October 2015 Catalyst

October 2015
The Twin Cities transit system changed dramatically between 2000 and 2010: service improvements included the launch of light-rail transit and a high-frequency bus network. The changes were implemented to provide long-term, high-quality service and increase accessibility and mobility in the growing region. And according to a new U of M study, the changes are working. Researchers found that the significant transit service expansions undertaken in the region have yielded a return of increased transit use. Residents were significantly more likely to use transit in 2010 as compared with 2000—either for a particular trip or at any point during the day.
A new book by Professor David Levinson is now available on Amazon. In "The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport," Levinson and co-author Kevin J. Krizek at the University of Colorado Boulder propose that traffic—as most people have come to know it—is ending, and explain why. The authors discuss large-scale trends that are revolutionizing the transport landscape: electrification, automation, the sharing economy, and big data. The final chapters offer strategies to shape the future of infrastructure needs and priorities. The authors aim for a quick read—and encourage readers to think outside their immediate realm.
Being able to accurately and reliably estimate traffic conditions during snow events is critically important to transportation agencies. Typically, state DOTs use measurements such as “time to bare pavement” to gauge the progress of snow operations. These estimates are limited, however, by the subjectivity and inconsistency of visual inspection of plow drivers. Now, new research aims to take the guesswork out of measuring winter operations. Researchers developed a prototype process that uses data on traffic speed, flow, and density collected by loop detectors to estimate the point at which traffic patterns return to normal—an indicator that the roadway surface has “recovered.”
Hundreds of U of M students will gain real-world experience while helping Carver County meet its sustainability goals under this year’s Resilient Communities Project. RCP is an initiative supported by the U’s Center for Urban Regional Affairs that organizes yearlong partnerships between the University and Minnesota communities, matching graduate and undergraduate students to sustainability-related projects identified by the chosen community. The program previously has partnered with Minnetonka, North St. Paul, and Rosemount.
Publication Credits 

Publisher/Director: Laurie McGinnis
Catalyst Editors: Pamela Snopl, Christine Anderson
Contributing Editors: Amy Friebe, Michael McCarthy
Designer: Angela Kronebusch
Freelance Writer: Megan Tsai
Student Intern: Lexi Gusso, Ari Newman