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

Global Transit Innovations book on transit development in the works

As part of the Global Transit Innovations (GTI) program, Humphrey School Associate Professor Yingling Fan is writing a new book that will share lessons learned from her study of transit development in 20 U.S. metropolitan regions.

GTI was established last year by CTS in partnership with Fan, who also serves as GTI director. In this Q&A, Fan shares thoughts about her upcoming book, the link between transit and urban development, what’s needed for a transit revival, and more.

Posted in Land use, Planning, Public transit, Transportation research, Urban transportation

Dangers of distracted driving highlighted at Open Streets

CTS partnered with Minnesota TZD to highlight the dangers of distracted and impaired driving at Open Streets Minneapolis on Saturday, October 1.

In its second year on campus, Open Streets closed several roads to traffic on the East and West Bank and invited students and area residents to walk, bike, skate, and play. Exhibits featured a variety of U of M offices, transportation organizations such as Metro Transit and Nice Ride, local businesses, and arts and entertainment.

Posted in Bicycling, Events, Pedestrian, Safety

Visit CTS at Open Streets on Oct. 1!

openstreetsStop by the CTS booth at Open Streets on the U of M campus this Saturday, October 1! The event, coming to the U for the second year, will be held on both the East Bank and West Bank from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Open Streets brings together community groups and local businesses to temporarily close major thoroughfares to car traffic and open them up for people walking, biking, skating, and playing.

Posted in Bicycling, Events, Pedestrian, Safety, Urban transportation

Method pinpoints ‘hot spots’ for bus emissions

buses1U of M researchers have developed a way to identify the exact location of “hot spots” for air pollutants created by transit buses—work that could be used to create new strategies for addressing emission hot spots in the future.

The research team, led by Professor David Kittelson of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME), began by collecting data using two different instrumented buses, one with a standard diesel engine and automatic transmission and another with a hybrid engine and selectively enabled start-stop technology (both model year 2013). Nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions and GPS data were recorded for each bus during spring, summer, and fall on an inner city route with frequent stops and slow speeds, a medium-speed route with longer distances between stops, and an express route that required little braking.

Posted in Environment, Public transit, Transportation research, Urban transportation
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