Blog Archives

National Freight Economy Atlas illustrates freight flows

freightFreight rail has a profound effect on the economic vitality and competitiveness of Minnesota and, in particular, some of its most important industries. To better understand freight flows and foster the growth of freight infrastructure, U of M researchers are creating a new online platform—the National Freight Economy Atlas.

The project is a combined effort of the U’s Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program (TPEC), Esri (a geographic information systems company), and the Center for Information Systems and Technology at Claremont Graduate University. Additional funding for the project was provided by BNSF Railway.

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Posted in Economics, Freight, Infrastructure, Planning, Technology

Smartphone app collects detailed data about travel behavior

Man on smartphoneTransportation agencies need travel behavior data to plan changes to their networks, systems, and policies. A new smartphone application developed by a U of M research team makes it easier and less costly to collect this important information and provides richer, more accurate data than traditional methods.

The Daynamica open-source app provides an efficient approach for collecting and processing data for driving, walking, biking or taking transit. It combines smartphone GPS sensing with statistical and machine-learning techniques to detect, identify, and summarize daily activity and travel episodes. The app then allows users to view and annotate information at their convenience.

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Posted in Planning, Technology, Traffic data, Travel Behavior

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
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