One of them is the direct Delta Air Lines flight from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Tokyo and the access it provides to Asian markets beyond. But Delta executives warn that this competitive advantage may not last if a proposed agreement between the U.S. and Japanese governments erodes the airline’s ability to compete with United and American, the two other major U.S.-based carriers serving Tokyo. (U of M Carlson School professor Alfred Marcus provided background information for this piece.)
To help repair some of Minnesota’s crumbling roadways and bridges, several state transportation departments doled out $32 million in grants last month for highway projects.
Cars will always out speed cyclists, but they could soon zip past at a slower pace if bike advocates have their way. Proponents for lower speed limits are in preliminary talks with local government officials with hopes of creating a safer city for bikers and pedestrians. ...
With tens of thousands of new jobs forecast for Rochester under the 20-year Destination Medical Center (DMC) plan, transportation planners have begun plotting strategies to get those workers to the office on time. Far from being a down-the-list detail, transportation has emerged as a core problem to solve, the sooner the better. ... Frank Douma, director of the state and local policy program at the U’s Humphrey Institute, said he was surprised at how detailed the DMC transportation plans got.
If you’re a light rail operator, the final weeks of 2015 were probably disturbing. Within just a few weeks, there were three separate fatal crashes involving a train, ranging from a bicyclist to a wheelchair user to someone crossing a platform. ... “The key is to design things intentionally that really channel attention and behavior through designing from a human-centered systems design perspective," according to Kathleen Harder, who holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and directs the Center for Design in Health at the University of Minnesota.
At the December 2015 Freight and Logistics Symposium, Adie Tomer emphasized the importance of understanding how metropolitan-level trade networks work together to develop targeted freight strategies and transportation investments to support the extensive supply chains that underpin the U.S. economy.
University of Minnesota researchers have been awarded funding for 15 new transportation-related projects by MnDOT’s Transportation Research Innovation Group and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board.
In 2015, the Local Operational Research Assistance (OPERA) Program continued to foster hands-on transportation research by cities and counties across Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is trying something new when it comes to salting the roads. Megan Moeller from the Olmsted County Public Works Department says that a study done by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Transportation found that a majority of the salt on the ground find its way into the water.
CTS has awarded seed funding to five new transportation-related projects that will explore a variety of topics, including smart cities, smart infrastructure, and the sharing economy, beginning in the spring of 2016.
The Drive explores when and where U-turns are legal and who has the right-of-way. Work by the U of M's HumanFIRST Laboratory is mentioned.
The region’s first arterial bus rapid transit line will see nine new shelters installed along Snelling Avenue in the coming weeks, bringing the project closer to its early- to mid-2016 operating goal. ... BRT stations include some of the same features of LRT such as fare machines where riders will pay before boarding, stations with light, heat and bike racks, and a real-time Nextrip display with information on the next bus arrival.
The Ontario government is tentatively dipping its toe into a form of tolling, promising a pilot project that would let people pay to drive in high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on a stretch of the Queen Elizabeth Way.... “Not everybody has the same value of time, and even some people have different values of time at different times,” said David Levinson, a transportation analyst and professor at the University of Minnesota.
Southwest metro commuters are fed up with the congested Minnesota River crossings they use to get to and from work. Though some efforts are being made to address the problem — including the new County Road 101 bridge that opened last week — estimates suggest those fixes aren’t long-term solutions.... People tend to change their travel patterns in response to new transportation options, said Frank Douma, a transportation researcher at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
U of M professor David Levinson writes that recent statistics from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute suggest congestion is rising. A congested city, compared to exactly the same city where everyone can move faster, has lower accessibility (the number of places travelers can reach in a given time is reduced). This limits people’s ability to interact, and thus reduces economic activity, but congestion is also a signifier of economic activity. All the great cities are congested.
A new report has identified the 50 worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, and none in the Twin Cities area made the list.... Our traffic jams are short-lived compared to metro areas where “they don’t distinguish between morning and afternoon rush hours since they have a constant rush hour from morning to night,” said John Hourdos of the University of Minnesota Traffic Observatory.
Metro Transit's quest to find a speedier option to connect the Twin Cities' light-rail lines and beyond is coming soon. Starting next year, the "A Line," a $27 million bus rapid-transit project with features similar to light rail, will run along Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway in St. Paul to connect Rosedale Center in Roseville to the 46th Street light-rail station in Minneapolis. The line will be the first of a dozen bus rapid-transit lines that the Metropolitan Council has proposed in recent years.
The Center for Transportation Studies is pleased to announce that Journal of Transport and Land Use is now indexed in Social Sciences Citation Index and Current Contents/Social & Behavioral Sciences from Thomson Reuters.
U of M professor David Levinson writes that when surface-transportation policy was last significantly overhauled in the United States, in 1991, Americans who wanted to travel to an unfamiliar location used paper maps, usually purchased from a bookstore or gas station. If they were on a toll road, they stopped at the tollbooths and rolled down the window. They listened to an AM/FM radio, a cassette tape, or maybe, if they had a new car, a compact disc. The car of the future was equipped with a fax machine.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been operating the "Living Snow Fences" program for about 15 years. Farmers receive a stipend for participation. Using a program developed through the University of Minnesota Extension and Mn/DOT, the program calculates cost-benefit of a clean, safe highway. The farmer’s cost of corn left on the stalk and the money used to mobilize harvesting equipment in the spring.
Distracted driving contributes to one in four crashes in Minnesota, and in 2014, driver inattention or distraction contributed to 61 deaths and nearly 8,000 injuries on Minnesota roads. The risky behavior continues despite strengthened laws that went into effect in August 2015. At the Towards Zero Deaths conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota law enforcement officers struggling to enforce the vast epidemic learn science could be partially to blame.
Trucking is looking at a significant shortage of drivers -- 48,000 open positions in an industry of 800,000 -- and trying to figure out how it will fill that hole. Is trucking in crisis or is the pendulum about to swing the other way? "It's not clear where the new truck drivers are coming from as baby boomers age out," said Stephen Burks, an economist who studies the trucking industry at the University of Minnesota Morris.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation charges motorists driving alone anywhere from 25 cents to $8 during peak periods to use the special lanes that are otherwise reserved for carpools of two or more people, buses and motorcycles. But just how much a solo driver is charged is determined by an old complex algorithm operated by an outside vendor. That’s about to change. MnDOT has been working with the University of Minnesota Traffic Observatory to develop a new algorithm that will be run in-house and should better set tolls and control how fast prices rise or fall.
Midwestern cities are being forced to find a new, post-blue collar manufacturing identities. Minneapolis and St. Paul are no exception, but unlike places like Detroit, the Twin Cities — less than 12 miles apart — have made a relatively smooth transition, becoming a curious case study for urban renewal minus the upheaval. Frank Douma, director of the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey School, explains.
Although praised as environmentally friendly in comparison with other bridge types, wooden bridges are prone to deterioration caused by moisture in the wood, as well as by fungi, insects, and mechanical damage. This damage often occurs within the wood, not on the surface, making the deterioration difficult to detect. Several organizations collaborated on a project to develop a comprehensive research and evaluation program to address the evaluation and inspection of timber bridges using state-of-the-art technology to address deterioration and save money.
When Royalston and the other Minneapolis stations remained in the revised alignment, the issue of ridership was set aside. But it provided a glimpse into a perennial conflict in the planning of big and expensive transportation projects: How do public officials figure out how many people will use them? And do the numbers reflect reality — or simply a desire to fulfill the wishes of the project’s supporters? University of Minnesota professor David Levinson explains.
The Transportationist blog by University of Minnesota professor David Levinson points us to data showing the long decline of annual work hours among developed Western nations. CityLab charted a handful of the labor-hour trajectories below. The trends are remarkably consistent across countries: people have been working less and less since the Industrial Revolution, with total hours falling from around 3000 a year toward the 1500-1800 range.
Over the course of the year, the Minnesota Department of Transportation estimates Twin Cities metro drivers sit in traffic for 34 hours. So, what is the best lane for rush hour? Good Question. MTO lab manager Stephen Zitzow says any perturbation, or deviation, can cause a shockwave that slows traffic.
A complete overhaul of the region’s bus signs began Tuesday as Metro Transit seeks to make the local bus, the backbone of the transit system, less mysterious for prospective riders. A $300,000 effort by Metro Transit will add route numbers and other helpful information, and a smartphone app is coming soon.... “It’s especially important in converting nonusers into users,” said David Levinson, a University of Minnesota professor and transportation expert.
The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society have partnered up through the U’s Resilient Communities Project. A Waconia farmstead is one of 32 proposed projects in Carver County during the one-year partnership. Each year, a city or county is chosen to work with students and faculty from university courses ranging from engineering to environmental sciences.... The U plans to offer a course focused on turning the property into a historic tourist destination, said Mike Greco, Resilient Communities Project director.
There are plenty of other benefits that have nothing to do with drivers.... Other benefits to transit include better overall access to the city (especially jobs), greater mobility for people who don’t drive (for reasons of choice, health, or income), and of course improved sustainability. There’s a basic equity issue here, too, captured by transport scholar David Levinson in a great essay earlier this year at streets.mn explaining why “it warps thinking that the aim of public transit funding is to benefit those non-transit users.”
The University of Minnesota was awarded a $12 million grant from the National Science Foundation earlier this year in order to help scientists at the school create a team of researchers to study how urban infrastructure could adapt to the changing needs of cities. Yingling Fan, an associate professor of urban and regional planning at the Humphrey School, is quoted.
U of M professor Tom Fisher writes about urban planner Joe Minicozzi, who says our poorly maintained streets stem largely from the low-density developments that arose in this country over the past 70 years, resulting in an enormous mismatch between the cost of fixing our extensive infrastructure and the taxes generated by sprawl. Minicozzi makes his case with compelling three-dimensional maps of the data, showing the extent and depth of the problem in all but the most built-up parts of our cities.
Editorial: The city is now partnered with Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota in the MetroLab Network, bringing together city leaders and academics to research, develop and deploy analytical and technological solutions to problems cities face.... The two cities and the U have formalized an agreement to work together, committing to engaging in three projects in 2016. Of about 25 such partnerships around the nation, ours is the only one involving two cities and an academic partner.
At the University of Minnesota researchers are teaming up with city planners, nonprofit leaders, and industry professionals to form solutions that tackle these emerging challenges and prepare communities for the future. These partnerships take advantage of the prevalence of data and technology in society to open new doors for smarter decision making that can lead to more livable, sustainable and resilient cities. The U’s efforts to implement advanced smart cities concepts are part of a growing trend among research universities and technology companies across the U.S.
As part of a nationwide effort, the University of Minnesota is collaborating with St. Paul and Minneapolis leaders in order to improve infrastructure and increase citizen involvement in the area. The partnership, announced Sept. 14, is part of a plan called the MetroLab Network, which aims to connect universities and cities in addressing urban developmental issues....
Metro Transit officials are seeking to build a new business model—one that partners more with nonprofit and private organizations—to move people away from the one-car, one-occupant model. One of the driving ideas behind a new system, which is attracting national attention: a single tool, such as an app or fare card, that could access "all non-drive-alone modes" of transportation.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota are in St. Peter, Minnesota, using LiDAR technology measuring traffic flow. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, or light and radar, using lasers to determine the distance to an object. The research group is using the technology to create algorithms to measure traffic patterns. They came to St. Peter for help with their research, using the intersection of Washington and Broadway Avenues. University of Minnesota Research Fellow Brian Davis is interviewed.
The U of M has teed up an idea—for greener practices—on the green. It involves less water—and fewer chemicals. At the University of Minnesota, turf science professors Eric Watkins and Brian Horgan have 186 plots of grass that could change golf courses everywhere.... The turf these scientists are developing may be slightly more brown than traditional golf course grass. But it promises to make the courses greener. These varieties need less fertilizer and substantially less water.
As the Metropolitan Council prepares to work with local cities on their comprehensive plans, Council staff and leaders are working with local researchers to better understand industry clusters and how local planning decisions and regional infrastructure investments can encourage private investment. The Council’s Committee of the Whole recently invited Lee Munnich, Director of the State and Local Policy Program at the University of Minnesota, and U of M professor Yingling Fan to present and discuss their research on industry clustering.
Highlights of the underground Civil Engineering building includes the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, and how researchers there study how traffic moves through the metro area.
Starting this fall, University of Minnesota students in several different disciplines will begin studying different issues in 14 projects as part of a partnership with Carver County. The studies, with additional 16 planned for spring, are the development of Resilient Communities Project (RCP) which kicked off with a banquet at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on Friday, Sept. 11.... RCP Executive Director Mike Greco said the diversity of Carver County projects is what made the application.
A new collaboration between Metro Transit and Hourcar could make hopping off public transit and getting in a personal vehicle a little easier. Hourcar, a Twin Cities car sharing service, launched a partnership with Metro Transit on Friday, making Hourcar services accessible through Go-To transit passes. And some say the new relationship could make different transportation options more readily available. The partnership will allow Go-To card, U-Pass , Metropass, and College Pass holders to check out an Hourcar at one of its pickup locations.
Partnership between Hourcar and Metro Transit could lead to more fare payment integration. Frank Douma, a research fellow who studies transportation policy at the U’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said the goal of being able to use one card for multiple transit uses has been the holy grail.
Cites new research by Assistant Professor Yingling Fan of the Humphrey School about gender differences in commuting times.
By focusing on the narrow window of the peak period, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute's “Urban Mobility Scorecard” doesn’t actually do a good job of scoring urban mobility—and instead arrives at some solutions that could hurt it. Meanwhile, other researchers—with Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory leading the way—are now mapping job access instead of just quantifying gridlock to show why the rush-hour battle is often worth it.
The U of M's David Levinson was one of four panelists in a discussion on the future of global freight infrastructure held at the 2015 CV-Outlook. The freight infrastructure panel spanned topics like smart highways, vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity, coming safety technology mandates, and where the U.S. stands globally in truck freight efficiency.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute recently unveiled their semi-regular report on urban traffic congestion. While the focus and themes of the report are largely the same as previous years, big changes are underway in how we study, think about, and address metropolitan traffic congestion. One example is a new focus not on movement or mobility of vehicles but rather on the accessibility the system provides for people. For instance, David Levinson compares Manhattan, Kansas to Manhattan, New York.
Behind the buzzers, lights and friendly competition in rounds to be played at 10:30 a.m. and noon on the University of Minnesota stage, the goal is to share innovative transportation research going on at the U and engage the public on important issues, said Laurie McGinnis, director of the U’s Center for Transportation Studies.... The onstage game will augment a host of exhibits featuring researchers’ recent and current studies, including one led by Greg Lindsey in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Women have traditionally spent less time than men commuting (that sounds like a good thing, until you realize that it reflects fewer job opportunities) and more time traveling for household errands. With gender norms fading in the home and at work, you might expect these gaps in travel habits to narrow as well. That’s been true to some extent in Europe, but not so much in the U.S.—where the differences endure today, according to new research.
MnDOT recently announced that a section of Highway 169 from Bren Road to 7th Street will be completely shut down for as long as a year beginning in the fall of 2016. The closure will allow the complete re-construction of the bridge over Nine Mile Creek in Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Edina. Traffic expert John Hourdos believes it's more efficient to rebuild the bridge all together, like MnDOT plans, instead of in parts.
Anyone who’s ever relied on public transportation knows that waiting can be the worst part. Even with apps that provide arrival estimates, riders can still find themselves at a loss—straining their eyes in hopes of seeing train lights in the distance, or furiously checking phones while wondering what on earth is holding up a delayed bus.
Research by Mark Ditmer, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, finds that drones, or UAVs, could be stressing out wildlife, scientists suggest.
The University of Minnesota has received a $12 million dollar award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to bring together a unique network of scientists, industry leaders, and policy partners committed to building better cities of the future. The network will connect across nine research universities, major metropolitan cities in the U.S. and India, as well as infrastructure firms, and policy groups.
David Levinson found himself stranded on a narrow slab of concrete on University Avenue recently, sandwiched between light-rail tracks as two Green Line trains approached, one from the east and one from the west, both blaring their horns. Levinson, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, could have become the latest casualty on the Green Line, where close calls like his are a daily occurrence....
Tucked along the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, this city of 28,000 serves as the scenic home of a cluster of high-tech industries. Lee Munnich, who studies manufacturing clusters at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School, helps explain why.
Inside a little St. Paul garage, they're developing a big idea. You've heard of radar, but how about LiDAR? As Brian Davis, a research fellow with the Roadway Safety Institute at the University of Minnesota, explains, LiDAR is like radar but with light. It's already used for things like archeology, forestry, and geology, but Davis believes LiDAR could also be used for traffic management.
The University of Minnesota is partnering with a navigation and mapping company to create a dataset that shows accessibility to jobs by vehicles and mass transit.
A team of consultants are studying four key areas where St. Paul Public Works could do a better job, from snow plowing to budgeting and accounting. As part of this effort, they've tapped outside experts—including CTS Director Laurie McGinnis.
The University of Minnesota Accessibility Observatory is partnering with TomTom to create a national dataset that studies and illustrates accessibility to jobs by automobiles and mass transit throughout the country.
Unless you rely on public transit or live within walking distance of work, school and everywhere in between, commuting by car is necessary. For many of us, that unfortunately means being on the road about 200 hours each year — in addition to more than 40 hours stuck in traffic. In working-class terms, a total of 240 hours is the equivalent of a six-week vacation.... We compared our sample across 21 key metrics, among which are average gas prices, average annual traffic delays, rates of car theft, and car clubs per capita.
Hispanics are more than twice as likely to use ride-sharing applications like Uber and Lyft on a regular basis than the average voter, according to a recent poll. U of M professor Saif Benjafaar said the disproportionate number of Hispanics living on the West Coast, where ride-hailing apps are more popular, might account for their higher rate of usage.
In St. Paul, workers using public transit can access 2,000 more jobs than before the debut of the Green Line light rail, according to a new analysis from the University of Minnesota's Accessibility Observatory.
There has been a striking drop in the number of people killed and injured in teenage car crashes in the past 20 years, but no one seems certain just why.... A University of Minnesota study this year found that a smartphone device in cars that disables teen phones in the car and texts parents in real time if the driver speeds, runs a stop sign or drives erratically would help improve focus.
Far more Twin Cities residents are bicycling or walking to work than U.S. Census numbers reported, according to a new detailed analysis of transportation habits. The University of Minnesota study set to be released later this month calculates the number of people getting to work on foot or bike is two to three times larger than Census estimates.
MnDOT is looking for farmers to leave rows of corn stalks standing through the winter to help reduce snow that blows onto state highways and interstates where drifting is a problem. Research conducted by MnDOT, the University of Minnesota Extension Service, and CTS show standing corn rows reduced the severity of injuries on curves by 40 percent.
University research could be used to create a mobile app to reduce accidents in rural areas. Brian Davis strapped a video camera to the outside of a car last year and set off to record the painted lines and contours of Greater Minnesota’s major roads and highways. By recording this data, Davis and a group of University of Minnesota researchers developed a cheap yet efficient way to help people driving in unfavorable conditions in rural Minnesota.
It's almost the legislative session's 11th hour, and some Minnesotans continue to raise questions about the cost assumptions on which lawmakers base their work to fix the state's roads and bridges.... In finding a way forward, it will be helpful to put transportation revenue sources into a broader context, Zhirong "Jerry" Zhao, an associate professor and transportation-finance scholar at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, told us.
Transportation services in Dakota County are like a bowl of pasta. At least that’s how researchers and officials have taken to describing them — a tangled “spaghetti” of agencies and volunteers that get different funds and do not coordinate efforts, leading to service gaps.
CTS published a report this month that found investing in transportation yields a greater return than previously thought, and some say the results are the first step to providing concrete data on the benefits of offering additional funding to roads and highways in the state.
The HumanFIRST laboratory at the University of Minnesota is working on ways to prevent automobile accidents caused by cars swerving out of their lanes. This sort of accident, which often occurs on rural roads, accounts for one third of all crashes and as many as 55 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Heather Brown finds out that the areas with the highest number of drivers generally have the most congestion. Minnesota Traffic Observatory lab manager Stephen Zitzow comments.
TomTom's latest traffic study ranks the Twin Cities as the 35th most congested metro in America. Accessibility Observatory director Andrew Owen comments.
The University’s Center for Transportation Studies published a report last month that found an amendment to a state law — which exempts low-level speeding tickets from being placed onto driver’s records — doesn’t produce any significant changes in travel reliability, safety or efficiency. Instead, researchers found people are unaware of how the amendment affects them, and it may increase drivers’ insurance rates.
Minnesota buses equipped with lane-assist technology offer a glimpse at the promise of driverless transit. Currently there are 10 such buses, operated by the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, using technology developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota.
Big city sidewalks can feel like an inexplicable dance of elbows and shopping bags and baby strollers and pigeons and texting. But a group of crowd scientists led by U of M researcher Ioannis Karamouzas has whittled the chaos to its core and found that, far from unpredictable, foot traffic follows a mathematical formula elegant for its simplicity.
Flashing yellow arrows permit motorists to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Researchers at the University of Minnesota are developing a statistical model to help determine whether a flashing yellow arrow would be safe at a given place.
It's tough enough for the visually impaired to get around town. Throw in some construction zones and the difficulty level goes up a notch or two. However, an app in the works by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and University of Minnesota researchers is working to make it a bit easier.
Several media stories about of the teen driver support system, developed and piloted by a research team led by Janet Creaser, research fellow in Mechanical Engineering, with funding from the ITS Institute and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The Teen Driver Support System smartphone app was developed after nearly 10 years of work. The U is now exploring whether the app can be commercialized.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. That’s why researchers at the University of Minnesota are using smart phones to keep teens safe behind the wheel. The Teen Driver Support System, or TDSS, is like having an extra parent in the car at all times.
Frank Douma, a research fellow and associate director of the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said the University is poised to benefit from Dayton’s plan because it is a transit-intensive area. “Everybody would feel the impact with paying the up-to-half-cent additional sales tax in what they purchase, but it will come back in increased investment in transit,” Douma said.
University of Minnesota Professor David Levinson is quoted about the use of value capture as a transportation funding mechanism. Read more about value capture research.
Right now, in Minnesota, certain highway speeding tickets won't go on your driving record. But a new Minnesota Department of Transportation report from a project led by the U of M's Frank Douma says that this is putting public safety at risk.
As lawmakers debate whether — and how — to fix roads and add transit routes and bike/pedestrian paths, transportation experts at the University of Minnesota have compiled a database to fuel those quantitative discussions. The Minnesota Transportation Finance Database, part of a multiyear Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness project funded by the 2013 Legislature, is jointly run by the U’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and its Center for Transportation Studies.
If traditional traffic lights were replaced with virtual ones, the results could include not only a reduction of up to 40 percent in urban workers' commute times, but also lower carbon emissions, less congestion and fewer accidents. According to U of M professor David Levinson, however, getting them deployed anytime soon will be difficult.
With new bike lanes, rapid busways and expanding light-rail lines, commuters in the Twin Cities have more options than ever. But low gas prices could mean slightly more road congestion, said University of Minnesota professor David Levinson.
The latest issue of the Journal of Transport and Land Use includes papers on residential self-selection in the relationships between the built environment and travel behavior, including one that focuses on the residential preferences along the Blue Line in Minneapolis.
Local officials and the general public are largely in the dark about the nation’s freight railroads, which carry growing volumes of flammable crude oil, while state and federal governments have limited authority and oversight. And when it comes to rail bridge safety, the industry is generally left to police itself. ... Railroad bridge failures are rare, said Frank Douma, a research fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Center for Transportation Studies. Yet he acknowledges the stakes are higher when trains are hauling hazardous materials.
Driving vehicles that use electricity from renewable energy instead of gasoline could reduce the resulting deaths due to air pollution by 70 percent. This finding comes from a new life cycle analysis of conventional and alternative vehicles and their air pollution-related public health impacts, published Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study also shows that switching to vehicles powered by electricity made using natural gas yields large health benefits.
Transit experts agree that smart station design is critical to encourage use of the light-rail system in the Twin Cities.... Posted schedules and announcements of impending trains are crucial to attracting and keeping transit passengers, said Yingling Fan, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Carissa Schively Slotterback, associate professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, joins Peter Bell, former chair of the Metropolitan Council, to talk about the role of the Met Council in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.
It’s easy to chuckle at the thought of robot cars. But there’s one simple reason that self-driving cars are inevitable: The current status quo is very bad. Because we all do it almost all the time, it’s easy to forget that driving around in cars all the time is extremely deadly.
The second story in the 5 Eyewitness News series, Rebuilding Minnesota, focuses traffic signals. MnDOT sponsored University of Minnesota researchers to develop SMART Signal, a system that collects real time traffic data continuously, and creates information that can be used to fine-tune traffic timing to minimize drivers' time stopped at red lights.
This is the first report in a new recurring series from 5 Eyewitness News, Rebuilding Minnesota, which is designed to dig for ways to make Minnesota's transportation system work for you—because many Minnesotans believe it's not working as well as it should be.
Transportation and planning officials predict that so-called autonomous vehicles could free up land for development, reshape housing and increase density in the urban core.
Metro Transit will start testing a plan this December to replace the region's ubiquitous "Bus Stop" signs with new placards featuring route information, frequencies, maps and instructions to access real-time arrival data.
CTS faculty scholar Carissa Slotterback recently accepted a part-time appointment as director of research engagement in the Office of the Vice President for Research. In her new role, Slotterback will help to advance collaborative research throughout the university and facilitate alignment among the U’s multiple strategic initiatives related to research.
Yingling Fan's and David Levinson's research about Twin Cities' transit rider experiences at bus and station stops is cited. "'Having a shelter makes a big difference in people’s perceived waiting time,' Fan explained to me. 'This indicates that it’s important to provide bus shelters at stops. We also found that posted schedule was important, and that people perceiving they are safe at stops was important, especially for female riders.'”
New research from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota ranks 46 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States for accessibility to jobs by transit.
Minnesota's fall harvest has begun, and when the combines are finished, immense piles of corn are likely to dot the countryside. One reason for this: the railroads are packed. Even before the harvest began, railroads were struggling to keep up with demand for shipping Bakken crude oil, coal, taconite and other commodities, especially in North Dakota. Jerry Fruin, a specialist in transportation economics at the University of Minnesota, offers his thoughts.
Cornstalks may be the best defense in the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s battle to keep rural roads open when the snow flies. As the harvest begins, this week the agency is asking farmers with fields bordering state highways to leave several rows of corn standing until spring. To boost participation, MnDOT teamed with the University of Minnesota Extension Service on a pilot project that pairs farmers with groups such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America chapters.
Is public transportation only for the rich? It’s a question more people should be asking. And people don’t pay just with money for daily commutes. Humphrey School's Yingling Fan says that we also need to consider the time commuters spend in traveling around a city.
New signs near three rest areas along eastbound Interstate 94 now tell truck drivers how many parking spaces are available. The signs are part of a pilot project led by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the University of Minnesota designed to give truckers real-time information about where they can find a safe place to pull off the road.
How many times have you thought about what’s underneath your shoes and tires? If the engineers had their way, you’d never think of about pavement at all.
A new mapping tool that spotlights clusters of industry activity is revealing a fascinating picture of a dynamic Midwestern region with a diverse and vibrant array of manufacturing clusters fueling a regional economic rebound.
Just nine days after Minneapolis officials approved the Southwest Corridor light-rail line, a group of residents filed suit in federal court seeking to block the controversial $1.65 billion project. ... Frank Douma, a research scholar at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, said large mass-transit projects attract litigation because "there are a lot of interests involved, and you’re not going to be able to please all of the people all of the time."
Attendees at NCSL’s Street Smart: Innovations in Traffic Safety Pre-Conference in Minneapolis heard from Janet Creaser with U of M's Roadway Safety Institute about her study of the Teen Driver Support System. The system is an application that was installed on teen drivers’ phones to increase teen driver safety.
A simple shelter can make the wait for a Twin Cities bus feel shorter than it actually is, based on new research from the University of Minnesota.
Developers like light-rail transit over other modes because it’s "permanent." U of M Center for Urban and Regional Affairs director Edward Goetz comments, and research from Humphrey School of Public Affairs' Jason Cao is cited.
On Monday, federal government workers took the first step in requiring cars to include technology that will allow vehicles to communicate with one another. Researchers at the U of M are currently building a test facility along Interstate 94 for cars that will one day be equipped with the technology. U of M Minnesota Traffic Observatory's John Hourdos and Humphrey School of Public Affairs' Frank Douma offered their comments.
Conflicting reports on the Twin Cities' levels of traffic congestion lead to questions of how clogged our roads really are. U of M civil engineering professor David Levinson explains what is going on.
A recent blog post by U of M civil engineering professor David Levinson suggests that driving already costs a lot more than people realize. Levinson estimates the true out-of-pocket cost of driving is around $.235 per minute.
University of Minnesota professors David Levinson (Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering) and Kathy Quick (Humphrey School of Public Affairs) participate in a panel on the anniversary of the 35W bridge collapse about bridge safety and the future of transportation.
How many people will board the five proposed Southwest light rail stops outside of downtown in Minneapolis? Depends on how optimistic you are about transit-oriented development. University of Minnesota professor David Levinson comments.
Who pays when driverless cars have accidents? U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Center for Transportation Studies' Frank Douma comments on insurance for driverless vehicles.
Bicyclists planning routes throughout the state can now use an editable, interactive online map called Cyclopath to help customize their trips, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Cyclopath, developed at the University of Minnesota, is designed to find bicycle routes using ratings from other bicyclists.
In the month since the Green Line light-rail route connecting downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis opened for business, some things have become very clear. People who used to take the bus between the cities seem to like it. People who’ve never taken public transit before have been willing to try it. And, while the negatives of lost parking and disrupted traffic are mostly past, it’s still too early to tell if the nearly $1 billion line will be a business boon or bust.
As the nation grapples with the challenge of maintaining its aging transportation infrastructure, states have sought innovative ways to monitor and manage their bridge inventories. In Minnesota, bridge officials have pursued these emerging technologies with more than a passing interest.
A new smartphone application currently in development by the University of Minnesota Traffic Observatory in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation could help make it safer for pedestrians who are blind or have poor vision. It could alert users to construction hazards and give instructions on how to navigate around them.
The newly opened Metro Transit Green Line LRT runs from Target Field in Minneapolis through the heart of the University of Minnesota campus to Union Depot in St. Paul. The U of M is a major destination along the new line.
The Twin Cities area of St. Paul–Minneapolis is what our organization would consider a “transit-progressive region,” a term we plan to use in a forthcoming survey of public attitudes toward transit. While we will use metrics of mode share and service levels to deem a region “transit-progressive,” it’s partly a matter of knowing it when we see it—and when we ride it.
The air is getting cleaner, but less so for non-whites. Around 142 million Americans still live in counties with dangerously polluted air, says the EPA. The problem is especially serious for those who are poor and not white. It is no surprise that the poor are more likely than the rich to live in polluted neighborhoods: rents are lower in such places. What is striking is that non-whites are more likely to breathe foul air than whites, even after correcting for income, according to a recent study. Lara Clark, Dylan Millet, and Julian Marshall of the University of Minnesota analyze the relationship between census data and outdoor nitrogen-dioxide (NO2) concentration.
Light rail has boosted the number and value of building permits along the Central Corridor, but it probably didn't do it alone, notes a draft study on real estate development by a University of Minnesota transportation researcher. ... Xinyu "Jason" Cao, an Urban and Regional Planning professor with the university's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, took a look at building permits along the St. Paul portion of the 11-mile Central Corridor, or Green Line, from January 2003 to January 2014.
CTS Director Laurie McGinnis provides a statement on the news of the death of Congressman James L. Oberstar last night.
Stephen Burks, associate professor of economics and management, has received the University of Minnesota, Morris Faculty Distinguished Research Award. Burks is best known in his field as the leader of the "Truckers and Turnover Project," a multi-year study in the field of behavioral personnel economics conducted in cooperation with a large motor carrier.
Traffic jams are forcing frustrated Twin Cities commuters to waste more time behind the wheel. And that growing congestion has pushed the metro area up to No. 16 on the list of America’s Worst Traffic Cities, according to the seventh-annual Traffic Scorecard Report, released this week by a global traffic-tracking company called INRIX. ... Depending on the methodology, rankings put the Twin Cities between the 13th- and 16th-largest U.S. metro area, said David Levinson, a civil engineering professor at the University of Minnesota.
Connected cars are among a growing number of connected objects, often referred to as the “Internet of things” — from your refrigerator to your thermostat — that claim to simplify your life, largely by connecting you to what has become a lifeline for modern society: the smartphone. There’s no denying the safety and convenience (and let’s face it, wow factor) of having a “smart” vehicle, but at what cost? Is your privacy at risk? Frank Douma, research fellow and associate director of University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, comments.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota developed a measure of multimodal accessibility for the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, which they hope can be implemented in metropolitan areas around the nation as an alternative to commonly-used congestion metrics for prioritizing transportation projects and planning system improvements.
John Hourdos, the director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, stopped by KSTP to talk about what we can all learn from the mess in Atlanta. Without proper chemicals and hardly any salt trucks, he says officials should have told people to stay home.
Apps like Waze and Google Maps highlight the fastest routes based on traffic data, while MnDOT’s 511 app posts traffic and road conditions. But computers aren’t always the best co-pilots, especially in a Minnesota snowstorm. The technology can provide a nifty snapshot of the present, but can’t say with absolute certainty what will come next. U of M professor David Levinson and Minnesota Traffic Observatory director John Hourdos interviewed.
Every year, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute releases an oft-cited Urban Mobility Report that measures congestion on American roads, famously ranking the metros with the most heinous traffic. The report homes in on a central cost of mobility: the price we pay to sit in gridlock. Andrew Owen, the director of the Accessibility Observatory at the U of M, comments.
The 35W bridge is filled with sensors that help engineers track the behavior of the structure. U of M civil engineering professor Carol Shield and grad student Brock Hedegaard explain.
Some new approaches to opening the chronically blocked traffic arteries of metro regions are appearing—strategies that have less to do with boosting speeds and more to do with pacing and spacing. Integral parts of the emerging trend are technical advances and a lexicon that speaks of "congestion waves" and "vehicle-to-vehicle communication." The journey already has started with the increasing use of variable speed limits and could end with vehicles that drive themselves, some experts say. ... A 2013 study by the University of Minnesota showed that area drivers don't comply with the variable speed limits, although "they do take it into consideration."
At a time of looming decisions on multiple mass transit proposals, a McKnight Foundation-sponsored synthesis of nine studies from the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies reaffirms the many economic and societal benefits of investing in transit.
Self-driving cars someday will be commonplace in this country, a panel of experts affirmed at a robotics conference in downtown St. Paul on Tuesday. But it won't happen in the next few years — and could take decades — given the many roadblocks in the way of such technology flourishing on U.S. highways, the panelists added. U of M Humphrey School's Frank Douma and Leili Fatehi comment.
To help drivers pay more attention in work zones, researchers from the University of Minnesota developed the Intelligent Drum Line (IDL) system prototype. The portable, dynamic warning system project was led by John Hourdos, director of the U of M's Minnesota Traffic Observatory, and sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
Is solution to congestion more lanes, user fees or improved transit? Adding another lane to Interstate Highway 94 between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities may seem like an obvious solution to the traffic backups that often frustrate motorists. But engineers and transportation experts say it isn't that simple to ease the flow of vehicles in one area without causing problems somewhere else. Adding another lane is not only expensive, it wouldn't solve the congestion and could even make the bottleneck near the Twin Cities worse.
In a national competition held by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota has been selected to lead a new $10.4 million regional University Transportation Center consortium focused on improving transportation safety.
A new research study is recommending ways to make it easier for developers and employers to select sites that encourage living-wage jobs and mixed-income housing near transit.
SMART Signal Technologies has installed its new iMonitor software system on 52 intersections for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), which is intended to improve traffic signal performance along the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul) congested signalized arterial corridors. Using patented technology licensed from the University of Minnesota, the iMonitor system is less expensive than the cost of installing new controller cabinets, which are used to regulate phase changes at signalized intersections.
Turns out the digital era hasn’t saved the directionally challenged. Despite high-tech GPS devices, we still get lost. Max Donath, director of the University of Minnesota’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, has devised his own solution: “I carry four or five GPS apps on my phone. I switch from one to the other if one of them gives me grief.”
Metro Transit recently began operating two new super-hybrid buses. Dubbed "the Xcelsior," its been called the cleanest bus in the United States. More efficient than other hybrid buses, the Xcelsior shuts down entirely when stopped, rather than idling and wasting fuel. The super-hybrid buses are also manufactured locally, using technologies and parts developed and built in Minnesota.
Metro Transit’s super-hybrid buses – dubbed the cleanest hybrid-electric buses in the United States – were recently featured in a KFAI radio segment. Introduced at the Minnesota State Fair in 2012, Metro Transit’s two Xcelsior buses are unique among transit providers and can operate in all-electric mode for short intervals.
We've all seen the traffic camera shot of a tractor-trailer sprawled out on the highway after trying to take a cloverleaf curve. So, that had one viewer wondering: Why do we use cloverleaf interchanges on interstates? Heather Brown interviews Minnesota Traffic Observatory lab manager Stephen Zitzow for an explanation.
University of Minnesota Civil Engineering Professor David Levinson comments on how drivers adjust their routes when construction disrupts their usual driving patterns.
What if a mix of asphalt and magnetite were microwaved in a pothole? After running tests with kitchen-size microwaves, Larry Zanko of the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth connected with Kirk Kjellberg's company, which had already patented microwave technology for thawing frozen ground. The resulting public-private partnership is using the same technology to fill potholes.
New MnDOT commissioner Charles Zelle says MnDOT needs to do a better job of listening to the needs of businesses as part of a statewide transportation plan, and it needs to do a better job of letting people know what MnDOT has done and what’s needed to create a vision and infrastructure for the future.
The new study Access Across America goes beyond congestion rankings to focus on accessibility: a measure that examines both land use and the transportation system. The study is the first systematic comparison of trends in accessibility to jobs by car within the United States.
University of Minnesota researcher Adeel Lari on telecommuting trends and effects in Minnesota. As part of the Urban Partnership Agreement, the Twin Cities pushed telecommuting as a way to ease traffic congestion.
A growing number of apps are giving people the power to hail a cab or luxury sedan on their mobile device and then watch on the screen as the car approaches. At the end of the ride, just hop out, no cash necessary. The apps bill the credit card on file. "When you go to most cities, there are many different taxi providers and it’s hit-or-miss how reliable any of them are," said David Levinson, a professor at the University of Minnesota who studies transportation. "It’s easier to download an app than to look up a telephone number."
Congestion takes its toll of the planet as well: Most cars are at their least efficient in stop and go traffic, and the wasted fuel only makes their impact on the atmosphere worse. Fortunately for drivers tired of spending hours in the car, national economies that could use a few extra billion dollars, and everyone hoping for a healthier planet, gridlock can be eliminated. University of Minnesota experts Henry Liu, John Hourdos, and Kathleen Harder offer some solutions.
Frank Douma and Thomas Garry of the University of Minnesota talked about privacy and ITS at this ITS America webinar. The recent spread of geolocation technology in intelligent transportation systems (ITS) raises difficult and important policy questions about locational privacy. However, much of the current public discussions on locational privacy and ITS appear at risk of becoming increasingly disconnected, and the net result is that the ITS privacy debate often involves two sides talking past each other, with too little energy spent on finding potential common ground. This session sheds new light on the ITS privacy debate by identifying who is involved in the ITS privacy problem and what their goals are with respect to privacy and ITS data. The analysis identifies the types of locational data and the methods for obtaining it that create privacy conflicts, and in turn recommends general approaches for both policymakers and industry practitioners to better manage these conflicts. Sponsored by the ITS America Connected Vehicle Task Force.
University of Minnesota research found that those states, including Minnesota, that have worked the longest and most actively to reduce deaths from traffic crashes have been the most successful. Lee W. Munnich, Jr., lead researcher and director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety, is quoted.
Soldiers, law enforcement officers, and firefighters seldom get the luxury of time when assessing a potentially dangerous scenario before taking action. But first responders can now employ the first-ever throwable, mobile reconnaissance robot capable of surveying its environment in complete darkness. Invented by computer science and engineering professor Nikos Papanikolopoulos, "Scout" robots are braving hostile environments to save lives.
DriveScribe, a smartphone app commercialized by Minneapolis-based Drive Power LLC, is helping keep the roads safer by acting as a personal driving coach. Developed at the University of Minnesota's Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, DriveScribe gives feedback to drivers about their behavior and helps them avoid potential problems. Consumers can download the app for free to their smartphones.
Hurricane Sandy holds similar lessons to the Dust Bowl. No one can deny the fact that increased development along low-lying coastal areas increased the number of buildings destroyed, people displaced, and lives disrupted by wind, flooding, and fire, according to Thomas Fisher, professor and dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota.
The City of Eden Prairie has installed a new Road and Weather Information System to assess current road conditions by measuring air temperature, the level of grip on the road, and the surface temperature. When conditions deteriorate, the system alerts the city's maintenance department. Eden Prairie is the first Minnesota city to have the system, which was created in partnership with MnDOT and the University of Minnesota.
The University of Minnesota is leading a project that’s testing a truck parking availability system (TPAS) aimed at using technology—in this case, a network of cameras tied by wireless networks into a central database—to more effectively manage public truck parking slots along the highway.
The University of Minnesota will be relieved of heavy Central Corridor light-rail construction by the end of the year. Metro Transit will reroute buses to make the Central Corridor the primary mode of public transportation through campus, said David Levinson, a University professor of transportation engineering.
This video includes interviews with business leaders, experts, and average citizens sharing their thoughts about the critical nature of Minnesota's transportation system.
Research suggests integrating transit planning with land use and economic development.
By some estimates, self-driving vehicles will make up 70 percent of the nation’s traffic by the year 2040. Proponents of driverless cars say their widespread use would reduce congestion and give elderly and impaired drivers new freedom. Others worry about safety, liability and privacy issues. The Humphrey School's Frank Douma discusses legal questions raised.
Discoveries by University of Minnesota researchers were used to launch a record 12 startup companies in fiscal 2012. This tops the previous record set last fiscal year, when nine startup companies were launched. Two of the startups grew out of transportation-related research: Drive Power and Smart Signal Technologies.
State Farm teamed up with the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies, Minnesota State Patrol, Hennepin County Medical Center and others to host the "Celebrate My Drive" event. Teenagers were able to play a virtual driving game and other activities to help experience the danger of distracted driving.
Metro Transit's newest hybrid-electric bus made its inaugural run early Monday, departing from a North Minneapolis garage. A $1.2 million federal grant funded most of the costs for two new hybrid-electric buses. The hybrid technology is a part of the Metro Transit’s Go Greener program — an effort focused on providing transportation options that reduce energy use and harmful emissions into the environment. David Kittelson, a mechanical engineering professor at the University, researched the potential benefits of additional electrification of bus systems.
Safe teen driving will be celebrated Saturday at Ridgedale Center Mall where one local high school will receive a $100,000 grant. "Celebrate My Drive, Minnesota!" is one of 13 national events sponsored by State Farm aimed at reducing car crashes involving teen drivers. Teen will also be encouraged to test their skills against the University of Minnesota's Distracted Dodger driver safety video game.
The University of Minnesota occupies eight different fairground locations, from which it hosts a seemingly endless series of events designed to engage an even broader audience: Taxpayers, voters and others who need reminding that its benefit to the state’s economy is an eye-popping $8.6 billion, according to Jason Rohloff, special assistant to the president for government and community relations. “There is really something for everyone at the University of Minnesota booths on campus,” he says.
The State Fair is the perfect place to talk about distracted driving. Whether you’re in a golf cart or a car, all of your focus has to be on the road, which is often filled with people. Now the University of Minnesota hopes a new video game will hit the point home to young drivers. To see how the game works, watch the video.
After receiving letters from poultry and livestock producers as well as six governors, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has formally opened the debate on whether it should relax the federal ethanol mandate. Jason Hill studies the economic and environmental impacts of biofuels at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. The assistant professor of bioproducts and biosystems engineering says corn ethanol has a relatively trivial impact on gasoline prices and a fairly large impact on food prices.
A new study looking into how family travel patterns found that trips of two or more nights away from home are half as likely for families that need to get students back to school before Labor Day, and FOX 9 News asked the director of the University of Minnesota Tourism Center to talk about it.
A nondescript concrete span over Interstate 94 in Stearns County has become a laboratory of sorts for bridge experts. Crews affixed electronic sensors to the bridge at Stearns County Road 159 (135thAvenue) over I-94 this week as part of a three-year study that aims to produce better load ratings for precast concrete bridges, a popular type in Minnesota.
Five years after the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people and injuring 145, officials say the new replacement bridge is performing well. They can say that with confidence because the bridge is fitted with hundreds of high-tech sensors that track how the span reacts to things like weight on the bridge, vibration and temperature. Researchers say the data they collect from the span could change how bridges are designed in the future. It's the job of researchers at the University of Minnesota to monitor and decode data from the sensors.
Last year, there were 368 traffic deaths in Minnesota. MnDOT provided MinnPost with a list of the worst 20 intersections across the state. John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, an engineering lab at the University of Minnesota, offered some ideas about what can be done, if anything, to make them safer.
Carrying fewer passengers this year, Northstar commuter rail is slashing fares by as much as 25 percent in an attempt to attract new riders. "They're hoping to use this to give people a taste who might otherwise not have tried it," said David Levinson, a professor at the University of Minnesota.
CTS, the Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, Howard University, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) are partnering to offer undergraduate students an eight-week Summer Transportation Internship Program at MnDOT. Out of 34 applicants, three students from the University of Minnesota and one from Howard University were selected to participate.
Fewer drivers were ticketed for violating Minnesota's mandatory seat-belt law during a recent enforcement campaign than in past years, indicating that more motorists are buckling up, authorities said. The "Click It or Ticket" campaigns are a visible way to enforce the law, said Frank Douma, author of a recent University of Minnesota study on the impacts of the primary seat belt law.
Herbert Mohring, a transportation economist who taught at the University of Minnesota from 1961-1994, died June 4. He is known for his pioneering work in the economics of public transportation and congestion pricing. He received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959.
Lee Munnich, a senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, summed it all up at the 23rd Annual Transportation Research Conference held this week: "The question is who is going to pay for the roads as vehicles become more fuel-efficient?" One possible answer from the folks at MNDOT: MBUF. True, the acronym sounds faintly pornographic, but it stands for Mileage-Based User Fees. Rather than pay for road use by the gallon, people would pay by miles driven.
Major transit investments often improve access to surrounding neighborhoods and lead to reinvestment in those neighborhoods. But these physical upgrades can also bring social change and community upheaval. This research examined perceptions and expectations of both residents and business owners in neighborhoods surrounding transit corridors.
A video of the Forum on the Future of Transportation Finance, hosted by James L. Oberstar, is available online at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The event included a discussion of who will pay to maintain and make necessary improvements to the nation's transportation system in the future.
Chen-Fu Liao says a simple tap of a touch screen can guide visually impaired walkers across the street. Liao is a researcher at the University of Minnesota and the Center for Transportation Studies. He developed a smart phone app designed to go beyond existing crosswalk aides. His cell phone app is designed to not only request a walk signal and give visually impaired walkers a countdown to cross, but also to give them a layout of the intersection.
More than 100 students rallied March 30 in the state Capitol rotunda to show support for the University of Minnesota, focusing on the University’s stake in the state bonding bill and the rising cost of tuition. The CTS table included an exhibit of the traffic control game Gridlock Buster and a display highlighting the center's research, educational, and outreach importance to the state of Minnesota.
Minnesota's primary seat belt law resulted in 68 fewer deaths and 320 fewer severe injuries from 2009 to 2011, according to a new study released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The study, conducted by the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota, also found that the reduction in deaths and injuries has saved $45 million in medical costs.
Every day about 140,000 cars and trucks cross the massive, seven-lane Tappan Zee Bridge connecting the northern suburban counties of New York City. Most drivers have no idea the 57-year-old bridge was designed in such a way that if just one of its structural elements gives way, the whole bridge could fall and send them tumbling into the Hudson River. “They don’t give any warning at the point of collapse,” says Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota.
Scientists know that using supercapacitors in conjunction with batteries could greatly increase the fuel economy of hybrid electric vehicles since supercapacitors can recover and supply energy much more quickly than batteries. However, one of the biggest challenges researchers face is finding a place under the hood to fit the bulky devices. To avoid this problem, University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor Rajesh Rajamani and his colleagues have designed a flexible, solid-state supercapacitor that doesn't require bulky protective materials.
Do neighborhoods along the route of light rail transit lines benefit from their presence? Edward Goetz, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, conducted a CTS-sponsored study on the impact of the Hiawatha LRT on housing values between 2004, when the LRT opened, and 2007. “We found the overall impact was positive,” Goetz said.
How is it that a little bit of rain can bring commuters to such a frustrating stand-still? John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory at the ITS Institute, says its because drivers on a highway act as a single organism, with each car's movement dependent upon the movement of the cars around it as well as the cars miles ahead.
To keep highways drivable in Alaska's harsh winter conditions, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has outfitted some of its snow removal vehicles with a driver-assist system developed at the ITS Institute's Intelligent Vehicles Laboratory. The system is composed of differential GPS, collision avoidance technology, and a driver interface that enables drivers to plow snow in zero visibility conditions.
More than 100 students seeking transportation-related career opportunities participated in the 2012 Transportation Career Expo. The majors of attendees ranged from planning, supply chain management, and logistics to marketing and engineering. The event featured a panel discussion with transportation industry experts providing career-planning advice.
University of Minnesota researchers are working on a smartphone application that could change the way visually impaired pedestrians navigate city streets. Chen-Fu Liao, senior systems engineer at the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, says it's a cost-effective program that takes advantage of smartphone capabilities like GPS. All it requires is adding a small box to an existing traffic signal box to send intersection information to users.
Electric cars have been heralded as environmentally friendly, but new findings from an international research team suggest that electric cars in China have an overall impact on pollution that could be more harmful to health than gasoline vehicles. University of Minnesota civil engineering assistant professor Julian Marshall and researcher Matthew Bechle are part of an international team studying the issue.
When Henry Liu began researching ways to make traffic signals more efficient, he never considered that his discoveries could one day become marketable products. But Liu might one day see technology he and his research team developed at the University of Minnesota improve traffic conditions in a growing number of U.S. cities.
Distraction Dodger, an online game developed by the ITS Institute, premiered at the 4th Annual Teen Safe Driving Summit on Thursday, February 2, at the Rosemount Community Center. The game, designed to help teens and young adults understand the importance of concentrating on driving, has already received attention with an award at the 2011 International Serious Play Conference.
Do you wait out the gridlock or flee to the side streets? The average commute time in the Twin Cities is 22.9 minutes, according to Census figures. During a storm, it can take two to three times longer. Experts disagree on how exactly to speed that up. "If you see congestion on the freeway, you may be better off to take an arterial parallel street," said Henry Liu, an associate professor in civil engineering at the University of Minnesota.
Plans to build the Southwest Corridor light-rail transit line, which would connect Minneapolis with Eden Prairie, are gaining momentum. The Southwest line will promote economic development, but it will take a while before the full benefits are realized, said Lance Neckar, a University of Minnesota professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture.
The implications of autonomous vehicles were debated by Silicon Valley technologists, legal scholars, and government regulators last week at a daylong symposium sponsored by the Law Review and High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University. University of Minnesota researcher Frank Douma presented at the symposium, where he said that many simple questions—like whether the police should have the right to pull over autonomous vehicles—have yet to be answered.
Cars that drive themselves may still be more common in science fiction than on local highways, but legal experts, transit planners—and yes, insurance companies—are beginning to grapple with the implications of vehicles that are steered by artificial intelligence. "There's an idea that you can make the highway system more efficient if you can pack the road with the maximum number of cars, traveling as close together as possible, at a constant speed," said Frank Douma, a transportation expert at the University of Minnesota who is speaking at the SCU Law School conference.
A new transit-related study led by University of Minnesota assistant professor Yingling Fan finds that encouraging employers to locate near Minnesota’s new transitways is especially important for the region’s economic future. The greatest accessibility benefits can be realized by seeking both employers and housing for development near transitways.
Using research from the University of Minnesota, the company Drive Power, LLC, aims to change grim statistics for teen drivers involved in crashes by introducing DriveScribe, a revolutionary mobile app that encourages safe driving habits and provides real-time coaching to novice drivers. The technology was developed by University mechanical engineering department researchers through research funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the ITS Institute.
To improve your daily commute, the Minnesota Traffic Observatory plays a major role behind the scenes, studying everything from busy intersections to electronic toll lanes. Safety is the lab’s top priority. The observatory, which falls under the umbrella of the University of Minnesota’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, is a high-tech transportation lab that develops tools for surveying, monitoring and managing traffic systems.
A recently published paper by David Levinson, Braun/CTS Chair in Transportation Engineering, outlines the use of an accessibility matrix to compare U.S. cities. The project, part of the Access to Destinations Study coordinated by CTS, examined how network scale and connectivity vary with city size.
With nearly $48 billion in federal stimulus money dedicated to transportation, repairing and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure is a key priority of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While the goal of the act is to create jobs and improve infrastructure, the recent interdisciplinary research study “Moving Communities Forward” conducted by CTS for Congress found that well-designed transportation projects have the ability to transform communities.
Preliminary results of the University of Minnesota's independent academic study of the I-35W bridge collapse suggest that lack of robustness in the bridge's original design, additional load from bridge improvements over the years, weight from construction materials and stresses induced by temperature changes contributed to the collapse of the I-35W bridge on Aug. 1, 2007.
UM News Service video: To reach greenhouse gas goals, U of M researchers say action must start now
University of Minnesota junior Rachel Gaulke has built a replica model of the collapsed I-35W bridge to be presented to the National Transportation Safety Board for further investigation.
University of Minnesota researcher Mick Rakauskas has surveyed drivers in Minnesota and discovered that rural drivers are practicing as many common safety precautions on the road as their urban counterparts.
A new class at the University of Minnesota takes a look at the I-35W tragedy from all angles.