Category Archives: Traffic and Safety

New Project: COVID-19 Impacts on Speed and Safety for Rural Roads and Work Zones

Although Minnesotans drove significantly less in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a substantial increase in fatal motor vehicle crashes.  MnDOT Traffic Safety Engineer Derek Leuer and his colleagues want to know why, particularly in rural areas where fatalities and injury rates were higher. 

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Improving Winter Road Weather Alerts on Highway Dynamic Message Signs

MnDOT maintains nearly 400 dynamic message signs (DMS) along Minnesota highways that display real-time information to warn motorists of roadway incidents, construction or congestion ahead that could pose a hazard or cause delay. DMS use to convey weather alerts has been limited to blizzards and other very isolated winter conditions. MnDOT has been concerned about the timeliness of weather messages and the chance that such messages could be overused, possibly leading motorists to take them less seriously. 

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New Project: Understanding Post-COVID Safety Concerns, Perceptions and Preferences of Transit and Shared Mobility Users in Minnesota

Transit ridership dropped significantly last year in Minneapolis, Duluth and other cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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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