New report highlights the state of freight in Minnesota

MFAC annual report coverThe Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee recently published its 2016 annual report on the state of freight in Minnesota.

The report examines the many ways that freight drives economic growth throughout Minnesota. Through stories and updates, it explores topics such as the network of freight modes, congestion impacts, trucking and technology advancements, next steps with the Minnesota Statewide Freight System Plan, and more.

Posted in Freight

U of M researchers join new Freight Mobility Research Institute

Trucks in highway trafficUniversity of Minnesota researchers at the Minnesota Traffic Observatory will work to improve the mobility of people and goods across the nation as part of the new Freight Mobility Research Institute, a Tier 1 University Transportation Center funded in 2016.

Led by Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the Institute will receive $1.4 million per year from the United States Department of Transportation for five years. A combined match from state and private-sector sources will bring the award to more than $10 million in total. In addition to FAU and the U of M, Institute members include the University of Florida, Portland State University, Hampton University, the University of Memphis, and Texas A&M University (College Station).

Posted in Economics, Freight, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Technology, Traffic data, Transportation research

WTS Minnesota honors CTS Scholar Cathy French, U of M students

frenchCTS scholar Cathy French and three U of M students were honored by WTS Minnesota at the organization’s 2017 Scholarships and Recognitions Luncheon on April 27.

French, a CSE Distinguished Professor in the U’s Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering, received the 2017 Woman of the Year Award. The annual award recognizes women who are outstanding role models in transportation.

U of M students Maria Wardoku, Ella Rasp, and Claire Warren received scholarships that recognize women pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in transportation-related fields.

Posted in Bridges and structures, Education, Infrastructure, Transportation research, Workforce development

May is National Bike Month

35240Today marks the start of National Bike Month, an annual celebration of bicycling sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists.

Established in 1956, National Bike Month aims to showcase the benefits of bicycling and encourage more people to hit the roads and trails on their bikes. One week of the month (May 15-19) is also designated as Bike to Work Week, highlighting the growing number of people who choose to commute by bike.

For many years, researchers at the U of M have been conducting bicycle-related studies focused on traffic, planning, safety, health, and more.

Posted in Bicycling, Transportation research

Resilient Communities Project to partner with City of Ramsey

City of RamseyLast 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.

Posted in Education, Planning, Workforce development

Volunteer driver programs at risk from changing demographics, ridesharing services

Photo of elderly person being helped into a vehicleVolunteer drivers are a key component of human services transportation in Minnesota. They provide low-cost transportation for trips ranging from non-emergency medical appointments to general errands. Most of the organizations that use volunteer drivers are located in small towns or rural areas where dedicated transit services do not exist. But changing demographics and the rise of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft could put many volunteer driving programs at risk, according to a new U of M study.

The project, funded by the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access, examined volunteer driver programs in Minnesota. The objectives were to learn which organizations use volunteer drivers, how they organize and fund their volunteer driver programs, and what challenges and barriers they face.

Posted in Accessibility (for people with disabilities), Rural transportation, Sharing economy, Transportation research

Submit a proposal to the Local OPERA Program

Lake County OPERA projectDo you work for a local transportation agency in Minnesota? Do you or your maintenance staff need funding to develop a new idea, tool, material, or process related to operations, construction, or maintenance?

The Local Operational Research Assistance (OPERA) Program is here to help! Funding for OPERA projects is now available, and it’s easy to submit a proposal. The maximum funding per project is $20,000, and submissions are due Friday, May 12, 2017.

Posted in Construction, Maintenance
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