October 2013 Catalyst

October 2013
In a national competition held by the U.S. Department of Transportation, CTS has been selected to lead a new $10.4 million regional University Transportation Center consortium focused on improving transportation safety. The new Region 5 Center for Roadway Safety Solutions will be a regional focal point for transportation safety research, education, and technology transfer initiatives. The region includes Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The two-year consortium will focus its research on regional issues related to high-risk road users and systematic safety improvements.
Nearly all corn-based ethanol produced in the United States is anhydrous, meaning that it contains less than a half percent water by volume. However, the distillation and drying processes required to remove the water from ethanol consume a great deal of energy. Researchers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering are investigating a more efficient alternative: the use of hydrous, or wet, ethanol, which contains more water. Not only does hydrous ethanol require less energy to produce, but it can also result in reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides and soot when used in diesel engines. In two projects examining the use of hydrous ethanol, the researchers are exploring diesel engine systems that would need to be implemented by original equipment manufacturers and potential aftermarket systems.
What does the future hold for transportation? University of Minnesota civil engineering professor David Levinson shared his thoughts as part of a panel of transportation experts in a series of videos from The Week magazine. Highlights from Levinson’s predictions include improved accessibility, more real-time transportation data, and cleaner cities.
Many crashes in work zones happen when drivers disregard or don’t notice traffic warning and control devices as they approach and enter a work zone. This can be especially dangerous for work-zone flag operators—drivers may not notice them until it is too late to stop safely. To help reduce these dangerous situations, researchers from the U of M have developed the Intelligent Drum Line system prototype. The portable, dynamic system provides visual and auditory warnings to drivers who may have ignored or missed previous warning devices and pose a danger to the work-zone crew.
Publication Credits 

Publisher/Director: Laurie McGinnis

Managing Editor: Pamela Snopl

Editors: Christine Anderson, Amy Friebe, Michael McCarthy

Designer: Cadie Adhikary

Student Intern: Nicola Harger