April 2017 Catalyst

April 2017
Imagine that you’re driving to work as usual when your smartphone announces, “Caution, you are approaching an active work zone.” You slow down and soon spot orange barrels and highway workers on the road shoulder. Thanks to a new app being developed by University of Minnesota researchers, this scenario is on its way to becoming reality. As part of a project sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, U of M researchers investigated the use of inexpensive Bluetooth low-energy tags to provide in-vehicle warning messages using a driver’s smartphone.
Volunteer drivers are a key component of human services transportation in Minnesota. They provide low-cost transportation for trips ranging from non-emergency medical appointments to general errands. But changing demographics and the rise of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft could put many volunteer driving programs at risk, according to a new U of M study.
University of Minnesota researchers at the Minnesota Traffic Observatory will work to improve the mobility of people and goods across the nation as part of the new Freight Mobility Research Institute, a Tier 1 University Transportation Center funded in 2016. Led by Florida Atlantic University, the Institute will receive $1.4 million per year from the United States Department of Transportation for five years.
As part of an ongoing effort to institutionalize bicycle and pedestrian counting in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has published a new manual designed to help city, county, state, and other transportation practitioners in their counting efforts. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Data Collection Manual, developed by University of Minnesota researchers and SRF Consulting Group, provides guidance and methods for collecting bicycle and pedestrian traffic data in Minnesota.
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
Web Team: Savannah Brausen