Hands-on activities introduce kids to transportation at Tech Fest

On February 24, CTS partnered with MnDOT to bring transportation-related activities to Tech Fest, an annual event held at The Works Museum in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The event, geared toward kids ages four and up, is designed to inspire interest in engineering and technology. It features hands-on activities and demos from the museum and its partners.

Posted in Education, Events

Is accessibility to parks equitable in the Twin Cities?

Given the many benefits of parks, there’s growing interest in whether these green spaces are distributed equitably in urban areas. When researchers study park accessibility, they typically assume that people will use active modes of transportation (biking and walking) to reach their destinations. Few studies have considered automobile and transit accessibility.

A new analysis from the U of M helps fill this gap. It applies a comprehensive measure of park accessibility to determine the differences across space and population groups for Minneapolis and Saint Paul neighborhoods. Kristin Carlson and Jacqueline Nowak conducted the assessment last year as part of their graduate coursework for Professor Jason Cao of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Equity, Transportation research, Urban transportation

New videos demonstrate the impacts of transportation research

At our Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony today, we launched an ongoing series of videos about the impacts of research. The series will take a high-level look at recent studies, focusing on the benefits and impacts to users. The short videos feature interviews with the people who implement research—such as MnDOT and Metro Transit staff—to improve Minnesota’s transportation systems.

Posted in Bicycling, Events, Public transit, Transportation research

Symposium explores freight’s role in the on-demand revolution

E-commerce is booming as consumers increasingly shop online for convenience, price, and availability. New trends and emerging technologies are driving consumer expectations for shortened, lower-cost, more flexible delivery options. But what do those expectations mean for the freight industry? What challenges does the industry face in meeting the demands of the new on-demand economy?

Participants at the annual Freight and Logistics Symposium in December focused on finding answers to these questions as they explored freight’s integral role in the on-demand revolution.

Posted in Events, Freight

Urban outfitting: Imagining cities for a changing world

hhh_urbanWith as many as three billion more people expected to live in cities by 2050, there’s renewed interest in a topic often taken for granted: infrastructure. Many are wondering if there are options better than vast highways, elaborate power grids, and complex underground water systems. And cities are already trying localized, “distributed” systems such as community solar power, rain gardens, bike sharing, and urban farms. But what should such systems look like? How should they work? And how should we measure their impact—on efficiency and cost? What about their impact on people’s health and happiness?

Researchers from across the globe are asking such questions as part of a massive four-year effort to rethink urban infrastructure. Knit together in the sprawling Sustainable Healthy Cities network, they are attempting to provide the analyses needed to understand the effects of decisions cities have already made as well as envision what cities might do in the future.

The network, supported by a $12 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation, is anchored at the University of Minnesota. CTS Scholar Yingling Fan, an associate professor in urban and regional planning at the Humphrey School, is a co-principal investigator.

Posted in Infrastructure, Land use, Planning, Transportation research, Urban transportation

Fostering transit-oriented development requires persistence, coordination, and strategy

Many policymakers support transit-oriented development (TOD) for its potential to direct regional growth into a more efficient and sustainable pattern. However, the ability to achieve this public goal is largely dependent on private-sector decisions.

“The governments and agencies with the greatest desire for TOD have little ability to implement it through their own actions,” says Andrew Guthrie, a research fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “Conversely, the private-sector entities whose actions are needed to implement TOD may not share a city’s or regional planning body’s goals for transit-oriented growth patterns and built forms.”

This fundamental difference in perspectives demands creativity from planners and regional policymakers. In a new study, Guthrie and Associate Professor Yingling Fan explore how the public sector can best overcome these obstacles and encourage TOD at a regional scale. “Previous research has focused primarily on the impacts and benefits of TOD, not on how to accomplish it in the real world,” Guthrie says. “Our project helps fill that need.”

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