Green Line LRT: accessibility impacts in Minneapolis and Saint Paul

Sunday, June 14, marks the one-year anniversary of the start of service on the Twin Cities’ Green Line LRT route. At the Accessibility Observatory, we like to celebrate transportation anniversaries the way we wish everyone would: with a detailed evaluation of access to destinations.

Posted in Accessibility, Planning, Public transit, Transportation research, Uncategorized, Urban transportation

Has Motorization in Minnesota Peaked?

This post features an analysis of data from the Minnesota Transportation Finance Database. The graph above shows motorization trends in Minnesota during 1980-2013. The four panels are about VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled), VMT per person, VMT per registered driver, and

Posted in Minnesota Transportation Finance Database

Local Efforts Account for the Largest Share of MN Roadway Expenses

This post features an analysis of data from the Minnesota Transportation Finance Database. Many people think that roadway expenses are mainly paid by transportation special revenues in particular federal and state fuel taxes. In fact, local property tax has been

Posted in Minnesota Transportation Finance Database

New video highlights how U of M transportation research makes a difference

CTS aired a new video—”How does University of Minnesota research make a difference?”—at our Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on April 6. The video highlights research initiatives from 2014-2015, including projects focused on flashing left-turn signals at intersections, “self-healing” pavement, and transit amenities.

Posted in Accessibility, Environment, Freight, Infrastructure, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Land use, Pavements, Planning, Public transit, Technology, Transportation research, Travel Behavior, Urban transportation

Science Museum seeking photos about the future of the Twin Cities

If you’re interested in a creative challenge, the Science Museum of Minnesota is requesting photos for an upcoming exhibit about the future of the Twin Cities. Full details and submission instructions are on the Science Museum’s website; the deadline is

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Posted in Urban transportation

Salt-tolerant sod and seed mixes bring greener roadsides to Minnesota

turfgrass1For Minnesota’s roadside grasses, life isn’t easy. To survive, grass must be able to withstand extreme stresses including drought, heat, disease, soil compaction, poor quality soils, and high levels of road salt. Ideally, it could survive all that while still looking lush and green.

“Many roadsides, especially in metropolitan areas, need to look good,” says Eric Watkins, associate professor in the Department of Horticultural Science. “In addition to aesthetics, quality roadside vegetation is needed to prevent erosion and maintain water quality from roadside runoff.”

In 2010, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) noticed a number of its new sod and seed plantings were failing and asked U of M experts to take a look at its specification.

Posted in Environment, Maintenance, Transportation research

Reform the fuel tax to improve our future

gaspumpFinding the funding needed to meet documented highway, bridge, and transit needs continues to be hotly debated in Washington, DC, and in state capitals around the country. The level of investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure has declined. Federal figures compiled by The Associated Press show the total amount of money available to all states from the Federal Highway Trust Fund has declined by 3.5 percent during the five-year period ending in 2013. In Minnesota, the drop is even more severe: 33 percent.

At the same time, demand on the system and construction costs continue to increase. Population growth, increased freight shipments, and heavier vehicles have all contributed to a situation in which the transportation system is carrying much more of a load than it was ever designed to carry. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, highway construction costs have increased more than 70 percent since 2004.

In this guest post, Margaret Donahoe from the Minnesota Transportation Alliance shares her thoughts on how we might deal with trends that are producing less revenue for transportation while maintaining the user fee principal.

Posted in Transportation funding
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