Spotlight: Research Outcomes

From 2018 CTS Annual Report

Testbed for connected vehicles

Traffic camera overlooking I-94 in Minneapolis

Researchers transformed a high-crash stretch of interstate in Minneapolis into a testbed for connected vehicles. The close-to-campus testbed has high-resolution radar sensors covering two-thirds of a mile on I-94. The sensors give nearly continuous coverage of the trajectories of 85,000 vehicles a day, while cameras provide real-time verification of that information. The data-collection infrastructure is supported by a comprehensive data warehousing and dissemination software architecture. Lead researcher: John Hourdos, Minnesota Traffic Observatory. Sponsors: USDOT’s Roadway Safety Institute, MnDOT.

Learn more: Freeway laboratory aids development of connected vehicles, improves traffic safety, CTS Catalyst, June 2018

Bus operator scheduling tool

Metro Transit bus driver in front of bus

As part of a multiyear partnership, researchers developed a tool that aims to help Metro Transit schedule and manage its bus operator workforce. The tool recommends how many reserve operators are needed for the next day’s service; the goal is to balance the number of reserves with the number of regular operators who are asked to work overtime. Lead researchers: Qie He and Diwakar Gupta, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Sponsors: U of M Office of the Vice President for Research, Metro Transit.

Learn more: New tool to help Metro Transit schedule drivers, optimize workforce planning, CTS Catalyst, July 2018

App for high-risk rural curves

A new system uses a smartphone app to warn drivers of high-risk curves. The system uses in-vehicle technology to display dynamic curve-speed warnings to the driver based on the driver’s real-time behavior and position relative to the curve. Lead researchers: Brian Davis, Department of Mechanical Engineering; Nichole Morris, HumanFIRST Lab. Sponsors: Minnesota Local Road Research Board, MnDOT.

Learn more: System uses smartphone app to warn drivers of high-risk curves, CTS Catalyst, May 2018

Smartphone app for collecting trip data

Daynamica™, a smartphone app designed to log activities and trips, was patented. The app makes it easier and less costly to collect travel behavior information and provides richer, more accurate data than traditional methods. A start-up company was launched to commercialize the app. Lead researchers: Yingling Fan, Humphrey School of Public Affairs; Julian Wolfson, School of Public Health; Gediminas Adomavicius, Carlson School of Management. Sponsors: USDOT, CTS.

Learn more: Daynamica app receives patent, CTS Catalyst, Nov. 2017

Job accessibility data and analysis

Bus in downtownPhoto: Metro Transit

The University’s Accessibility Observatory published reports illustrating the accessibility to jobs by transit and by auto in U.S. cities. The DOTs in Florida, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are using Observatory data for their planning. Lead researcher: Andrew Owen, Accessibility Observatory. Sponsor: National Accessibility Evaluation Pooled-Fund Study.

Learn more:

Pavement design package

Crew laying pavement using geo-grid

A series of research projects under way since the early 2000s culminated in a pavement design package that allows for the improved use of geogrid. This work— which will enable cities, counties, and the state to build more financially effective roadways—was honored with the 2018 CTS Research Partnership Award. Lead researchers: Kimberly Hill, Lev Khazanovich, Danielle Tan, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering; Satish Gupta, Andry Ranaivoson, Amanjot Singh, Department of Soil, Water, Climate. Sponsors: MnDOT, Minnesota Local Road Research Board, private sector.

Learn more: Pavement design projects honored with partnership award, CTS Catalyst, March 2018

Healthy roadside turfgrass

Keeping Minnesota’s roadsides green is about more than just aesthetics—healthy turfgrass can improve water quality, reduce erosion and road noise, and provide animal habitat. However, harsh conditions such as heat, drought, and salt use can make it difficult for roadside turfgrass to thrive. Researchers developed best management practices for installing and establishing a salt-tolerant turfgrass mixture they developed in previous research. Lead researcher: Eric Watkins, Department of Horticulture. Sponsor: Minnesota Local Road Research Board.

Learn more: New recommendations aim to help turfgrass thrive on Minnesota roadsides, CTS Catalyst, Sept. 2017

The best pothole patch for cold climates

Choosing the best or most cost-effective pothole repair method is complicated. Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of different methods in a cold climate based on durability, road safety, ride quality, and driver satisfaction. They then developed decision trees and guidelines for road crews. Lead researcher: Manik Barman, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota Duluth. Sponsor: MnDOT.

Learn more: New guide helps road crews choose the best pothole patch, CTS Catalyst, Jan. 2018

More-efficient engines

The Thomas E. Murphy Engine Research Laboratory received $1.4 million to research ways to boost the energy efficiency of cloud-connected delivery vehicles. As part of the project, researchers are partnering with UPS and an electric vehicle manufacturing company to improve the energy efficiency of medium-duty delivery vehicles. Lead researcher: Will Northrop, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy.

Learn more: Engines lab receives $1.4 million to improve delivery vehicle energy efficiency, CTS Catalyst, Oct. 2017

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