September 2013 Catalyst

September 2013
Participants in the 2013 Summer Transportation Internship Program gained valuable experience in the transportation industry and received a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). This year, six students participated in 10-week internships at a variety of MnDOT offices. The program was designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain professional experience and skills that will complement their academic pursuits.
To combat congestion in urban areas, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched the Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA) program in 2007. The program infused nearly $900 million into transportation-related projects in four cities nationwide, including the Twin Cities. Minnesota’s projects—which include the installation of MnPASS dynamic toll lanes and variable message signs—focused on improving traffic flow in the I-35W corridor between Minneapolis and the city’s southern suburbs. To understand the effectiveness of the measures, U of M researchers examined three separate but related areas: the effects of a new variable speed limit system, the impact of severe weather conditions on road safety, and the behavior and traffic impacts of bus rapid transit operations.
Researchers from the U of M recently developed a new version of software for the SMART Signal system, and deployments at more than 50 intersections managed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) are already under way. SMART Signal automatically collects and processes data from traffic signal controllers at multiple intersections and creates performance measures, including information on the times and locations congestion occurs on a roadway. In addition to these new implementations, a new MnDOT-funded study investigated how SMART Signal could be used as part of an integrated corridor management system.
CTS is pleased to announce a new blog—CTS Conversations—that will highlight the full spectrum of transportation research, education, and outreach at the University of Minnesota. Supplementing Catalyst, the blog will share timely updates on research publications, events, and training from CTS and its programs.
Publication Credits 

Publisher/Director: Laurie McGinnis

Managing Editor: Pamela Snopl

Editors: Christine Anderson, Amy Friebe, Michael McCarthy

Designer: Cadie Adhikary

Student Interns: Nicola Harger

Writer: Megan Tsai