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U of MNUniversity of Minnesota
Center for Transportation Studies


Seminar Series – Spring 2001

January 25

"Reassessment of Road Accident Data Analysis Policy in Minnesota"

Eitan Naveh and Alfred Marcus
Carlson School of Management

While airplane crashes are studied and scrutinized from all angles to determine how such disasters can be prevented, much more systematic data analysis of road accidents is needed for the same reasons. The research aim of this project is to investigate how to improve road traffic safety based on data collection and analysis. Naveh and Marcus will characterize and describe current crash data collection in Minnesota and provide recommendations for collecting, interpreting, disseminating, and using the information.

February 8


"The Behavioral Power of On-Board Safety Monitoring Feedback"

Ron Knipling
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

February 22

"An Automatic Visibility Measurement System Based on Video Cameras"

Taek Kwon
Electrical and Computer Engineering, UMD

Seminar Article

Visibility has long been used for making important decisions such as road closures and driver warnings by transportation agencies. Visibility is also known as one of the best measures of the severity of snowstorms. This seminar will present new visibility measurement apparatus and image processing methods developed for roadway surveillance video cameras. Previous research at UMD was mainly focused on developing an apparatus of multiple targets with sizing proportional to the distance from targets, and the corresponding image processing techniques. This seminar will focus on recent theoretical analysis and experimental results on the apparatus and image processing methods developed for single-target approaches. The methods include apparatuses of near infrared spectrum illuminated on the target and active infrared source imbedded in the target.

March 8

"The Influence of First- and Second-Generation Anti-histamines and Alcohol on Driving Performance"

John Bloomfield
Human Factors Research Laboratory

Non-prescription first-generation antihistamines-such as diphenhyramine-are often effective in treating allergy symptoms. However, they can have central nervous system depressant effects and, as a result, may cause drowsiness and impair performance. Newer, second-generation antihistamines-like fexofenadine-are also effective in treating allergy symptoms. But while they cause little or no central nervous system depressant effects, they are only available on prescription.

March 22

"Narrow Tilting Vehicles for Future Individual Transportation"

Dean Karnopp
Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of California at Davis

There are obvious benefits to the use of small vehicles, which could permit an increase in the number of lanes on existing roadways and an increase in the number of vehicles in existing parking facilities. However, there are problems in simply scaling down conventional vehicles. A half-width vehicle with side-by-side seating would have little room for side impact protection and would have to be very low to the ground to prevent overturning during hard cornering. A class of narrow but relatively tall vehicles with tandem seating and active tilt control will be discussed which could provide safe and efficient individual transportation while reducing congestion and air pollution.

April 5

"Software Issues in Critical Transportation Systems"

Mats Heimdahl
Computer Science and Engineering

Computers are increasingly being used in critical functions in today's transportation systems. For example, industry is increasingly moving to X-by-wire systems (steer-by-wire, break-by-wire, etc.) under complete control of computers and software. This software control allows for unprecedented flexibility and performance in such systems. Unfortunately, it also introduces unprecedented system complexity and coupling—complexity and coupling that are beyond our current engineering capabilities. This talk is somewhat of a warning in which we will discuss the safety implications of such technologies, draw some parallels to the avionics industry where such systems have been used for years, and provide an overview of the state of the art in software development for critical software systems.

April 19

"Psychological and Roadway Correlates of Aggressive Driving"

Kathleen Harder
Human Factors Research Laboratory

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Federal Highway Administration have identified road rage/driver aggression as one of the major threats to safety in future roadway environments. This presentation will describe the interdisciplinary effort to understand the extent to which pre-existing cognitions, emotions, roadway conditions, and attitudes toward driving contribute to aggressive driving. The general goal is to identify factors that prompt aggressive driving behavior and to examine them in a simulated driving environment at the Human Factors Research Laboratory.