Blog Archives

Otter Plow Cushion absorbs shock of rough roads

Snowplow truck with Otter Plow Cushion Winter roads, especially late in the season, can be especially rough, causing more stress on snowplow lift chains and plow lift parts as the heavy plow assembly bounces more. Broken plow lift chains are a common result and can take maintenance vehicles and personnel out of service for hours.

Industrious maintenance personnel with the Otter Tail County Highway Department created the Otter Plow Cushion with spare parts during downtime on a cold winter day. The device absorbs the shock of rough roads on the plow assembly and lift chains, improving ride quality and reducing the failure of the plow lift chains and parts.

The Otter Tail County Highway Department received a grant through the Local Operational Research Assistance (OPERA) Program to produce more Otter Plow Cushions.

Posted in Maintenance

U of M researchers to begin new roadway safety projects

U of M researchers have received funding from the Roadway Safety Institute for nine new projects focused on advancing roadway safety. Topics range from developing a course on automated vehicle technologies to improving EMS response on American Indian reservations.

The newly funded projects are specifically focused on moving current Institute research toward implementation, positioning its researchers for future opportunities, or developing educational initiatives. Projects were required to fall under the Institute’s research focus areas of rail-crossing safety, safety on tribal lands, bicycle and pedestrian safety, connected vehicles, or safety policy.

Posted in Safety, Transportation research

U of M hosts autonomous bus demo on Washington Avenue Bridge

autonomousbusdemo2018-0764-300ppi-3008x2008On Monday, April 30, an innovative demonstration of a self-driving EZ10 All Electric Autonomous Bus offered free rides to students, staff, faculty, and the public across the Washington Avenue Bridge.

More than 450 people took a three-minute ride across the bridge during the demo, which was organized by the U of M’s Parking & Transportation Services, CTS, the Humphrey School’s State and Local Policy Program, the University Office of Sustainability, and First Transit, Inc.

Posted in Connected and autonomous vehicles, Events, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Intelligent vehicles, Technology

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
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