May 2015 Catalyst

May 2015
When we think of the cities that are “most walkable,” it’s often in terms of pedestrian networks such as sidewalks and trails. However, there’s another factor at play in determining which cities are truly most pedestrian-friendly: accessibility. In a new report in the Access Across America series from the U’s Accessibility Observatory, researchers ranked accessibility to jobs by walking in the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States.
Roadway-departure crashes are a major safety issue on both the national and state levels. Rapid advancements in vehicle technology—including systems that warn drivers when they’re leaving their lane or even take control of the vehicle—are opening up possibilities to tackle this challenge. Vehicle manufacturers, however, are unlikely to deploy these technologies widely until high-accuracy maps of lane and road boundaries are available nationwide. To help acquire this road geometry information, U of M researchers have developed and evaluated a low-cost, mobile data-collection platform.
Installing culverts is a necessary part of most transportation projects, allowing water to pass under roads and other transportation infrastructure. However, when culverts create obstacles for fish and other aquatic life, the consequences can be serious. Culverts can fragment aquatic organism populations, leaving fish vulnerable and leading to a longer-term loss of genetic diversity. A new study from the University of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory outlines new strategies for making culverts more fish-friendly.
Throughout the past decade, the popularity and importance of biking and walking have increased significantly across the nation. Pinpointing exactly how people incorporate biking and walking into their travel behavior, however, is a persistent challenge. Using data generated through detailed travel behavior inventories in the Twin Cities region, U of M researchers analyzed changes in walking and biking behavior during the past decade. One of the most important findings is that the actual bicycle mode share in the Twin Cities region is two to three times larger than reported by national data.
Publication Credits 

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