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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Local Guidance for Bicycle Facility Design

A quick reference guide is now available to help local agency planners and designers select the best bicycling facilities for their system. This guide walks local agencies through the selection and design process, and directs users to specific places within design manuals for details on facility questions.

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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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Low-Volume Road Runoff Analyses Suggest Optimal Treatments

Assisted by many county agency staff, researchers collected and analyzed runoff from low-volume rural roads over two years to determine how their contaminants compared to those of high-volume roadways. Results documented that runoff from low-volume roads has a lower contaminant concentration and that ditches and swales can be used to effectively treat rural road runoff.

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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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Improving Winter Maintenance: Pilot Testing New Snowplow Technologies

[Infographic] Testing Snowplow Technologies: Slurry Spreader (target direction of salt, reduce salt use, reduce corrosion on trucks), Two-Way Reversible Plow (located on side of plow, providing more mobility in plowing and directing snow), Underbody Scraper (located under plow, clears compacted snow and ice from roads), True-Float Wind (mounted on front or side of plow, providing more mobility in plowing and directing snow)

Every winter, MnDOT ensures Minnesotans can travel safely by plowing more than 30,000 lane miles with approximately 800 snowplows.

In a new research implementation project jointly funded by the Office of Research & Innovation and Office of Maintenance, MnDOT is pilot testing five new pieces of snowplow equipment: two slurry spreaders (one from Henke, one from Swenson), a two-way reversible plow, an underbody scraper and a true-float wing (all from Henke).

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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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Team Receives NSF Grant to Study ‘Smart e-Scooters’

This article was originally published in Catalyst, November 2020.

Electric scooters let riders move quickly between the roadway and the sidewalk, but these sometimes-unpredictable travel patterns can pose risk for riders and the people around them. Making scooters smarter is the goal of a new U of M research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Under the $1.2 million Cyber-Physical Systems grant, a cross-disciplinary team will study smart tracking systems on scooters for ensuring safe and smooth interaction with other vehicles and pedestrians.

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