Category Archives: Policy and Planning

New Project: Identifying and Optimizing Electric Vehicle Corridor Charging Infrastructure for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks

Transportation is the number one emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota and medium to heavy duty trucks contribute to about 40% of transportation carbon pollution.

While electric cars and buses are becoming more common, medium and heavy duty electric trucks are still in their infancy, and the nationwide infrastructure needs to support them still has to be determined.

In a new study, MnDOT will identify the electric charging infrastructure needed along Minnesota highway corridors to support clean freight transportation.

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New Project: Understanding How the Disparate Effects of COVID-19 are Affecting MnDOT’s Efforts at Equitable Contracting

MnDOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program was established by the federal government to ensure women-owned and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to participate in MnDOT contracts.

Several contracting barriers exist for DBEs, which may have been exacerbated by COVID-19, such as access to capital, a shortage of PPE materials and staffing shortfalls due to workplace risks and caregiving responsibilities. 

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New Project: Telecommuting During COVID-19: How Does It Shape the Future Workplace and Workforce?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees in both the public and private sectors have begun telecommuting. The resulting reduction in commuting hours and miles traveled on state highways has been staggering.

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Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Minnesota’s Transportation Workforce

Across the transportation industry, public and private employers are experiencing workforce shortages and an uncertain future. As older employees retire and younger workers fill their roles, organizations must naturally adjust to accommodate their changing workforce. In the transportation industry, shifting demographics have also brought new attitudes regarding technical jobs. The result is that fewer engineers and other highly skilled professionals are entering the field, and keeping those who do is becoming increasingly difficult. To address this changing landscape, transportation agencies of all sizes must be prepared to meet the challenges ahead or risk falling behind.

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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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