Category Archives: Traffic and Safety

Smartphone App Gives Crossing Guidance to the Visually Impaired

In a recent research project, MnDOT sought to validate a smartphone app designed to guide pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired through signalized and unsignalized intersections. The project succeeded in showing the app’s effectiveness in tests at six intersections in Stillwater, Minnesota.

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Understanding Rural Pedestrian Travel Behavior and Safety Issues

In collaboration with the Advocacy Council for Tribal Transportation and other tribal members, University of Minnesota researchers monitored 10 roadway sites specified as safety risks for pedestrians on four rural Minnesota reservations. Analysis of videos and group brainstorming produced a shortlist of potential countermeasures that could be incorporated into future highway projects.

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New Project: Cost/Benefit Analysis of Fuel Efficient Speed Control Using Signal Phasing and Timing Data

Due to rising fuel costs and environmental impact, consumers are increasingly aware of fuel efficiency (MPG) in the vehicles they purchase, which is reflected in increasing hybrid and electric vehicle sales. A major source of fuel consumption is acceleration and deceleration cycles caused by stopping at red lights—acceleration from a full stop requires significant power.

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How Well Do Stop Lines Work as a Safety Feature?

How well do the stop lines at stop-controlled intersections actually work as a safety feature? Through an extensive safety study and a before-after field observation, a recent Minnesota Local Road Research Board study showed that the assumed safety effects of stop lines as a means of influencing driver behavior are not well supported by the evidence.

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Smartphone-Based Coaching for New Teen Drivers May Offer Long-Term Benefits

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2020.

More than five years ago, U of M researchers studied a group of new teen drivers to gauge the effects of real-time, in-vehicle coaching with their innovative Teen Driver Support System (TDSS) smartphone application. Now, a follow-up study offers new understanding about the system’s long-term effectiveness in reducing risky driving behavior.

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New Project: Taconite as a Lower Cost Alternative High Friction Surface Treatment for Low-Volume Roads in Minnesota

A northern Minnesota mining byproduct could provide a more affordable option for a highly effective, but expensive pavement safety treatment called High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST), and help expand its usage across the state.

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New Project: Refining Inductive Loop Signature Technology for Statewide Vehicle Classification Counts

With increasing traffic volumes and greater restrictions on placing road tubes to perform vehicle classification counts, it is necessary to find innovative ways to collect vehicle class data on roadways.

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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: Impact of Speed Limit Changes on Urban Streets

Speeding is one of the top 5 factors in crashes in Minnesota. Prioritizing the most effective methods to encourage safe speeds is critical to maximizing effort and funding to reach zero deaths on our roadways.

In 2019, legislation passed to allow Minnesota cities to establish speed limits for city streets under the city’s jurisdiction without conducting an engineering or traffic investigation.

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