Study gauges whether in-vehicle signing could improve driver behavior, safety

signing1Researchers at the U of M’s HumanFIRST Laboratory recently tested how in-vehicle signing—perhaps presented on a smartphone or vehicle display—could alert drivers and modify their behavior. Led by principal investigator Nichole Morris, the project examined how drivers react to in-vehicle sign (IVS) systems designed to prepare them for transitions to new driving conditions such as speed zone changes, school zones, construction zones, and curves.

The project, sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, arose from a previous MnDOT study that looked at the feasibility of using smartphones for implementing connected vehicle programs. One of the questions that came out of that study was whether road signage could be eliminated from the roadside and displayed in the vehicle instead. Doing so could save tax dollars related to sign installation and maintenance, improve landscapes, and make it easier to keep signage up-to-date.

Posted in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Safety, Technology, Transportation research

Summer camps introduce next generation to transportation


In August, CTS and the Roadway Safety Institute (RSI) participated in several summer programs to help introduce the next generation to transportation topics and careers.

On August 15–19, CTS helped coordinate and host the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Workforce Development Program, a day camp designed to introduce underrepresented youth to potential careers at MnDOT. Sixteen campers ages 14–25 attended the program, where they learned about various trade-related job fields—such as carpentry, ironwork, and cement masonry—as well as civil engineering.

Posted in Education, Workforce development

Congrats to Metro Transit on receiving the APTA System of the Year award

soybadgeCongratulations to Metro Transit on receiving the 2016 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award from the American Public Transportation Association! The annual award, also known as System of the Year, reflects accomplishments made between 2013 and 2015.

According to a Metro Transit press release, those accomplishments include growing ridership, expanding access, advances in sustainability, and overall success in system safety. Metro Transit was selected among agencies from across North America that provide more than 20 million annual passenger trips. The award will be presented at the APTA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA, in September.

Posted in Public transit, Transportation research

White Earth Nation students learn about transportation, safety

Last month, more than 40 White Earth Nation students were introduced to a variety of transportation topics in a daylong session offered by the Roadway Safety Institute.

The program was part of the White Earth Indian Reservation Summer Academy of Math and Science, a two-week day camp for reservation youth in grades 4 to 8. The camp focuses on hands-on learning and uses Indian culture and heritage as a vehicle for studying math, science, and engineering. It is offered in partnership by the White Earth Nation and the University of Minnesota Extension.

Posted in Education, Safety

Improving safety of two-lane roundabouts

roundaboutWhile two-lane roundabouts almost always reduce fatal and severe crashes, they can also lead to a substantial increase in minor crashes. To help combat this problem, researchers with the Roadway Safety Institute are investigating solutions for reducing crashes at two-lane urban roundabouts.

The research, funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, began in 2011 with a troublesome two-lane roundabout in Richfield, Minnesota. Following the roundabout’s construction, the number of property-damage crashes increased substantially at the site. Experts at the Minnesota Traffic Observatory (MTO) were brought in to make improvements and gauge their effectiveness with a before-and-after study.

Posted in Safety, Traffic operations, Transportation research

U of M finishes first in regional ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl

13590289_10208303139569206_2921138596167886872_nCongratulations to the U of M’s Interdisciplinary Transportation Student Organization team for its first-place finish at the Institute of Transportation Engineers Midwest Region Collegiate Traffic Bowl in Chicago on June 26-29, 2016.

Posted in Education

New instructional video: spreadsheet tool for flashing yellow arrows

33705 A new instructional video guides practitioners through the use of a spreadsheet tool that can help determine when it’s safe to use flashing yellow arrows for permitted left turns.

Traffic engineers can use the spreadsheet tool to determine at which times of day crash risk is sufficiently low to allow flashing yellow arrows to be implemented safely at a specific intersection. The tool was developed as part of a project sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board and led by Gary Davis, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering at the U of M.

Posted in Safety, Traffic operations, Transportation research
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