Metro Transit is cutting service, but not as fast as riders are cutting their use of the cities’ buses and rail lines. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro Transit on Wednesday will begin operating most routes at Sunday service levels.... Metro Transit relies on user fares for about a third of its revenue, which is consistent with other public transit systems across the country, said Yingling Fan, a regional planning and policy professor with the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Minneapolis and St. Paul recently lowered speed limits on their residential streets to make them safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Researchers have known for years that dropping highway speeds decreases vehicle pollution, but whether lower travel speeds in cities will bring the same result remains unclear, according to national and global reports on the impact of speed reductions.... University of Minnesota associate professor William Northrop said dropping speeds on city streets in and of itself will result in “not much of a difference” in air quality.
In a project sponsored by the Roadway Safety Institute, University of Minnesota researchers have developed a system that uses Bluetooth ‘tags’ to trigger in-vehicle audio warnings when approaching a highway workzone.... “Providing drivers with tailored in-vehicle messages before they arrive at highway workzones has the potential to save lives and prevent many injuries,” explained Chen-Fu Liao, a senior research associate at the UMN’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Keeping roads safe for drivers is a top priority for road maintenance crews. The challenge is using enough salt and sand to keep cars out of ditches, while minimizing its environmental impact. But road salt is also a harsh and permanent chemical when it reaches the freshwater environment. “Duluth’s drinking water comes from Lake Superior, so we’re potentially polluting our own drinking water with all the salt we use in the winter,” explained Chanlan Chun, the lead NRRI researcher on two road salt projects.
City planners and engineers are stumped over why so many drivers can’t handle something as simple as a roundabout. Roundabouts have proliferated around the U.S. in recent years, arriving in some areas of the Midwest and West for the first time. Yet even years after some are installed, driver confusion persists. And with confusion comes fender-benders. Authorities have boosted public education, tweaked signs and modified roadway designs in search of solutions.
Port leaders in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the busiest ports in North America, say empty cargo containers are stacking up as many factories in China remain closed or are operating at below-capacity levels as a result of the coronavirus. Alarm bells are starting to ring about the economy as the number of coronavirus cases increases domestically, even though some indicators show the economy is proving to be resilient.... University of Minnesota-Morris economics professor Stephen Burks specializes in trucking and supply chain issues.
Townhouses have the modern look of downtown lofts and touches of urban living, with front porches, alleys and sidewalks.... The suburbs have become more racially and economically diverse, with more adventurous dining and entertainment options. Commuting patterns have shifted as well; more businesses have set up shop in the suburbs near where their workers live, and more people telecommuting or managing flexible schedules mean that fewer workers make the daily rush-hour round trip to the city.
The University of Minnesota has started work on what officials call a "Super Ambulance," which they say will be the first of its kind in the country. The Super Ambulance is outfitted with virtual reality technology. Researchers believe it will help save the lives of more Minnesotans. The design team took 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS inside the official mockup Friday. "There's a 3D panoramic view from this camera here," explained John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory and research associate professor at the University's Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering Department.
There’s a tension in transportation news. On one hand, cities are eager to nudge residents away from automobiles and toward modes that pose less danger, both to people and the planet.
Minneapolis-St. Paul held at No. 13 in the 2018 national rankings of the number of jobs workers can get to using public transportation. Twin Cities workers can reach more than 18,000 jobs by train or bus in a half-hour or less and nearly 147,000 jobs in an hour or less, according to the annual survey of the 50 largest U.S. cities carried out by the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota. The Twin Cities also ranked 13th in 2016 and 2017, said study author Andrew Owen.
While debate about rising crime on the Twin Cities’ light-rail lines has emerged at the Capitol this year, there’s been little discourse about ensuring passenger safety at Green and Blue Line stations. The stops serve as entry points to a light-rail system that ferries some 25 million passengers annually. But a renewed emphasis on safety by Metro Transit and state lawmakers could have a positive spillover effect on the light rail system’s 37 stations.... Of the five stations shared by the Green and Blue lines in downtown Minneapolis, the U.S.
Annual nationwide data from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota, that measures access to jobs by transit, is guiding key transportation and land-use policy decisions. “We analyzed the accessibility performance of largest U.S. metropolitan areas,” said Andrew Owen, director of the Observatory.
A dab of taconite tailings. A soupçon of dredge sediment. A pinch of wood-processing byproducts. It's all a part of the process as NRRI researcher Marsha Patelka pursues her goal of turning waste resources into good topsoil.
De-icing salt dumped on roads, sidewalks and parking lots remains the No. 1 culprit, contributing about 42% of the chloride fouling surface waters, according to University of Minnesota research. Farm fertilizers, including manure spread on fields, are No 2. No. 3 is wastewater treatment plants and septic systems — and most of the chloride in those systems comes from the water softeners in homes and businesses.
To improve safety at highway projects across the state, researchers at the University of Minnesota (UMN) are working on a tagging and mapping system that can efficiently gather information about the layout of work zones, perform remote inspections, and disseminate warnings to drivers.
A study published by researchers at the University of Minnesota, Harvard Medical School and other institutions in October found 1,200 commercial truck drivers who participated in an employer sleep apnea screening and treatment program saved an average of $441 per month in health costs compared with drivers who were not treated. An earlier study of members of a health plan serving Union Pacific employees also found overall health savings among workers who were diagnosed with sleep apnea and got treatment.
A University of Minnesota professor is trying to re-engineer bike safety by developing a safer bike. “We’re trying to make a smart bicycle that protects itself,” said Professor Rajesh Rajamani from the U of M mechanical engineering department. The bike itself is an electric commuter bike that Professor Rajamani has equipped with sensors, microprocessors and low-density LIDAR lasers.
Sgt. Troy Christianson with the Minnesota State Patrol says you shouldn't use cruise control in the winter months, because even if you think roads aren't slippery, they can refreeze quickly. He warns when a driver's vehicle starts to slide, most react by hitting the brakes. Raj Rajamani, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota, says cruise control estimates vehicle speed based on the speed of all four wheels. "So, if there's a lot of slip going on, it won't know the speed correctly," he said.
New vehicles can come equipped with new technology aimed at making driving easier, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll make driving safer. Researchers at the University of Minnesota's HumanFirst Lab have been studying how certain new automated technology, like adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, impact the decision making of drivers. According to HumanFIRST Lab director Nichole Morris, "The risk is, [the systems] can really lull us into feeling like they can do more than what they can ... You should be driving and using the system to support you.