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Is there safety in numbers for bicycles in Minneapolis?

bicyclist in MinneapolisIn observance of National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week 2017, Brendan Murphy of the U of M’s Accessibility Observatory shares his work on bicyclist safety in Minneapolis in this guest post.

More people are biking or walking to work in North American cities each year, including here in the Twin Cities. With increased biking and walking, more opportunities for conflict with cars exist, and the safety of our more vulnerable road users becomes an increasingly important consideration.

The goal of this study, funded by the Roadway Safety Institute, was to attempt to predict crash rates between cars and bicycles at street intersections in Minneapolis—based on car and bike traffic levels—and then assess whether areas of the city exist that have much higher per-bicyclist crash rates.

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Posted in Bicycling, Safety, Transportation research

Does the variable speed limit system on I-94 reduce crashes?

Two years ago, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) installed a series of electronic speed limit advisory signs over I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul. The variable speed limit (VSL) system is designed to reduce congestion and help prevent crashes by recommending lower speed limits to drivers during periods of high traffic.

Although the verdict on the system’s effects on I-94 congestion is still pending, a recent study by researchers at the U of M’s Minnesota Traffic Observatory found that the VSL system has not made a measurable impact on crashes in a crash-prone stretch of freeway in downtown Minneapolis.

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Posted in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Safety, Technology, Traffic operations, Transportation research, Uncategorized, Urban transportation

Technology shows promise in reducing rural intersection collisions

Warning sign While Minnesota has made much progress in reducing traffic fatalities, rural stop-controlled intersections remain an ongoing challenge. The Minnesota Department of Transportation launched the Rural Intersection Conflict Warning System deployment project in 2012 to work toward reducing crashes at such intersections.

The three-year project will deploy intersection conflict warning systems at up to 50 rural stop-controlled intersections statewide.

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Posted in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Rural transportation, Safety, Technology, Transportation research
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