Category Archives: Traffic and Safety

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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New Project: Driver Comprehension of Flashing Yellow Arrows

Flashing yellow arrow indicators have been deployed at many signalized intersections in recent years to control left-turn movements and improve traffic flow.

When illuminated, the flashing yellow arrow allows waiting motorists to make a left-hand turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. 

The Federal Highway Administration considers flashing yellow arrows to be a significant safety improvement over traditional yield-on-green indicators, which are believed to be less intuitive. However, motorist complaints and some high-profile crashes indicate that there is still some level of driver confusion.  

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Wind Impact and Breakaway Performance of Roadside Message and Conflict Warning Signs

Roadside dynamic message signs with breakaway components handle wind-induced vibrations adequately for an almost 24-year fatigue life. Rural intersection conflict warning signs vibrate noticeably under wind forces and require design changes to resist fatigue damage.

These are the results of a new research study sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation that investigated the effects of wind loading on roadside message and conflict warning signs.

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Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Minnesota’s Traffic and Transit Networks

The five CTS councils are holding this special webinar to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting traffic and transit networks in Minnesota. The webinar will feature representatives from Minnesota transportation agencies sharing what they’re seeing in the Twin Cities metro and statewide, presentations from University of Minnesota researchers, and time for an audience Q&A.

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