Category Archives: Policy and Planning

Freight Industry Ends Tumultuous Year With Cautious Optimism for 2021

This article was originally published in Catalyst, February 2021.

Among the attendees at the Center for Transportation Studies Freight and Logistics Symposium in December, 44 percent expected to add staff to their organization in 2021, according to a live poll conducted by keynote speaker Joe Mahon. Another 39 percent of respondents expected staffing to remain steady.

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State Legislators Hear From U Experts on Future of Post-COVID Transportation

This article was originally published in Catalyst, February 2021.

When the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control, will people return to stores in pre-COVID numbers? Will telecommuters head back to the office, by car or by bus? The answer to these questions, and many others, will have a major impact on transportation and society.

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Connected and Automated Vehicles: Mobility and Equity for Disadvantaged Communities?

This article was originally published in Catalyst, November 2020.

As momentum for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) continues to build in Minnesota, researchers in the U’s Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness (TPEC) program are working to understand how CAV technology could serve transportation-disadvantaged communities. CAVs offer the potential to provide greater mobility and equity for many people, but public engagement is essential to ensure all user needs are understood and addressed.

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New Project: Have Minnesota’s Warmer Winters Increased the Number of Freeze Thaw Cycles?

Minnesota is experiencing warmer winters and an increase in freeze-thaw events may negatively impact pavement systems. However, the impacts of these recent climate changes on freeze-thaw cycles have not been well studied.

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Evaluating the Use of Hybrid Vehicles in Municipal Fleets

The availability of hybrid electric utility vehicles expands the field of choices for a fleet manager looking to replace or expand fleets. In order to justify new vehicle purchases, fleet managers of local agencies need to determine how choices impact budgets and operations. 

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New Project: The Impact of Deferred Maintenance in Minnesota

Expenditures for maintenance are not keeping pace with the needs of the local transportation system. When local governments face fiscal stress, planned maintenance gets postponed to make funding available for other purposes. As deferred maintenance grows, the work and investments needed to bring an asset into a good condition grow too.

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New Project: Autonomous Vehicles – What Should Local Agencies Expect?

Connected Automated Vehicles (CAV) are part of tomorrow’s transportation future happening today. The evolution of vehicle technology is shifting how drivers interact with the infrastructure around them. Local agencies are beginning to respond and anticipate these changes, while CAV manufacturers request to test their vehicles on local roadways further pushing the urgency on local agencies.

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New Project: Assessing the Economic Effects of Context Sensitive Main Street Highways in Small Cities

Complete Streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation.

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Cooperative Agreements Bring Benefits and Risks for Local Governments

This article was originally published in Catalyst, July 2020.

Local government contributions for Minnesota’s roadway system have increased in recent years. This includes local spending on trunk highways—the roads under MnDOT’s jurisdiction—that are part of local transportation systems.

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Student Project Analyzes Road-Funding Tools for Small Suburban Cities

This article was originally published in Catalyst, July 2020.

The City of Ramsey is wearing down its roads faster than it can fund their maintenance and construction. In light of this, the city is investigating ways to fund road projects sustainably, and it partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) to advance the investigation.

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