The Truckers & Turnover Project, led by Stephen Burks, with the University of Minnesota Morris, has earned the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies 2019 Robert C. Johns Research Partnership Award for researching commercial drivers and untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In the study, the research team identified that non-adherent drivers had a preventable crash-risk five times higher than those who treated their OSA.
State Rep. Raymond Dehn has introduced a bill authorizing MnDOT to study phasing in a mileage tax, also known as a mileage-based user fee, as a replacement for traditional fuel taxes. It’s a way of charging people for using the roads. With the advent of hybrids and higher-mileage cars as well as electric vehicles it would give us a truer indication of the road use. Peak pricing becomes an option, as well as discounts for helping with congestion.
The recent American Coalition for Ethanol fly-in was the latest battle in a multimillion-dollar influence war between two behemoth interest groups — the corn industry and the petroleum industry. For scientists like Jason Hill, this is a conflict with no good outcome. The environmental damages caused by either gasoline or ethanol are each bad enough to warrant a new direction in renewable fuel policy, said Hill, a professor of bioproducts and biosystems engineering at the University of Minnesota. "The best gallon of fuel is the gallon you never use," he said.
As a leading expert on pavement design and maintenance, the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Manik Barman has more than a passing interest in a topic that’s causing so much angst for local motorists: potholes. Barman, an assistant professor at UMD’s Swenson College of Science and Engineering, had a big hand in developing a 2017 manual for pothole repairs on asphalt pavements, and is currently researching ways to make pavements last longer.
Improved shared transportation options and expanded transit systems are coming to the Twin Cities, according to University of Minnesota researchers. While current legislative actions support the expansion of light rail and bus rapid-transit systems, the University's Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering is looking into the impact of shared transportation. A research team is working to improve efficiency of transit, especially connecting suburban regions.
Researchers in northern Minnesota say they're closing in on what could be a new solution to a common problem on area roads and highways, especially at this time of year. Potholes. The team at the University of Minnesota Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute have been working for years on a new type of fill for the common driving hazard, said Larry Zanko, the senior research program manager. He added that their compound makes use of materials found in Minnesota's iron mining industry, including magnetite, one of the main iron ores.
Amid one of the worst pothole seasons for Duluth streets, researchers say an experimental patch mix using taconite tailings held up over the winter. Standing at the corner of Truck Center Drive and Chestnut Street Thursday morning, Larry Zanko, a senior minerals researcher with the University of Minnesota Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute, kicked and poked at several of the test patches set last summer and fall. "Overall, I'm satisfied," Zanko said.
A long winter has led to a bumpy spring. Potholes can be found on roads all across the state. But researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth have come up with a longer-lasting method to patching up potholes and they're encouraged by recent results. Larry Zanko, senior research program manager at UMD's Natural Resources Research Institute, said the rapid patching material is made up of mostly taconite tailings. Zanko described it as "iron cement."
This winter had historic records of snowfall and cold temperatures. Besides causing ice dams, the winter weather took a toll on Minnesota roadways, which motorists are experiencing with potholes. University of Minnesota expert Manik Barman is available for comment on why there appears to be more potholes this year and how maintenance crews can determine the best way to patch each pothole.
Faced with languishing ridership, Metro Transit is cleaning up its trains, adding more police on the light-rail lines and improving its technology to make riding the bus more reliable. In addition, the transit agency said its new plan to improve service quality includes investing in promising new bus routes and launching an anti-harassment campaign rewarding passengers who exhibit “positive behavior.” ... “Mass transit needs the mass to be successful,” said Yingling Fan, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Duke University may have dealt the final blow to Durham’s $3-billion light rail plans when it refused to enter into mediation with transit leaders last week, citing a “lack of workable solutions.” But recent history in other cities with light rail lines near university research centers shows there is a simple workable solution to this problem.
Arizona prosecutors said Tuesday that they had not found evidence to charge Uber with a crime in connection with an accident in which one of its autonomous cars hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe a year ago. The crash raised questions about the safety of the technology as well as the comprehensiveness of the rules governing it. Few such federal or state rules exist. “It’s not very well trod at all,” said Frank Douma, a research scholar at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies.
The sharing economy is becoming mainstream with the anticipated stock listings from services such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb, signs that the trend is gaining momentum and impacting multiple sectors. The IPOs suggest that the sharing economy is ready for prime time, said Saif Benjaafar, director of the University of Minnesota's Initiative on the Sharing Economy. Benjaafar noted that Uber and Lyft have piled up huge losses while Airbnb has been profitable, they revolve around the same concept. Yahoo News!
Frank Douma and Erin Petersen came to Fergus Falls Monday selling an idea for an idea. Representing the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the pair gave a power point presentation before members of the Fergus Falls City Council with the not-so-succinct title "Planning for an Autonomous Vehicle Demonstration."
News video from The Weather Channel, featuring Dan Gullickson of MnDOT on the uses and benefits of snow fences in Minnesota.
A recent study found that pedestrian safety is a critical but underrecognized issue on reservations, with residents who walk to get to their destinations at a greater risk of getting struck by a car than those living in other rural Minnesota communities. Kathy Quick, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and anthropologist Guillermo Narváez spent four years analyzing national transportation safety data and interviewing residents on four of the state’s 11 reservations — Leech Lake, Red Lake, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs.
University researchers are using smartphone technology to automatically collect travel behavior data and provide recommendations for alternative transportation methods. They hope the app influences drivers to take more sustainable methods of transportation. "Our idea is that if we can shift people who drive cars towards autonomy transportation, such as biking, busing and walking, then potentially we can manage travel demand," said Yingling Fan, principal investigator for the research.
In October, the U received a three-year $1.75 million Smart and Connected Communities grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the potential impact of driverless cars and trucks on communities. The U’s initiative is one of 13 nationwide to receive the award. The faculty involved in the AV project, nearly all of whom are supported by endowed chairs that give them the time and latitude to dive into such timely topics, come from the Center for Transportation Studies as well as the College of Design, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and CSE, bringing a range of perspectives.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota want to know how people are going to interact with driverless automobiles. They have one of the most advanced simulators in the country to test how automation influences a driver’s behavior. The University recently got a couple of federal grants to study how the coming of autonomous vehicles is going to transform commutes and communities. Engineers at another U of M lab, are testing a sensor that’s being used to help guide automated car prototypes.
After the crops are harvested and the snow falls on the southern Minnesota fields, there is little to stop it from blowing across the landscape and onto the road, where it forms drifts and icy patches. But by working with farmers, transportation planners have found what may be the most convenient way to block more snow from reaching roads: Just leave the corn up. Several rows of cornstalks can do a decent job as sentinels, acting as a living snow fence....
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