U of M researchers receive funding from MnDOT, LRRB

University of Minnesota researchers have been awarded funding for 15 new projects by MnDOT’s Transportation Research Innovation Group (TRIG) and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB).

MnDOT and the LRRB announced their Fiscal Year 2017 funding awards in December 2015 after receiving proposals from researchers at multiple universities. This year, researchers were asked to pay special attention to how their work could benefit the public and be put into real-world practice.

A total of 20 projects, totaling about $2.9 million, were selected. These projects will study new and innovative approaches to improving the environment, making transportation systems safer, improving construction methods, and operating in more cost-effective ways.

According to MnDOT Research Management Engineer Hafiz Munir, researchers were asked early on in the proposal process how they would quantify their results, what benefits the research could achieve, and how their research could be implemented in the future.

“Now we’ll be able to track those metrics, and that will help MnDOT not only quantify the potential benefits of the projects but also implement the results,” Munir said.

The 15 newly funded University of Minnesota projects will:

  • Create an inexpensive GPS-based system that alerts the driver when a motor vehicle deviates from a lane or approaches a curve (Project summary)
  • Find out whether a smartphone app can effectively warn drivers about upcoming roadway curves (Project summary)
  • Determine whether different types of roadway turfgrass are better suited for specific regions of the state (Project summary)
  • Create a comprehensive design guide for fish-friendly culverts  (Project summary)
  • Determine how social media can be used to engage diverse community groups within the state (Project summary)
  • Gather truck reliability data, identifying truck bottlenecks and providing potential mitigation solutions for regular congestion areas (Project summary)
  • Establish a system and smartphone app for accurately capturing and reporting data about intrusions into work zones (Project summary)
  • Develop an advanced sensor system to estimate long-term and dynamic vertical displacements on the I-35W bridge (Project summary)
  • Compare the performance of different structural fibers in thin concrete overlays (Project summary)
  • Evaluate four performance test methods that predict the cracking behavior of asphalt mixes (Project summary)
  • Investigate the link between transportation investment and job creation and analyze transportation investments, business patterns, and socioeconomic data in Minnesota counties (Project summary)
  • Refine a taconite-based pothole repair compound and develop a low-cost mechanized system to mix and place it in large quantities (Project summary)
  • Investigate how much road salting can be safely decreased with the use of permeable pavements (Project summary)
  • Evaluate the use of iron-enhanced check dams for capturing phosphate and toxic materials from roadway runoff (Project summary)
  • Improve accessibility calculation capabilities and understanding of travel behavior by integrating data about highway bus operations, park-and-ride facilities, and urban parking costs (Project summary)

Funding will be available to all projects when the fiscal year begins on July 1.

This post was adapted from an article originally published on the joint MnDOT/CTS Crossroads blog.

Posted in Transportation research

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