There's a new COVID-19 tracking app for Minnesotans that breaks it down into neighborhoods. "SafeDistance" uses public data but it will also rely heavily on users to add to the platform. HealthPartners Institute, researchers at the University of Minnesota and Modern Logic have teamed up for this nonprofit project. They hope that through the app, users can learn more about the health of their neighborhood and help them avoid potential COVID-19 hotspots.
Working with researchers from the University of Minnesota, the HealthPartners Institute has launched a free smartphone app intended to help fight COVID-19 by tracking outbreaks at the neighborhood level using crowd-sourced information from anonymous users. The SafeDistance app, which is making its debut across Minnesota this week, is even being touted as a potential strategy to reopen the economy.
Annual nationwide data from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota revealed significant differences among major U.S. cities in how well they are coping with the congestion. According to the Access Across America: Auto 2018 study, the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area ranked sixth in terms of job accessibility but 28th in the reduction in job access due to congestion. In fact, Minneapolis–St.
The University of Minnesota and HealthPartners are at work on an app they tentatively plan to call "SafeDistance." What’s less certain is the degree to which privacy advocates and everyday consumers will voluntarily opt into such services when they’re ready for widespread application — or whether government might someday legally mandate that smartphone companies automatically enroll their customers....
The share of Minnesotans working from home rather than going to an office will not return to pre-pandemic levels soon, if ever.... Lee Munnich said he isn’t surprised. Munnich might be called Minnesota’s telework policy guru. It’s a research specialty he honed during 25 years as director of the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
University of Minnesota researchers have developed an app to warn senior drivers when they are engaging in risky maneuvers and help them pay better attention while behind the wheel. The RoadCoach app provides auditory and visual messages in real time when drivers speed, brake too hard, fail to yield or run stop signs, then encourages them to make corrections. “It’s like a surrogate coach in the passenger seat,” said Nichole Morris, who led the research and study funded through a grant from the Roadway Safety Institute. Morris is director of the U’s HumanFIRST Laboratory.
University computer science and engineering professor Shashi Shekhar writes that smartphone-location-based contact tracing could not only save lives now, but also provide valuable information to public health researchers to improve the understanding of epidemiology and improve intervention methods when it comes to containing future waves of SARS-Cov2 and other communicable diseases. (Co-author: Apurv Hirsh Shekhar, MD candidate, Yale School of Medicine.
Trucking has seen an upturn, too, as drivers rush the supplies that fill grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies and other critical businesses. But Stephen Burks, an industry economist at the University of Minnesota-Morris, told Transport Topics that trucking likely will see a slowdown, too, as the rest of the economy deals with the lingering effects of the coronavirus. “I think the big question is whether … the current spike can sustain itself, and my opinion is, it’s probably going to be a short run,” Burks said.
Metro Transit is cutting service, but not as fast as riders are cutting their use of the cities’ buses and rail lines. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro Transit on Wednesday will begin operating most routes at Sunday service levels.... Metro Transit relies on user fares for about a third of its revenue, which is consistent with other public transit systems across the country, said Yingling Fan, a regional planning and policy professor with the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Minneapolis and St. Paul recently lowered speed limits on their residential streets to make them safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Researchers have known for years that dropping highway speeds decreases vehicle pollution, but whether lower travel speeds in cities will bring the same result remains unclear, according to national and global reports on the impact of speed reductions.... University of Minnesota associate professor William Northrop said dropping speeds on city streets in and of itself will result in “not much of a difference” in air quality.
In a project sponsored by the Roadway Safety Institute, University of Minnesota researchers have developed a system that uses Bluetooth ‘tags’ to trigger in-vehicle audio warnings when approaching a highway workzone.... “Providing drivers with tailored in-vehicle messages before they arrive at highway workzones has the potential to save lives and prevent many injuries,” explained Chen-Fu Liao, a senior research associate at the UMN’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Keeping roads safe for drivers is a top priority for road maintenance crews. The challenge is using enough salt and sand to keep cars out of ditches, while minimizing its environmental impact. But road salt is also a harsh and permanent chemical when it reaches the freshwater environment. “Duluth’s drinking water comes from Lake Superior, so we’re potentially polluting our own drinking water with all the salt we use in the winter,” explained Chanlan Chun, the lead NRRI researcher on two road salt projects.
City planners and engineers are stumped over why so many drivers can’t handle something as simple as a roundabout. Roundabouts have proliferated around the U.S. in recent years, arriving in some areas of the Midwest and West for the first time. Yet even years after some are installed, driver confusion persists. And with confusion comes fender-benders. Authorities have boosted public education, tweaked signs and modified roadway designs in search of solutions.
Port leaders in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the busiest ports in North America, say empty cargo containers are stacking up as many factories in China remain closed or are operating at below-capacity levels as a result of the coronavirus. Alarm bells are starting to ring about the economy as the number of coronavirus cases increases domestically, even though some indicators show the economy is proving to be resilient.... University of Minnesota-Morris economics professor Stephen Burks specializes in trucking and supply chain issues.
Townhouses have the modern look of downtown lofts and touches of urban living, with front porches, alleys and sidewalks.... The suburbs have become more racially and economically diverse, with more adventurous dining and entertainment options. Commuting patterns have shifted as well; more businesses have set up shop in the suburbs near where their workers live, and more people telecommuting or managing flexible schedules mean that fewer workers make the daily rush-hour round trip to the city.
The University of Minnesota has started work on what officials call a "Super Ambulance," which they say will be the first of its kind in the country. The Super Ambulance is outfitted with virtual reality technology. Researchers believe it will help save the lives of more Minnesotans. The design team took 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS inside the official mockup Friday. "There's a 3D panoramic view from this camera here," explained John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory and research associate professor at the University's Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering Department.
There’s a tension in transportation news. On one hand, cities are eager to nudge residents away from automobiles and toward modes that pose less danger, both to people and the planet.
Minneapolis-St. Paul held at No. 13 in the 2018 national rankings of the number of jobs workers can get to using public transportation. Twin Cities workers can reach more than 18,000 jobs by train or bus in a half-hour or less and nearly 147,000 jobs in an hour or less, according to the annual survey of the 50 largest U.S. cities carried out by the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota. The Twin Cities also ranked 13th in 2016 and 2017, said study author Andrew Owen.
While debate about rising crime on the Twin Cities’ light-rail lines has emerged at the Capitol this year, there’s been little discourse about ensuring passenger safety at Green and Blue Line stations. The stops serve as entry points to a light-rail system that ferries some 25 million passengers annually. But a renewed emphasis on safety by Metro Transit and state lawmakers could have a positive spillover effect on the light rail system’s 37 stations.... Of the five stations shared by the Green and Blue lines in downtown Minneapolis, the U.S.