July 2013 Catalyst

July 2013
In the world of transportation, the focus is most often on creating mobility and accessibility. But according to Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger, transportation also plays a major role in creating health. Delivering the keynote address at the 24th Annual CTS Transportation Research Conference, Ehlinger told the crowd, “Transportation is around us every day and influences everything we do, which makes it integral to creating the conditions for great health.”
From social media to intelligent transportation systems, technology is rapidly changing the transportation landscape to create “new mobility”—a trend that was the focus of Elizabeth Deakin’s luncheon presentation at the 24th Annual CTS Transportation Research Conference. “New mobility isn’t just about moving people. It is integrating new technologies and new ways of delivering sustainable transportation services that gives people access to more goods, services, and opportunities,” said Deakin, a professor of city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley.
Although active forms of travel such as bicycling and walking provide many health benefits, they may also increase travelers’ exposure to air pollution—especially in urban areas, where the air pollutants that drive health concerns are typically at their highest concentrations. To investigate the exposure of cyclists and pedestrians to these pollutants in the City of Minneapolis, researchers from the U of M’s Department of Civil Engineering are developing a block-by-block analysis of air pollution levels. This information could ultimately be used to identify high-risk locations and shape decisions about new nonmotorized infrastructure.
Between 2009 and 2011, 55 percent of Minnesota’s fatal intersection crashes occurred at rural two-way-stop intersections. In research sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, a team from the University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, working with St. Louis County, developed a low-cost dynamic warning system to improve the safety of these intersections. The ALERT System uses LED flashing signs that are activated when a vehicle is detected approaching the intersection. The system aims to help drivers determine a sufficient gap to safely complete their turn.
Publication Credits 

Publisher/Director: Laurie McGinnis

Managing Editor: Pamela Snopl

Editors: Christine Anderson, Amy Friebe, Michael McCarthy

Designer: Cadie Adhikary

Student Interns: Nicola Losik

Writer: Megan Tsai