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.

Continue reading New Project: Have Minnesota’s Warmer Winters Increased the Number of Freeze Thaw Cycles?

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.

Continue reading How Well Do Stop Lines Work as a Safety Feature?

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. 

Continue reading Evaluating the Use of Hybrid Vehicles in Municipal Fleets

Monitoring System Provides Decade of Data From I-35W Bridge

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2020.

On August 1, 2007, the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge collapsed in Minneapolis. Its replacement, open to traffic just over a year later, was instrumented with more than 500 sensors to record the new structure’s behavior and evaluate the effectiveness of different monitoring strategies. A 10-year review of the bridge’s monitoring system is now available from U of M researchers.

Continue reading Monitoring System Provides Decade of Data From I-35W Bridge

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.

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

Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Tradeoffs and Maintenance

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2020.

Using “green” infrastructure is a useful strategy for handling city stormwater, which may contain deicers and other contaminants from streets and sidewalks. Choosing the right method and ensuring it doesn’t cause unforeseen damage, however, is another matter. 

Continue reading Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Tradeoffs and Maintenance

Link Between Air Quality, Happiness Could Guide Infrastructure Decisions

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2020.

By connecting measures of happiness to transportation, researchers are developing new metrics that can help cities prioritize infrastructure investments. In a new study, a research team that included Humphrey School of Public Affairs professor Yingling Fan found that air quality appears to be linked with a variety of emotional well-being (EWB) outcomes.

Continue reading Link Between Air Quality, Happiness Could Guide Infrastructure Decisions

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.

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

Minnesota's transportation research blog