Catalyst May 2014

May 2014
Despite their more similar roles at work and home than ever before, U.S. men and women continue to have different travel behavior. Historically, employed men have spent more time traveling to work and less time on household and family support trips than women. While this difference is well-documented, explanations for the difference vary widely, and few studies have tested their validity based on evidence. U of M researchers set out to examine the theories more deeply and found that parenthood—not gender alone—is a significant factor in the behavioral differences
Biking and walking have increased significantly in the Twin Cities metro area during the past decade, and these activities are catching fire statewide. U of M researchers have partnered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Department of Health, and several other state and local agencies to develop general guidance and consistent methods for counting all these bicyclists and pedestrians in Minnesota. Their work was honored with the 2014 CTS Research Partnership Award.
Self-driving vehicles will be on the road sooner than you think—and their presence could spark widespread and transformative changes. For example, hyperlinked self-driving vehicles would be able to follow each other closely on narrower lanes—enabling changes to long-standing roadway designs and increasing capacity. Other impacts could increase travel, as the elderly, people with disabilities, and children would gain mobility. Minnesota liability law may also need attention. Two U of M researchers gave a glimpse of these issues in a session at Minnesota’s Transportation Conference.
When it comes to crashes, right-angle collisions are among the most dangerous for vehicle occupants. Because these crashes often occur at stop-controlled intersections when drivers fail to stop, traffic engineers are increasingly installing flashing LED stop signs—normal octagonal stop signs with flashing lights mounted on the corners—in an attempt to improve safety at these intersections. A study by researchers from the U’s civil engineering department and Minnesota Traffic Observatory aims to give traffic engineers a clearer picture of the safety benefits of these flashing LED stop signs.
Publication Credits 

Publisher/Director: Laurie McGinnis
Managing Editor: Pamela Snopl
Editors: Christine Anderson, Amy Friebe, Michael McCarthy
Designers: Cadie Adhikary, Todd Spichke
Student Intern: Lexi Gusso
Freelance Writer: Megan Tsai