Blog Archives

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

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

Exhibit teaches kids to be seen and be safe with reflectivity

Kids visiting the exhibit boothRoadway Safety Institute staff taught more than 450 kids about reflectivity, pedestrian visibility, and safety at TechFest on February 27.

The event, hosted annually by The Works Museum in Bloomington, is designed to introduce kids to engineering and technology concepts through hands-on activities and demos.

Posted in Education, Events, Pedestrian, Safety

Ruling the road: U of M researchers working to improve transportation

trafficImagine 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.

Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Pedestrian, Safety, Technology, Traffic data, Transportation research

Students recommend safe routes to school at Chaska intersection

David Levinson leading students during site visit As part of a U of M course last semester, students analyzed access to an elementary and middle school complex adjacent to a busy intersection in Chaska, Minnesota, and made recommendations aimed at helping local agencies improve pedestrian safety and access around the site.

Their work was part of a safe-routes-to-school project sponsored by the Resilient Communities Project (RCP). RCP is an initiative supported by the U’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs that organizes yearlong partnerships between the University and Minnesota communities. This year’s partnership, with Carver County, includes participation by Chaska and the school district.

Posted in Pedestrian, Safety, Uncategorized

Helping visually impaired pedestrians find their way with new self-aware system

Visually impaired pedestrian walking with caneTraveling alone in an unfamiliar environment can be challenging for visually impaired pedestrians, largely because there is not enough information available to them to support decision making. For U of M researchers, helping these pedestrians overcome such challenges is a top priority.

“To improve mobility, access, and confidence in the transportation system, it is important to remove not only the physical barriers but also the information barriers that can impede mobility for people who are visually impaired,” says Chen-Fu Liao, senior systems engineer at the U of M’s Minnesota Traffic Observatory. In previous work, Liao developed the Mobile Accessible Pedestrian System (MAPS), which uses smartphone technology to provide location and signal timing information to visually impaired pedestrians.

Liao’s latest project, sponsored by the Roadway Safety Institute, aims to improve the app’s accuracy and reliability by developing a “self-aware” infrastructure system—one that can monitor itself and ensure the information it’s providing is up to date, even in a GPS-unfriendly environment.

Posted in Accessibility (for people with disabilities), Pedestrian, Safety, Technology, Transportation research, Urban transportation
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