May 2016 Catalyst

May 2016
Intelligent lane control signs are displays above lanes to warn drivers of incidents ahead. They’re becoming increasingly popular in high-crash areas of busy metropolitan areas as a way to deal with roadway congestion and safety concerns. Their effectiveness, however, depends on driver compliance. In a recent project, U of M researchers studied whether drivers are, in fact, heeding the messages displayed via these high-tech warning systems on a high-crash area of I-94 along the south edge of Minneapolis.
Work zones are necessary—and often dangerous. Each year more than 100 road construction workers and 500 drivers are killed in highway work zones nationwide. Driver inattention contributes to approximately half of all work-zone crashes and worker strikes. Though there is consensus about the dangers of highway work zones, the path to reducing injuries and deaths in them is less clear. To help identify solutions, U of M researchers investigated the impact of different types of speed enforcement methods on driver attention in work zones.
For commercial truck drivers, finding a safe and legal place to rest isn’t simple. Along busy corridors, parked trucks may overflow onto the shoulders of rest area ramps and adjacent roads, creating safety concerns. If they continue driving, truckers may risk becoming dangerously fatigued or violating federal hours-of­-service rules. In recent research, a project team developed a system that can identify available truck parking spaces and communicate the information to drivers—helping them determine when and where to park, and improving safety for them and all other drivers.
There is agreement in the transportation community that the way we pay for roads needs to change. In a report sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, U of M experts examine the options for implementing user-based road fees and explore the future of road pricing in the U.S. Options include mileage-based user fees, toll roads and bridges, truck-only toll lanes, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and cordon-based toll areas.
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