All posts by mndotresearch

Reusing Local Byproducts in Sustainably Designed Soils

After road construction, soil in revegetation areas must retain adequate stormwater and provide stable embankments along the road. Revegetation can be challenging due to thin topsoil, and it often requires importing healthy organic soil and exporting excess construction soil generally unsuitable for plant growth.

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Optimizing Pavement Network Maintenance

Maintaining Minnesota’s 14,000 miles of pavement is challenging, especially with the growth in traffic volume resulting in system needs that exceed available funding. New ways to characterize pavement conditions and methodologies to determine the optimal maintenance schedule for individual road segments will allow planners to optimize resources while providing the highest possible ride quality across the pavement network.

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Making Freeway Travel Times in the Twin Cities Area More Reliable

Providing consistent freeway travel times for Twin Cities area drivers requires careful traffic management and well-planned freeway projects. To effectively respond to incidents and identify the most needed renovations, MnDOT traffic managers need to know precisely where, when and why congestion is happening.

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Putting Research Into Practice: Decision-Making Tools for Roadway Management

New guidance and a process framework will help local agency engineers with varying levels of expertise and resources benefit from the experiences of their peers. Using these tools, engineers can take manageable, proactive steps to prioritize investments that maintain and preserve transportation networks. 

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New Technology and Existing Equipment Improve Statewide Vehicle Classification Counting Process

In a recent study, researchers leveraged previous MnDOT research and existing traffic monitoring infrastructure to refine inductive loop signature technology that counts and classifies vehicles. Positive results have given MnDOT a feasible and cost-effective way to collect vehicle classification data throughout the state for planning and decision-making.

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Assessing Culvert Designs for Aquatic Wildlife Capabilities and Future Resiliency

Culverts that influence the speed, depth or flow of a natural waterway can have a detrimental impact on fish populations. By assessing sites across the state, MnDOT sought to identify the effects the culverts have on aquatic wildlife currently and project what potential flooding and drought scenarios could mean in the future. 

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Quantifying the Benefits of Improved Compaction

Compaction is the final and most critical step in asphalt pavement construction. National research conducted several years ago indicated that a slightly more compact pavement than typical could help roads last longer. To understand the relationship between pavement density and long-term performance, MnDOT has built a database with performance data from samples collected soon after they were constructed more than a decade ago. The agency hopes to eventually have enough data to determine the right amount of compaction. 

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Quantifying the Effect of Geogrids in Asphalt Pavement Foundation Layers

Geogrid inserted between the layers of asphalt pavement during construction can increase the strength and durability of the finished road. To help engineers decide whether to use geogrids in road construction projects, researchers calculated just how much strength and durability geogrid material can add to an asphalt pavement and integrated the findings into MnDOT’s design software.

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Innovative Materials and Technologies for Sustainable Pavement Infrastructure

In search of enhanced pavement damage detection practices, researchers investigated two innovative additives to asphalt binders: graphite nanoplatelets and taconite concentrates. They also examined the ability of microwave energy to restore subsurface cracking.

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