Assessing Culvert Designs for Aquatic Wildlife Capabilities and Future Resiliency

Culverts that influence the speed, depth or flow of a natural waterway can have a detrimental impact on fish populations. By assessing sites across the state, MnDOT sought to identify the effects the culverts have on aquatic wildlife currently and project what potential flooding and drought scenarios could mean in the future. 

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Quantifying the Benefits of Improved Compaction

Compaction is the final and most critical step in asphalt pavement construction. National research conducted several years ago indicated that a slightly more compact pavement than typical could help roads last longer. To understand the relationship between pavement density and long-term performance, MnDOT has built a database with performance data from samples collected soon after they were constructed more than a decade ago. The agency hopes to eventually have enough data to determine the right amount of compaction. 

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State Research Program Funds Projects to Address Transportation Challenges

From a competitive pool of over 75 proposals, MnDOT and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board have funded 25 new research projects and are seeking volunteers to serve as Technical Advisory Panel members and help guide the research.

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Innovative Additions Could Help Asphalt Pavements Sense Damage—and Repair Themselves

This article was originally published in Catalyst, January 2022.

University researchers are investigating ways to extend the life of asphalt pavements and generate cost savings by adding innovative materials to asphalt mixes. In a recent study, they found that improving asphalt mixes with graphite nanoplatelets and taconite concentrates offers new possibilities for enhancing damage-detection techniques and restoring subsurface cracking using microwave energy.

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Model Helps Predict Likelihood of Farm Vehicle Crashes on Public Roads

This article was originally published in Catalyst, January 2022.

A U of M study of farm vehicle safety on rural roads identified factors—such as crop type and number of vehicles operated—that can help predict the likelihood of a farm’s vehicles being involved in a crash on a public road.

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Property Values Remain Stable after Opening of Twin Cities Bus Rapid Transit Line

This article was originally published in Catalyst, January 2022.

Arterial bus rapid transit (BRT) has gained momentum in the Twin Cities as a less-expensive alternative to light-rail transit. However, this expansion of BRT has also raised concerns that the new lines will spur an increase in housing values and neighborhood gentrification, potentially displacing low-income residents. A new study eases these concerns: It found that the A Line BRT route encouraged ridership but had no effect on housing values.

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New Project: Identifying Deer-Vehicle Collision Concentrations in Minnesota

Deer-vehicle collisions are a significant risk to public safety on Minnesota roads—causing injuries and death for humans and animals, and property damage. Minnesota ranks among the top 10 riskiest states for deer-vehicle collisions in the nation.

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New Project: Designing An Autonomous Service to Cover Transit Last Mile in Low-Density Areas

Public transportation provides a safe, convenient, affordable, and eco‐friendly mobility service. However, due to its fixed routes and limited network coverage, it is sometimes difficult or impossible for passengers to walk from a transit stop to their destination. This inaccessibility problem is also known as the “transit last mile connectivity problem”.

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