February 2015 Catalyst

February 2015
Something unprecedented has happened to Americans’ travel patterns. Even before the recent recession, total distance traveled per person had started to decline, and the rate of total vehicle travel had begun to steadily decrease as well. In a new five-part series of research reports sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Council, U of M researchers are delving into data from more than four decades of travel behavior surveys to enable the region’s transportation planners to better understand how its residents make decisions about whether, when, where, and why to travel.
Reducing carbon emissions has become a growing concern for governments and companies worldwide. Most of the carbon-cutting measures taken by companies have focused on often-costly strategies such as replacing equipment, redesigning products and packaging, finding less-polluting sources of energy, or instituting energy-savings programs. Through the development and use of updated models, U of M researchers have found that firms could effectively reduce their carbon emissions without significantly increasing their costs by making only operational adjustments and by collaborating with other members of their supply chain.
Professor Greg Lindsey was recently appointed as the first scholar-in-residence at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Lindsey, who is spending his sabbatical from the U of M’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs on bicycle and pedestrian counting research projects, will be working in the MnDOT Office of Transit’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Section until June 2016. Lindsey will help MnDOT develop a district-based plan for permanent and long-term bicycle and pedestrian monitoring.
In recent years, many metropolitan-area highway systems have created high-occupancy toll lanes. Typically, the use of these lanes is restricted during peak periods to carpools and those paying a toll for access, which commonly requires enrollment in an electronic tolling program. To better understand why drivers enroll in Minnesota’s MnPASS electronic tolling system, University of Minnesota researchers investigated the factors that drive subscriptions. Their findings indicate that households are more likely to have MnPASS subscriptions in areas where the MnPASS system provides a greater increase in accessibility to jobs.
Publication Credits 

Publisher/Director: Laurie McGinnis
Managing Editor: Pamela Snopl
Editors: Christine Anderson, Amy Friebe, Michael McCarthy
Designer: Angela Kronebusch
Freelance Writer: Megan Tsai