U of M researchers to tackle big transportation questions with new MnDOT, LRRB funding

U of M researchers have received funding from MnDOT’s Transportation Research Innovation Group and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) for 15 new projects beginning this summer.

Researchers will tackle a number of big transportation questions: How should our transportation agencies prepare for connected vehicle technology? Are unseen factors affecting safety at rural intersections? Can Twin Cities roadsides be used to grow habitat for endangered bumble bees?

Posted in Bridges and structures, Infrastructure, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Maintenance, Pavements, Pedestrian, Safety, Technology, Traffic operations, Transportation research, Urban transportation

How new research on millennials can inform future traffic safety efforts

By 2025, three of four workers worldwide will be members of the millennial generation—those born between 1982 and 2002. Effectively reaching and influencing this vast audience with traffic safety messages will require some insight into this generation, said Rodney Wambeam, speaking at the TZD statewide conference last November. During the opening session, Wambeam, a senior research scientist at the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center at the University of Wyoming, shared new research findings on millennials and how that could shape approaches to traffic safety and preventing substance abuse.

In the U.S., millennials currently number about 80 million—a number that is growing because of immigration. “This really is a global generation,” Wambeam noted. And it’s the single most diverse generation of Americans.

Posted in Events, Safety

University of Minnesota presenters at TRB

University of Minnesota faculty and researchers will be presenting in a variety of workshops and sessions at the 96th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC, January 8-12, 2017.

If you’re attending, be sure to check out their sessions!

Posted in Events, Transportation research

Transportation Connections in Brooklyn park

sharedusephoto-300x199Car to Go. Hour Car. Uber. Lyft. Nice Ride. These and other “shared-use mobility” options are making their way into more cities across the country, including RCP’s partner community, Brooklyn Park. As the City prepares for the arrival of light-rail transportation (LRT) service and evaluates options for improving mobility for residents without access to an automobile, it is considering whether—and how—to integrate such services into its transportation planning.

As a suburban community, Brooklyn Park is nowhere near as dense as Minneapolis or St. Paul. This has created challenges for the City in thinking about how to include services like Hour Car or Uber as solutions to current transportation needs. They may not seem like an obvious choice for a suburb, but through robust community engagement efforts, City staff learned that residents were interested in more shared-use mobility alternatives. The City is now considering such options as a larger, targeted investment in transportation.

Posted in Education, Pedestrian, Planning, Public transit, Sharing economy, Transportation research, Urban transportation

Research helps inform transit shelter policy

bus_shelterFor a typical transit user, every minute waiting at a stop feels longer than it actually is. But basic amenities—shelters and benches—at transit stops significantly reduce riders’ perceived waiting times, according to a U of M study.

“Basic amenities are especially important for lines without frequent service,” said Yingling Fan, associate professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, at a fall CTS research seminar. “However, high-amenity stops are often on lines with high-frequency service. Based on our findings, we recommend providing basic amenities at stations and stops as broadly as possible.”

Posted in Public transit, Transportation research, Urban transportation

Understanding the differences between biking and walking could improve transportation plans

bikewalk1U of M researchers have an important message for transportation planners: pedestrians and bicyclists are different. In a recent study, Greg Lindsey and Jessica Schoner explored the key differences between these two groups in order to help planners better track progress toward nonmotorized transportation goals and more effectively address the different needs of pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Transportation policies and plans are increasingly setting goals to encourage and increase walking and bicycling, but the challenges are significant,” says Lindsey, a professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “Two major obstacles are the lack of data to construct comprehensive measures of walking and bicycling, and a nuanced understanding of the important differences between these modes—this is the void our latest research helps fill.”

The study analyzed the Metropolitan Council’s Travel Behavior Inventory for the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area for 2001 and 2010 to illuminate the differences between walking and bicycling over time and to illustrate the implications for performance measurements.

Posted in Pedestrian, Planning, Transportation research, Travel Behavior

New pothole patching techniques lead to repairs that last

potholesIn Minnesota, the combination of traffic and extreme weather can turn small pavement problems into big potholes. To make progress in the seemingly unending task of pothole repair, U of M researchers are designing durable patches and repairs that are quick to apply and less costly for maintenance budgets.

In a new report, researchers present two improved options for pothole repair that are ideally suited to Minnesota’s cold and wet conditions. The first approach is a fast-setting, taconite-based compound, which was found to be especially well-suited for rigid and relatively deep repairs in concrete pavements. The second approach uses a vehicle-based microwave heating system with taconite materials for in-place pothole and pavement repair; this technology proved very effective for repairing potholes in asphalt pavement at all temperatures, including very cold temperatures.

Posted in Construction, Infrastructure, Maintenance, Pavements, Transportation research, Uncategorized
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