How Did COVID-19 Affect Driver Safety?

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in fewer drivers on Minnesota’s roads in 2020 than in the previous year. Emptier roadways seem like they should be safer, but many states measured increases in speeding. For example, California issued twice as many speeding tickets, Iowa reported a 65% increase in driving 25 mph or more over the speed limit, and Ohio experienced the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2007. Clearly, some drivers were taking advantage of empty streets to speed. The pandemic also strained police forces, resulting in less enforcement.

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Research Pays Off Webinar Series: Improve Material Inputs into Mechanistic Design Properties for Reclaimed HMA Roadways 

The National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) is hosting “Improve Material Inputs into Mechanistic Design Properties for Reclaimed HMA Roadways ” on December 21 at 10 a.m. CST, presented by Bora Cetin, Bora Cetin.

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Evaluating Improved Specifications for Retightening Anchor Rods on Support Poles

In this follow-up study, researchers checked the effectiveness of revised specifications for tightening anchor rods on sign and signal support poles. The revised specifications will ensure correct tightening procedures, which will result in better installations and maintenance.

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Affordable Lane-Departure Warning System is on the Road to Market Readiness

This article was originally published in Catalyst, November 2021.

With the improvements made to their lane-departure warning system, U of M researchers are one step closer to preventing highway crashes and deaths. In a recent project, the research team enhanced its lane-departure warning system, which uses standard GPS data rather than expensive cameras or maps—moving toward an affordable, market-ready product to warn drivers about dangerous lane drift due to drowsiness or inattention.

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Researchers Study Impact of Transitways on Nearby Roads, Park-and-Ride Choices

This article was originally published in Catalyst, November 2021.

How does a transitway affect automobile traffic on nearby roadways? What factors influence which park-and-ride facilities people choose? These two questions were the focus of a recent two-part project by U of M researchers.

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New Approach Helps Estimate COVID Exposure Risk for Trail Users

This article was originally published in Catalyst, November 2021.

As gyms and indoor health facilities closed during the beginning of the pandemic, people flocked to trails and parks, creating both opportunities and concerns for public health and land managers. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a six-foot distance between people (even outdoors), but little was known about compliance with these recommendations.

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Using Noise Barriers and Snow Fencing to Capture Solar Energy

During the past decade, MnDOT has been developing solar projects and actively pursuing cost-effective energy-efficiency measures. Among the potentially effective innovations the agency has considered is adding solar panels to noise barriers and snow fences, transforming these single-function installations to multifunction installations. The electricity generated from this practice could offset installation costs and eventually generate revenue for other purposes. 

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New Resource for Manhole and Catch Basin Installation

Finding resources that address manhole and catch basin issues occurring in Minnesota can be challenging. In a recent project, researchers surveyed 83 municipalities and interviewed other engineers and product representatives to gather data about manhole and catch basin installation and maintenance practices. The resulting report provides current information for municipal engineers about these essential installations.

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Research Pays Off Webinar Series: Improve Material Inputs into Mechanistic Design Properties for Reclaimed HMA Roadways

The National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) is hosting “Improve Material Inputs into Mechanistic Design Properties for Reclaimed HMA Roadways” on November 16 at 10 a.m. CST, presented by Bora Cetin, Michigan State University.

Continue reading Research Pays Off Webinar Series: Improve Material Inputs into Mechanistic Design Properties for Reclaimed HMA Roadways

Minnesota's transportation research blog