Last month, the U of M’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) announced that the City of Ramsey, located in Anoka County, will be its next partner community. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Ramsey and the U of M will work together on approximately 20 multidisciplinary projects from the city’s Strategic Plan.
Now in its fifth year, 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, matching graduate and undergraduate students to projects identified by the chosen community. RCP’s goal is to provide the community with efficient access to the resources and expertise of the U, offer students a professional opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world project, and provide faculty with ready-made applied-learning opportunities for the classroom.
Last week, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs launched CIVIOS, a new online collection of videos, podcasts, and other multimedia tools that translate public affairs research into easy-to-understand presentations.
The collection includes three new videos on transportation-related research conducted by CTS scholars Yingling Fan and Greg Lindsey.
A newly published article in the journal Community Development highlights work on transportation and economic competitiveness conducted by Humphrey School researchers.
Article authors Lee Munnich, senior fellow, and Frank Douma, director of the State and Local Policy Program, outline how their team worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Minnesota Department of Administration, and University of Minnesota Extension to develop and implement a unique approach linking economic development and transportation planning. Their work has focused on getting manufacturers’ perspectives on transportation issues as part of regional transportation decision making.
MnDOT is exploring the development of freeway “lids” at key locations on I-94 in the Twin Cities. To analyze the potential for private-sector investment and determine what steps might be needed to make lid projects a reality, MnDOT invited the Urban Land Institute (ULI) MN to conduct a Technical Assistance Panel with real estate experts and other specialists. The U’s Metropolitan Design Center (MDC) provided background and research for the panel.
A lid, also known as a cap or land bridge, is a structure built over a freeway trench to connect areas on either side. Lids may also support green space and development above the roadway and along adjacent embankments. Although lidding is not a new concept, it is gaining national attention as a way to restore communities damaged when freeways were first built in the 1960s.
According to MnDOT, roughly half of the 145 bridges on I-94 between the east side of Saint Paul and the north side of Minneapolis need work within the next 15 years. A shorter window applies in the area around the capitol to as far west as MN-280. In anticipation of the effort to rebuild so much infrastructure, the department wanted a deeper understanding of how attractive freeway lids and their surrounding areas would be to private developers and whether the investment they would attract would generate sufficient revenue to pay for them.
Last week, the Accessibility Observatory was featured on the University of Minnesota Inquiry blog as a highlight from a year of excellence in research in FY2016.
The post highlighted the Observatory’s new National Accessibility Evaluation Pooled-Fund Study, funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and 11 other transportation agencies across the country. As part of the $1.6 million, five-year project, Observatory staff will create a new national accessibility dataset at the Census block level that describes accessibility to jobs for both driving and transit.
Car to Go. Hour Car. Uber. Lyft. Nice Ride. These and other “shared-use mobility” options are making their way into more cities across the country, including RCP’s partner community, Brooklyn Park. As the City prepares for the arrival of light-rail transportation (LRT) service and evaluates options for improving mobility for residents without access to an automobile, it is considering whether—and how—to integrate such services into its transportation planning.
As a suburban community, Brooklyn Park is nowhere near as dense as Minneapolis or St. Paul. This has created challenges for the City in thinking about how to include services like Hour Car or Uber as solutions to current transportation needs. They may not seem like an obvious choice for a suburb, but through robust community engagement efforts, City staff learned that residents were interested in more shared-use mobility alternatives. The City is now considering such options as a larger, targeted investment in transportation.
U 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.