January 2016 Catalyst

January 2016
We are witnessing a paradigm shift away from the exclusive ownership and use of resources to one of shared use and, potentially, shared ownership. The Initiative on the Sharing Economy sheds light on this growing trend, with a particular focus on peer-to-peer shared mobility. The initiative was established by CTS in partnership with Saif Benjaafar, Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the U of M’s Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, and other faculty members across the University.
The mix of fuels used to power the vehicles on our nation’s roadways is diversifying rapidly. While gasoline and diesel are still dominant, an increasing percentage of vehicle power is coming from alternatives such as biofuel, natural gas, and electricity. What could this shift mean for Minnesota’s transportation future? The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board turned to U of M experts for analysis.
University of Minnesota Extension researchers have identified and tested a promising plant that has the potential to make the creation of living snow fences faster and more affordable. The plant—shrub willows—also could become a source of biomass and income for farmers. Researchers discovered that shrub willows are easier to plant and more cost-effective to install than other plants used for living snow fences in Minnesota.
As part of a U of M course last semester, students analyzed access to an elementary and middle school complex adjacent to a busy intersection in Chaska, Minnesota, and made recommendations aimed at helping local agencies improve pedestrian safety and access around the site. Their work was part of a safe-routes-to-school project sponsored by the Resilient Communities Project. RCP is an initiative supported by the U’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs that organizes yearlong partnerships between the University and Minnesota communities.
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