Blog Archives

Reducing speeds to improve safety for work-zone flaggers

Work-zone flagger holding a stop sign up for cars as they approach a construction zoneWhen drivers approach a roadway work zone at high speeds, they put the lives of work-zone flaggers at risk. To keep flaggers safe on the job, U of M researchers are looking for better ways to capture drivers’ attention—and compel them to slow down—as they approach flagger-controlled work zones.

Kathleen Harder, director of the Center for Design in Health, and John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, identified and tested new work-zone warning elements to more effectively capture and sustain driver attention. The project was funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board.

Posted in Construction, Safety, Traffic operations, Transportation research

Videos trace progress in traffic operations, pavement design

Photo of Traffic management systemLast month, CTS debuted two videos about the many contributions U of M researchers have made—and are still making—in traffic operations and pavement design.

The videos are one of the ways CTS is marking 30 years of transportation innovation. Our goal is to show how research progresses over time—from curiosity to discovery to innovation. The videos also show how U of M research meets the practical needs of Minnesotans in the Twin Cities metro and throughout the state.

Posted in 30th anniversary, Infrastructure, Pavements, Traffic data, Traffic operations, Transportation research

U of M researchers to tackle big transportation questions with new MnDOT, LRRB funding

U of M researchers have received funding from MnDOT’s Transportation Research Innovation Group and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) for 15 new projects beginning this summer.

Researchers will tackle a number of big transportation questions: How should our transportation agencies prepare for connected vehicle technology? Are unseen factors affecting safety at rural intersections? Can Twin Cities roadsides be used to grow habitat for endangered bumble bees?

Posted in Bridges and structures, Infrastructure, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Maintenance, Pavements, Pedestrian, Safety, Technology, Traffic operations, Transportation research, Urban transportation

New resource on multilane roundabouts: reducing violations and crashes

Cover of LRRB roudnabout brochureWhile multilane roundabouts almost always reduce fatal and severe crashes, failure to yield and improper lane-use violations can lead to a higher number of minor crashes. To better understand and address these violations at multilane roundabouts, U of M researcher John Hourdos has conducted two studies funded by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB).

A new LRRB brochure summarizes findings from these studies and offers highlights of local agency experience to date.

Posted in Safety, Traffic operations, Transportation research

Improving safety of two-lane roundabouts

roundaboutWhile two-lane roundabouts almost always reduce fatal and severe crashes, they can also lead to a substantial increase in minor crashes. To help combat this problem, researchers with the Roadway Safety Institute are investigating solutions for reducing crashes at two-lane urban roundabouts.

The research, funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, began in 2011 with a troublesome two-lane roundabout in Richfield, Minnesota. Following the roundabout’s construction, the number of property-damage crashes increased substantially at the site. Experts at the Minnesota Traffic Observatory (MTO) were brought in to make improvements and gauge their effectiveness with a before-and-after study.

Posted in Safety, Traffic operations, Transportation research

New instructional video: spreadsheet tool for flashing yellow arrows

33705 A new instructional video guides practitioners through the use of a spreadsheet tool that can help determine when it’s safe to use flashing yellow arrows for permitted left turns.

Traffic engineers can use the spreadsheet tool to determine at which times of day crash risk is sufficiently low to allow flashing yellow arrows to be implemented safely at a specific intersection. The tool was developed as part of a project sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board and led by Gary Davis, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering at the U of M.

Posted in Safety, Traffic operations, Transportation research

Online game Gridlock Buster has a new look

gridlockGridlock Buster, an online traffic control game that teaches middle and high school students about traffic control, has a new look.

The newly redesigned game features updated, more user-friendly graphics and can now be played on tablets and mobile devices.

Gridlock Buster incorporates tools and ideas used by traffic control engineers in their daily work to teach students what it’s like to manage traffic flow. Players work their way through progressively more challenging levels, learning how to control traffic signals and ensuring that delays don’t get out of hand.

Posted in Education, Technology, Traffic operations
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