March 2017 Catalyst

March 2017
The motor vehicle crash fatality rate is higher for American Indians than for any other ethnic or racial group in the United States. Although the number of fatal crashes decreased in the nation as a whole by about 21 percent from 1975–2013, it increased by about 35 percent on American Indian reservation roads. In a project sponsored by the Roadway Safety Institute, U of M researchers Kathy Quick Guillermo Narváez are collaborating with American Indian communities to explore this disparity, better understand the transportation safety risks on tribal lands, and develop strategies to mitigate these risks.
The bicycling industry in Minnesota, including manufacturing, wholesaling, retail sales, and non-profits and advocacy groups, produced an estimated total of $780 million of economic activity in 2014. This includes 5,519 jobs and $209 million in annual labor income (wages, salaries, and benefits) paid to Minnesota workers. These findings are an important component of a multifaceted report from U of M researchers.
A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses. The new process could shift the tire production industry toward using renewable resources found right in our backyards. Conventional car tires are viewed as environmentally unfriendly because they are predominately made from fossil fuels. Using the new process, tires produced from biomass that includes trees and grasses would be identical to existing car tires, with the same chemical makeup, color, shape, and performance.
In a recent project, the Alaska Department of Transportation used a byproduct of Minnesota’s taconite mining industry for a section of the Alaska Glenn Highway. The taconite byproduct—Mesabi sand—serves as the aggregate of a sand-seal treatment. Taconite, one of the hardest natural aggregates, was selected to help resist wear from studded tires.
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