January 2013 Catalyst

January 2013
Highly obese commercial truck drivers have a much higher crash rate in their first two years on the job than their normal-weight counterparts, according to research from the University of Minnesota Morris. The findings come from a multi-year study led by Stephen Burks, an associate professor of economics and management at Morris and a former truck driver.
In recent years, transportation authorities have grown more concerned about damage to local roads and bridges caused by an increase in larger, heavier vehicle traffic. But monitoring this traffic can be difficult, especially in rural areas. To help protect local roads from overweight vehicles, University of Minnesota Duluth electrical engineering professor Taek Kwon has developed a portable weigh-in-motion (WIM) system. It can be reused in multiple locations for a fraction of the cost of a permanent WIM system.
What do recent catastrophic events—such as the I-35W bridge collapse, hurricane flooding, and Wall Street investment bank failures—have in common? They all stem from what Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design, calls fracture-critical design. In his new book, Designing to Avoid Disaster: The Nature of Fracture Critical Design, Fisher discusses the context and cultural assumptions that have led to a number of disasters worldwide and suggests how to avoid future disasters.
CTS culminated its 25th anniversary celebration with a look at the road ahead in a November luncheon presentation by futurist Frank A. Stasiowski, president and founder of PSMJ Resources. Stasiowski described trends that could define the next decade and have a direct impact on transportation. He shared three major predictions for 2020: World economic growth will come back stronger than expected; the expected massive wave of retirees may not be so big after all; and natural resources—water, petroleum, food, metals, clean air—all will become scarce.
Publication Credits 

Publisher/DirectorLaurie McGinnis

Managing EditorPamela Snopl

EditorsChristine Anderson, Amy Friebe, Michael McCarthy

DesignerCadie Adhikary

Student InternsKristin Havercamp, Nicola Losik