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Top three Catalyst stories of 2013

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The CTS Catalyst's most popular stories of 2013 reflected the wide range of transportation research conducted at the University of Minnesota:

Photo courtesy Carissa Schively Slotterback

  1. New Complete Streets materials highlight best practices, assist practitioners

  2. Complete Streets—roads that are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users—offer many benefits, including improved safety, mobility, accessibility, public health, and quality of life. However, much of the work surrounding Complete Streets to date has focused on creating policies and guidelines rather than investigating the processes and action steps needed to successfully implement projects. In an effort to fill this knowledge gap, researchers from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs have conducted a study on the planning and implementation of successful Complete Streets projects. The study includes the development of 11 case studies highlighting best practices and a practitioner-oriented guidebook.

  3. Highly obese truck drivers have higher crash risk, according to new research

  4. Highly obese commercial truck drivers have a much higher crash rate in their first two years on the job than their normal-weight counterparts, according to research from the University of Minnesota Morris. The findings come from a multi-year study led by Stephen Burks, an associate professor of economics and management at Morris and a former truck driver.

  5. New SMART Signal installation helps MnDOT monitor timing plans

  6. Researchers from the U of M recently developed a new version of software for the SMART Signal system, and deployments at more than 50 intersections managed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) are already under way. SMART Signal automatically collects and processes data from traffic signal controllers at multiple intersections and creates performance measures, including information on the times and locations congestion occurs on a roadway. In addition to these new implementations, a new MnDOT-funded study investigated how SMART Signal could be used as part of an integrated corridor management system.

The future of transportation: big data and cities

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What does the future hold for transportation? See what University of Minnesota Professor David Levinson predicts for the future of commuting and of urban mobility in these two clips from The Week. He discusses transportation with host Chris Riback, and other panelists Stephen Goldsmith (former Mayor of Indianapolis and Deputy Mayor of New York) and Barry Schulz of Atkins.


Related materials:


David Levinson is a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems (NEXUS) research group. He holds the Richard P. Braun/CTS Chair in Transportation. His blog is the Transportationist.

CTS fall research seminars begin September 26

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This fall, CTS will offer five research seminars on transportation topics ranging from resilient communities to asphalt at low temperatures.

Seminars will be held every Thursday from September 26 through October 31 (except Oct. 17) on the U of M campus in Minneapolis. You can either attend in person or watch the live webcast of each seminar. Additional information is available on the CTS website.

Seminar schedule:

New vehicles today are sophisticated driving machines--and they're also becoming rich sources of information. Sensors collect data about everything from how fast you're going to when the wipers kick in. At the same time, GPS navigation systems and the infrastructure built for mobile devices are making it increasingly possible to track where vehicles are and gather vast amounts of data. What does this mean for safety? Capturing the actual behavior of drivers could lead to a "behavioral map" revealing how drivers dynamically experience and adapt to road networks--and give engineers and designers insight for creating a safer driving experience. Read more in April Catalyst.

When traffic signals run efficiently, local road networks become faster and safer. And with increasing congestion on our nation's roadways, transportation engineers are looking for new ways to monitor and manage local traffic signal systems. Despite this growing need for traffic signal data and analysis, most existing signal control systems don't make it convenient to monitor or archive traffic signal performance data. That's where SMART Signal (Systematic Monitoring of Arterial Road and Traffic Signals) technology developed by University of Minnesota researchers comes in. More in April issue of Catalyst.

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Center for Transportation Studies

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E-mail: cts@umn.edu

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