August 2014 Catalyst

August 2014
Bicyclists across Minnesota can now plan their rides using Cyclopath, an online bicycle map and trip planner developed at the University of Minnesota. Originally launched in 2008 to serve the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, Cyclopath now includes the complete Minnesota Department of Transportation road and state trail network. A simpler version of Cyclopath is also now available as an Android app.
Delays in freight shipments caused by highway bottlenecks can harm a region’s economy and productivity. It’s no surprise, then, that freight mobility is a key concern for many major metropolitan areas—and the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area is no exception. To improve freight management planning and guide infrastructure decision making, planners at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) realized that it needed performance data specific to heavy truck traffic. To meet this information need, MnDOT funded research to integrate commercial data about heavy truck movement along the Twin Cities’ freight corridors with MnDOT’s existing data. This research offers a wealth of information to help in developing a statewide freight system plan.
In a study evaluating the safety and mobility of Minnesota’s MnPASS lanes, researchers at the U of M’s Minnesota Traffic Observatory found that facilities on I-35W and I-394 are performing equally well, in spite of their different designs. On I-394, MnPASS uses a restricted access design. Most of the MnPASS lane is separated from the general purpose lane by a double white line, and there are only specific points where a dashed line allows drivers to enter or exit. In the open design on I-35W, drivers have many more opportunities to enter the MnPASS lane, with a double white line preventing access only in limited locations.
While Minnesota has made much progress in reducing traffic fatalities, rural stop-controlled intersections remain an ongoing challenge. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) launched the Rural Intersection Conflict Warning System (RICWS) deployment project in 2012 to work toward reducing crashes at such intersections. The three-year project will deploy intersection conflict warning systems at up to 50 rural stop-controlled intersections statewide. University of Minnesota researchers recently completed an evaluation of the first installation and found the system meets MnDOT’s reliability requirements.
Publication Credits 

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