U of M researchers work to speed wait times at traffic lights
KSTP-TV News, May 13, 2013
Researchers at the University of Minnesota are working to help drivers plan routes around traffic on side streets before they even leave the house. SMART Signal logs drivers' actual wait times at dozens of intersections. The data is then compiled to show real-time traffic information online.
Potholes filled using kitchen technology
KARE-11 News, April 29, 2013
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.
MnDOT boss lays out goals, initiatives for future
West Central Tribune, April 22, 2013
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.
Access Across America: New University of Minnesota study measures accessibility to jobs in top U.S. cities
Center for Transportation Studies, April 4, 2013
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.
Minnesota becomes national hotspot for working at home
Star Tribune, March 7, 2013
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.
Smartphone apps are changing the way riders hail taxis
Star Tribune, March 6, 2013
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."
Researchers aim to improve road crew response during snow
KSTP News, March 5, 2013
To help MnDOT more accurately and reliably estimate the performance of its snow management activities, researchers from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) have developed a prototype process that uses traffic data to help determine the roadway recovery time.
Webinar recording: ITS Personal Data Needs – How Much Do We Really Need to Know?
ITS America, February 26, 2013
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.
18 Brilliant ways to end gridlock and save billions
Business Insider, February 27, 2013
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.
States driven toward 'zero death' crash goal
Chicago Tribune, February 18, 2013
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.
Path for robotics runs through Minnesota
Business @ the U of M, February 6, 2013
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.
Smartphone app steers drivers toward safety
Association of University Technology Managers, January 2013
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.
Are hurricanes our next Dust Bowl?
The Huffington Post, December 10, 2012
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.
Eden Prairie ready for the snow
KARE-11 News, December 8, 2012
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.
Seeking solutions to the truck parking shortage
Fleet Owner, December 7, 2012
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.
Light-rail project 74% complete
Minnesota Daily, November 6, 2012
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.
New video highlights Minnesota's transportation needs
Progess in Motion, October 18, 2012
This video includes interviews with business leaders, experts, and average citizens sharing their thoughts about the critical nature of Minnesota's transportation system.
Maximizing the return on transitway investment
Research suggests integrating transit planning with land use and economic development.
The Future Of Driving
National Public Radio, September 27, 2012
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.
U of M launches record number of startup companies in fiscal 2012
UMNews, September 19, 2012
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.
Driving home the dangers of distracted driving
KARE-11, September 16, 2012
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.
Lake Bluff drivers may go round and round
LakeForest-LakeBluffPatch, September 13, 2012
Traffic circles, believed to be safer and more efficient, may be on the way. One expert on traffic engineering said roundabouts reduce vehicle collisions by up to 70 percent. "That’s because they eliminate several of the conflicts that regular intersections have," John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory at the University of Minnesota, said. "A typical intersection has 16 to 24 conflict points and a roundabout has eight."
Latest hybrid bus hits the road in Minneapolis
Minnesota Daily, September 11, 2012
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.
Teen driving will be put to the test at Ridgedale Center Mall
StarTribune, September 8, 2012
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.
Higher ed at the Fair: From Tommie Totes to the U's Gridlock Buster
Minn Post, August 29, 2012
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 effect of school start times on family travel
KMSP-TV, August 28, 2012
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.
Food vs. Fuel: Should the EPA waive ethanol requirement?
MPR and Midwest Energy News, August 28, 2012
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.
Distracted-driving video game aims to teach teens
WCCO 4 TV News, August 28, 2012
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.
Minnesota primary seat belt law saves lives and money
GHSA Directions in Highway Safety, Summer 2012
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety has published a report looking at the impacts of Minnesota’s primary seat belt law. The study estimates that the primary seat belt law has resulted in between 68 and 92 fewer deaths and between 320 and 550 fewer severe injuries in the two years since the law went into effect.
U of M bridge experts study load capacity on precast concrete spans
Finance and Commerce, August 7, 2012
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.
High-tech sensors track performance of 35W bridge
MPR, August 2, 2012
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.
Where are Minnesota’s most crash-prone intersections?
MinnPost, July 27, 2012
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.
Northstar cuts fares by as much as 25% to lure more riders
Star Tribune, July 5, 2012
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.
Regional planning expert Carissa Schively Slotterback on what makes regional plans successful
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships
Urban and regional planning expert Carissa Shively Slotterback gives the Resilient Region project high marks. That’s high praise, as she’s not only an experienced planning practitioner, she researches the elements of successful regional plans.
Transportation researcher Frank Douma’s vision for Central Minnesota
Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships
Transportation researcher Frank Douma’s vision for Central Minnesota includes creative alternatives to private car ownership and accommodation of those alternatives through implementation of "Complete Streets.”
New internship program with MnDOT this summer
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.
Ticket tally dips in Minnesota seat belt push
Star Tribune, June 11, 2012
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.
Famed U of M transportation economist, Herbert Mohring, passed away on June 4
The Transportationist blog, June 6, 2012
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.
Looking for a new way to pay for Minnesota’s roads
MinnPost, May 25, 2012
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.
U of M Research Focuses on Local Perceptions of Transit Projects
Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, May 16, 2012
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.
Video available of Forum on the Future of Transportation Finance
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.
Maple Grove researcher tests app for visually impaired
Northwest Community Television, April 20, 2012
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.
Students rally at the Capitol for ‘Support the U Day’
Minnesota Daily, April 2, 2012
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 new seat belt law saves lives
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.
America's broken bridges
Bloomberg Businessweek, March 22, 2012
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.
Flexible, paper-based supercapacitor could improve performance of hybrid electric vehicles
PhysOrg.com, March 20, 2012
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.
Proximity to LRT stations raises home values for some
Finance and Commerce, March 19, 2012
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.
Smart snowplows keep the highway to Valdez, Alaska, clear
Government Technology, March 15, 2012
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.
Why does a little bit of rain make our commute suck so much?
SF Weekly, March 15, 2012
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.
Annual transportation career expo attracts wide variety of students, exhibitors
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.
App to help parents track their teen's driving habits
KARE 11, March 7, 2012
Soon parents will have something that can ease their minds when they hand over the keys to their teenage driver. DriveScribe is a smartphone app that can tell the driver of a car—and the parents of that driver—exactly what is going on behind the wheel. Based on technology developed by researchers at the Intelligent Vehicles Laboratory, DriveScribe alerts both the driver and that driver's parents when he or she is speeding, driving erratically, or even running a stop sign.
ITS Institute and Intelligent Vehicles Lab technology a History Channel "Modern Marvel"
History Channel, February 27, 2012
Driver-assist technology developed at the University of Minnesota is helping snowplow drivers keep Thompson Pass open during Alaska's long, severe winters. The History Channel profiled this technology as part of a show about Alaska.
U of M researchers tap into smartphones to help visually impaired
KARE 11, February 16, 2012
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.
Researchers find that China's pollution related to e-cars may be more harmful than gasoline cars
UMNews, February 13, 2012
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.
U of M research aims to curb distracted driving
KSTP-TV News, February 12, 2012
Researchers at the University of Minnesota are coming up with new ways to curb distracted driving, especially among young people. Max Donath from the university's Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute talks with 5 EYEWITNESS News about a game that creates distractions for drivers on a virtual road.
U-M transit research leads to biz
Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, February 10, 2012
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.
University of Minnesota presenters at TRB Annual Meeting
The University of Minnesota was well represented at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Engineering and public affairs researchers discussed their recent research on a range of topics, including transportation planning, safety, congestion management, transportation finance and pricing, and pavement management. For more information, download a complete list (113 KB PDF) of University of Minnesota presenters.
Interstates fastest during snowy commute — or not
Star Tribune, January 28, 2012
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.
Proposed state help gives push to $1.25B Southwest light rail
Minnesota Daily, January 26, 2012
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.
Collision in the making between self-driving cars and how the world works
New York Times, January 23, 2012
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.
University researcher presents at conference on self-driving cars
Mercury News, January 19, 2012
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.
Accessibility matrix used to compare U.S. cities
PLoS ONE, January 12, 2012
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.
Minnesota Traffic Observatory makes transportation smarter
Business @ the U of M, January 12, 2012
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.
U of M startup uses mobile app to monitor and coach teen driving skills
UMNews, January 12, 2012
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.