MnDOT’s existing and future assets will become increasingly stressed by extreme weather patterns due to climate change. Minnesota’s assets are particularly vulnerable to projected precipitation increases and larger and more frequent extreme storm events.Continue reading Webinar Recording: Extreme Flood Vulnerability Assessment Tool
This article was originally published in Catalyst, November 2021.
As gyms and indoor health facilities closed during the beginning of the pandemic, people flocked to trails and parks, creating both opportunities and concerns for public health and land managers. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a six-foot distance between people (even outdoors), but little was known about compliance with these recommendations.Continue reading New Approach Helps Estimate COVID Exposure Risk for Trail Users
Slope failures can block roads, damage pavement and cause safety hazards. They can also be costly to repair.Continue reading New Project: Proactive mapping helps MnDOT identify and respond to risk of slope failure along Minnesota highways
Although teen drivers make up a small percentage of the U.S. driving population, they are at an especially high risk of being involved in a crash. In fact, drivers between ages 16 and 19 have higher average annual crash rates than any other age group.
To help teen drivers stay safe on the road, researchers at the U of M’s HumanFIRST Laboratory have been working for nearly 10 years on the development of the Teen Driver Support System (TDSS). The smartphone-based application provides real-time, in-vehicle feedback to teens about their risky behaviors—and reports those behaviors to parents via text message if teens don’t heed the system’s warnings.
TDSS provides alerts about speed limits, upcoming curves, stop sign violations, excessive maneuvers, and seat belt use. It also prevents teens from using their phones to text or call (except 911) while driving.
The research team recently completed a 12-month field operational test of the system with funding from MnDOT. The test involved 300 newly licensed teens from 18 communities in Minnesota.
To measure the effectiveness of the TDSS on driving behavior, the teens were divided into three groups: a control group in which driving behavior was monitored but no feedback was given, a group in which the TDSS provided only in-vehicle feedback to teens, and a group with both in-vehicle and parent feedback from the TDSS.
Preliminary results show that teens in the TDSS groups engaged in less risky behavior, especially the group that included parent feedback. These teens were less likely to speed or to engage in aggressive driving.
Although these results demonstrate that the TDSS can be effective in reducing risky driving behavior in teens, Janet Creaser, HumanFIRST research fellow and a lead researcher on the project, stresses that technology is not a substitute for parent interaction.
“The whole goal of our system is to get parents talking to their teens about safe driving.” Creaser says. “And maybe, if you’re a parent getting 10 text messages a week, you’ll take your teen out and help them learn how to drive a little more safely.”
Read the full article in the November issue of Catalyst.