Category Archives: Environment

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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Expanding Alternative Snow Control Through Landowner Engagement

Some rural landowners maintain snow fences to prevent blowing snow from reaching highways, decreasing the resources MnDOT spends on winter maintenance. A recent project provided new information and updated tools to encourage more landowners to adopt this alternative snow control method.

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Pond Maintenance Strategies to Retain Phosphorus

Cities and counties depend on stormwater retention ponds to protect water quality in lakes and streams. New research sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board has identified cost-effective methods for ensuring pollutants remain in pond sediment and are not released into other bodies of water.

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Developing Transportation Systems Climate Resilience Performance Measures

Climate change is exacerbating weather-related impacts on the transportation system. As floods, droughts, wildfires and other extreme weather events become more common and destructive, transportation infrastructure will need to adapt to become more resilient.

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Researcher Charts Path for Greater use of Electric Freight Vehicles in Minnesota

This article was originally published in Catalyst, May 2022.

In Minnesota, trucking produces about 13 percent of the total pollutants in the state. Moreover, a 2019 EPA report identified the transportation sector as the source of the highest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, a problem compounded by the fact that this pollution is more concentrated in urban areas.

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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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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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New Project: Identifying Deer-Vehicle Collision Concentrations in Minnesota

Deer-vehicle collisions are a significant risk to public safety on Minnesota roads—causing injuries and death for humans and animals, and property damage. Minnesota ranks among the top 10 riskiest states for deer-vehicle collisions in the nation.

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