Summer’s here. You’ve probably seen more people out on their bikes lately, and if you think you’ve seen more men than women, you’re right. Cycling is a gendered activity. Dr. Jennifer Dill, an international authority on the gender gap in bicycling, has shown that “women are far less likely to bicycle for transportation than men,” and she cites concerns about safety as a major reason for this disparity. Recent research here at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs shows that women have real reason to be concerned.
Nichole Morris is a student of the streets—or, more precisely, an adjunct professor. On the day we call, the director of the U of M’s HumanFIRST Laboratory is out of the office, conducting pedestrian field research. On this day, her team is studying how drivers react to people in crosswalks and intersections by walking them and trying not to get creamed, but paying especially close attention to when they almost do. One of the biggest threats to their safety? Distraction, one would think.
Like other cities across the country, Minneapolis knows it has to address the impact of fast-changing mobility tech. Ride hailing, shared scooter and bike services, transportation apps. And as its population continues to grow the city is working to address its most pressing community needs.... Thomas Fisher, director of the University of Minnesota’s Design Center and whose research includes urban design, believes this kind of bottom-up approach to the changing mobility landscape is essential. “The sharing economy in some ways represents a questioning of top-down expertise,” Fisher said.
How easy is it to get the places we want to go? Andrew Owen, director of the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota, gives us a new way to look at places – through the lens of accessibility. Access to jobs is one of the most widely used accessibility metrics. How many jobs can you reach in 30 minutes – by driving, transit, walking and, coming soon, by bicycling? As Andrew shares on the podcast, accessibility opens up new ways of looking at places, projects, land use policies and mode share. It’s a metric to take to neighborhood meetings or regional planning projects.
Carlton County owns and operates two airports.... The University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies Airport Economic Impact Calculator estimates the two airports combined will generate nearly $3 million and more than 35 jobs county-wide in 2019. The calculator uses economic factors like airport revenue, construction costs and the number of visitors to estimate the amount of economic activity and jobs the airport generates.
A John Deere 6400 tractor rumbled through a University of Minnesota Morris research field earlier this month pulling a chisel plow and making some history. On this tractor, the fertilizer has become the fuel. It's running on a blend of 70 percent diesel and 30 percent ammonia — and researchers hope this carbon-cutting technology will eventually become a cost-effective option for farmers. It's part of a larger effort by U of M researchers to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture. Will Northrop, director of the U of M's Thomas E.
The benefits of biking are many: it’s generally inexpensive, it’s good exercise and, according to new research from the University of Minnesota, commuting by bike makes you happier. But not everyone’s reaping those benefits to the same degree — and not just in the Twin Cities and Seattle. Gender gaps in cycling can be found across in cities around the world. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, men who work were twice as likely to commute via bike as women who work, at 1.2 percent, compared to 0.6 percent.
In Minnesota, 102 people were killed in 2016 and 2017, the most deadly two-year period in almost 20 years. The number of injuries continues to rise year to year. At the HumanFIRST laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Nichole Morris studies driver behavior with a state of the art driving simulator. She recruited four volunteers to test to see how they would react behind the wheel when facing sudden obstacles like a bicyclist darting into traffic. Every one of the test drivers hit at least one of the obstacles.
Park-and-ride facilities enable many suburban and exurban commuters in the Twin Cities metro area to reach roughly as many jobs as urban transit users, according to a first-of-its-kind study from the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota. The Observatory’s new method, just published in Transportation Research Record, incorporates park-and-ride trips into transit accessibility evaluations.
The students were among the participants in the inaugural Construction Career Day at the fairgrounds. MnDOT presented the event in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies. About 125 metro area students in grades 8-12 attended the all-day event. It was designed to expose young men and women to career opportunities in construction, with a specific focus on transportation infrastructure.
How practical are electric vehicles, really, given limits on far how they can go on a single charge, especially in Minnesota’s bitter cold winters? The short answer is that cold temperatures do degrade electric vehicles’ performance. Electric vehicles perform at their peak in temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees, when the lithium-ion battery’s power can focus on propelling the vehicle down the road and not be diverted using energy to heat or cool the cabin.
Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have become popular by offering a convenient alternative to crowded public transportation and stressful city driving. But a new study conducted in San Francisco adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the services come with a significant downside: increased traffic congestion....
Walter Q. Bear Banks, Jr., interviews Nichole Morris, director of the University of Minnesota HumanFIRST Lab and CTS Scholar, about pedestrian safety when dealing with motor vehicle traffic.
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 Truckers and 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.
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.