June 2013 Catalyst

June 2013
One of Metro Transit’s new advanced “super hybrid” buses—built in Minnesota and billed as the cleanest, most efficient diesel-electric hybrid buses in the United States—garnered national attention at the American Public Transportation Association’s Bus and Paratransit Conference May 5–8 in Indianapolis. Metro Transit’s decision to purchase the two buses, which are unique because of their all-electric accessory systems, was greatly influenced by a University of Minnesota research project.
As part of a study on transportation and quality of life, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has partnered with researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Tourism Center to compare current MnDOT performance measures with quality-of-life factors that matter the most to Minnesotans. The evaluation was designed to help MnDOT ensure alignment between the factors that predict transportation satisfaction among Minnesota citizens and the indicators MnDOT uses to track and measure its performance.
Many agencies have turned to intersection conflict warning systems (ICWS) to improve safety. These systems, which give motorists real-time warnings about cross traffic, save lives at intersections that might not otherwise warrant more traditional traffic-control devices or geometric improvements. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) was recently honored by the White House for its efforts in designing, testing, and helping deploy ICWS throughout Minnesota while leading a national effort to do more of the same throughout rural America. Moving forward, MnDOT is launching a three-year rural ICWS project that will deploy one type of system at additional intersections. The first of the new installations will be evaluated by the U of M’s ITS Institute.
While the eco-friendly mantra “reduce and reuse” has been around for decades, its role in asphalt pavement rehabilitation has been discovered much more recently. In-place asphalt recycling continues to gain popularity as an effective and cost-efficient alternative to overlays or complete reconstruction. Few documented field studies have measured material performance, however, so assigning the proper design values for recycled pavements is done conservatively. To provide engineers with more guidance, the Minnesota Department of Transportation sponsored a U of M study to estimate the proper design values and assess the effects of seasonal temperature changes on these pavements.
Publication Credits 

Publisher/Director: Laurie McGinnis
Managing Editor: Pamela Snopl
Editors: Christine Anderson, Amy Friebe, Michael McCarthy
Designer: Cadie Adhikary
Student Intern: Nicola Losik
Freelance Writer: Megan Tsai