September 2015 Catalyst

September 2015
Across Minnesota, local agencies need better information about where and how many people are biking and walking to make decisions about infrastructure investments, understand safety risks, and even plan active living initiatives. To help provide agencies with bicycle and pedestrian traffic data, U of M researchers have been working with MnDOT on the Minnesota Bicycle and Pedestrian Counting Initiative since 2010. Recently, the project team completed an implementation study specifically designed to engage local agencies.
Based in part on a planning study conducted by researchers at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, MnDOT is extending MnPASS Express Lanes on Interstate 35E in the northeast Twin Cities. The extension will build on the project currently adding MnPASS lanes from Cayuga Street to Little Canada Road. The study examined the feasibility of extending these MnPASS lanes from Little Canada Road north to County Road 96. During peak periods, MnPASS lanes provide a congestion-free option to transit vehicles, carpools, and motorcycles at no cost—and to single-occupant vehicles for a fee.
The potential of telecommuting to alter travel patterns—and even mitigate congestion during peak hours—has sparked interest among transportation planners. Despite this potential, however, the actual impact of telecommuting on traffic has remained an open question. In a recent study, U of M researchers examined the impacts of telecommuting on travel behavior in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The team looked studied whether telecommuting replaces or complements auto use and examined how telecommuting affects where people choose to live.
The U of M has received a $12 million award from the National Science Foundation to bring together a unique network of scientists, industry leaders, and policy partners committed to building better cities of the future. The network will connect nine research universities, major metropolitan cities in the U.S. and India, infrastructure firms, and policy groups. It is the first network of its size to focus on ways to reimagine infrastructure—road networks, energy grids, green spaces, and food and water systems—to create cities that are highly functional, promote the health of residents and the environment, and are desirable places to live and work.
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