Fiber-Reinforced Concrete’s Potential as a Performance Engineered Mixture

Reinforcing concrete pavement with structural fibers improves its durability and helps protect against potential faulting and cracking. MnDOT has used fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC) on some concrete bridge decks and pavements. Winter weather, freeze-thaw cycles and road salt, however, still hasten concrete deterioration. In a recent study, researchers evaluated FRC in the context of performance engineered mix design methods, giving MnDOT confidence in the parameters that FRC needs to meet to help withstand Minnesota’s harsh weather. 

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Treating Stormwater with Local By-Products Reduces Road Construction Costs, Minimizes Waste

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2022.

Ongoing research is looking into the possibility of using local industrial waste for roadside stormwater construction projects. This would help reduce material and transportation costs and put otherwise wasted materials to use.

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Teen Students Receive Immersive Transportation Education at NSTI Camp

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2022.

Ever wanted to build a model bridge with popsicle sticks, program a mobile mini-robot, or make an “asphalt” cookie? A cohort of 27 middle school and high school students did just that and more through a wide range of hands-on STEM-based activities related to the transportation field at the U of M this summer. 

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Register for the 2022 CTS Transportation Research Conference

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2022.

Register to join us at the annual CTS Transportation Research Conference, scheduled for November 3, 2022, at the Graduate Minneapolis Hotel on the east bank of the U of M’s Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis.

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Automated Vehicles Could Increase Accessibility for Twin Cities East Metro

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2022.

Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology is moving forward, with three pilot shuttle projects on tap in Minnesota this year alone. Rapid developments are leaving little time for planners and policymakers to prepare for the mainstreaming of technology and the evolution of the current transportation system—all while ensuring that transportation equity has a seat in the vehicle.

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Could remote drivers be the future of ride-hailing?

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2022.

A new technology combining nearly autonomous vehicles with remote “tele-operators” has the potential to overcome both the technological and societal hurdles posed by driverless vehicles. Ride-hailing providers will be an important application for remote-driving technology, and U of M researchers found it offers clear advantages for companies and their customers.

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Managing Building Assets With Scanning and Reality Modeling

MnDOT owns and maintains approximately 900 buildings across Minnesota, and the Building Services Section is responsible for planning repairs, renovations or expansions. Architects, engineers and other specialists involved in these activities require data regarding building and site conditions. Collecting this data is often a multidisciplinary and laborious effort that can be time-consuming and expensive. Alternative technologies, however, can gather and process large amounts of accurate information more comprehensively, safely and cost-effectively. 

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Improving Asphalt Performance and Durability With Superpave 5

Minnesota’s harsh climate requires dense, durable asphalt to avoid frequent maintenance and replacement. Asphalt mixes as designed in the laboratory, however, don’t always perform consistently in the field. A new Superpave mix shows promise for providing cost-effective, high-performing pavements for state roadways.

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Improving Road Safety and Wildlife Conservation With Barrier Fencing

Small animals crossing roads put the animals at risk and present a significant safety hazard to road users. Motorists who suddenly stop or slow to avoid small animals crossing the road can cause significant safety concerns. Motorcyclists and bicyclists risk serious injury if they swerve or hit an animal, as do pedestrians in the road trying to assist the animals. A new, cost-effective fence design was tested and shown to be effective in preventing small animal crossings, benefiting both public safety and conservation. 

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Roadside Safe Spaces for Butterflies and Bees

Pollinators such as rusty-patched bumble bees and monarch butterflies, critical to our eco-system, are at risk due to the loss of native habitat. A University of Minnesota research team, with support of MnDOT and the Local Road Research Board, studied whether restored roadsides could provide safe habitats for declining pollinator populations.

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Minnesota's transportation research blog