A new video showcasing our research and education highlights over the last year debuted in April at our Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. Highlights include research on accessibility, jobs and transit, the national freight economy, and bridge monitoring as well as our transportation summer camp for middle schoolers.
Congratulations to CTS Scholar Ying Song, an assistant professor in the U’s Department of Geography, Environment, and Society, who recently received two awards for her 2015 dissertation.
Imagine a world without traffic jams, car crashes, or highway pileups. A future where smartphones are no longer a distraction from safe driving, but rather a safety tool. A future where it’s easier for everyone to get where they need to be, whether they’re driving, busing, biking, or hoofing it.
This future may happen sooner than later, thanks to advancements from researchers in the U’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE). These researchers are helping to make our commutes smoother, our vehicles smarter, and our destinations more accessible.
The Twin Cities transit system changed dramatically between 2000 and 2010: service improvements included the launch of light-rail transit and a high-frequency bus network.
“The changes were implemented in response to growing demand and to provide long-term, high-quality service, increasing accessibility and mobility in the growing region,” says Jonathan Ehrlich, planning analyst with the Metropolitan Council.
And according to a new study by U of M researchers, the changes are working.
A recent post on Inquiry, the U of M’s research blog, highlighted how University researchers are participating in a variety of efforts related to “smart cities.” These efforts are designed to develop solutions related to transportation, energy, housing, and more for the cities and communities of the future.
The post cites CTS as one of many University centers contributing expertise to the U’s smart city initiatives.
Last month, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute released its 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, the latest in an occasional series of reports focused on automobile congestion in U.S. metropolitan areas. Using data from INRIX, these reports estimate the costs of congestion, represented by the number of “extra” hours that automobile commuters spend by traveling at low, congested speeds instead of high, uncongested speeds. The implication is that our cities function best when they allow cars to move fast.
Detailed congestion data are a critical component of our work at the Accessibility Observatory. But for us, automobile congestion is only part of the whole picture. We approach all of our research and evaluation projects with the understanding that all travel is motivated by a desire to reach destinations, and that no study of transportation is complete unless it looks at both the costs and benefits of travel.
A recent report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau looks at commuting patterns by U.S. workers in 2013 using data from the American Community Survey. It highlights differences in rates of automobile commuting by key population characteristics such as age, race, ethnicity, and the types of communities in which workers live.
You can also find an extensive analysis of commuting behavior that was produced locally. In a recent multifaceted study sponsored by the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Transportation, U of M researchers analyzed travel behavior over time in the Twin Cities.