Transit shelters and other amenities affect perceived wait times


Time seems to fly when you’re having fun, but not when you’re waiting for a bus at an unsheltered stop. In a new study, U of M researchers found that several factors can have a measurable impact on riders’ perceptions of wait times. A shelter can make the wait seem shorter, for example, whereas for women, unsafe conditions can make the wait seem longer.

The study, sponsored by the Transitway Impacts Research Program (TIRP), grew out of the interest of several TIRP partners to learn how riders’ perceptions of wait time is affected by transit shelters, amenities such as posted schedules, and characteristics of surrounding areas. “Waiting time is a convenient way to measure how burdened a waiter feels,” explains Andrew Guthrie, research fellow with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Posted in Public transit, Transportation research

New systems monitor stormwater runoff from road construction sites

Transportation practitioners have new tools to help keep road construction runoff out of our waters, thanks to research from the University of Minnesota.

During a rainfall, eroded sediment from a site can be quickly transported to nearby lakes or rivers. Because of these negative impacts, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requires that the owner and operator create a stormwater pollution prevention plan explaining the practices to be used to limit sediment discharge from their sites.

Posted in Construction, Environment, Transportation research

Snow Control Tools Webinar Jan. 28

shutterstock_38732917Tune in to this webinar at noon CST on January 28 to learn about the Blowing Snow Control Cost-Benefit Web Tool. This online tool allows transportation agencies to calculate the amount they can pay private landowners (farmers) to establish a living snow fence (shrubs) or to leave standing corn rows or other structures like hay bales or silage bags to reduce blowing snow on sensitive highways.

Posted in Environment, Maintenance, Rural transportation, Safety, Uncategorized

New crash report interface will improve usability and data quality

crashThe data collected at the scene of a crash by law enforcement officers are important for more than just drivers and their insurance companies. The information is also used on a much larger scale by state agencies and researchers to analyze and evaluate crashes, trends, and potential countermeasures.

“Big decisions get made based on that data—million-dollar decisions,” says Nichole Morris, a research associate at the U of M’s HumanFIRST Laboratory. “So you have to be sure that what goes in to that report is high quality and reflects what actually happened at the scene of the crash.”

As part of an effort to improve the quality of this data in Minnesota, a team of HumanFIRST researchers is working to redesign the electronic crash report interface used by law enforcement officers. The team’s goal is to create a new interface that improves the accuracy, speed, reliability, and meaningfulness of crash report data.

Posted in Safety, Technology, Traffic data, Transportation research

University of Minnesota presenters at TRB Annual Meeting

Below is a list of lectern and poster sessions that University of Minnesota faculty and researchers will present at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC, starting Sunday. If you’re attending, be sure to check

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Posted in Events, Transportation research

Something big’s afoot

annualreportMany transportation issues have been with us for years: safety, funding, and so on. But today, they seem to be getting bigger, faster, more urgent. Driverless cars have moved beyond test tracks; the Highway Trust Fund came close to insolvency. Lyft and Uber are attracting subscribers, not owners; extreme weather is prompting resilient infrastructure. And right in front of our CTS offices, the Green Line opened light-rail service between St. Paul and Minneapolis. Combined with other trends and technologies, the implications of these developments are profound.

Such times demand big ideas—and the U of M has the big thinkers to create them. Our campuses are home to some of the brightest minds in transportation, in disciplines from engineering to planning to public policy. Their research generates the real-world solutions and out-there vision needed to tackle the transformative issues of today and tomorrow.

Posted in Environment, Infrastructure, Intelligent vehicles, Planning, Public transit, Safety, Technology, Transportation funding, Transportation research

Transportation drives growth of industry clusters

From recreational vehicles in the northwest to Mayo Clinic in the southeast, Minnesota has a diverse and changing set of industry clusters. What do such clusters need to grow and prosper? Recent U of M studies take a look at the vital role of transportation.

Industry clusters are geographically concentrated groups of interconnected companies, universities, and related institutions. As a critical mass, clusters promote efficiencies that individual businesses or industries cannot, and they tend to have a large economic impact on a region.

Posted in Freight, Infrastructure, Planning, Transportation research
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