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Center for Transportation Studies


Seminar Series – Fall 2002

September 10

"Ramp Meters on Trial"

David Levinson
Dept. of Civil Engineering

Seminar Article

Ramp meters in the Twin Cities have been the subject of a recent test of their effectiveness, involving turning them off for 8 weeks. This research analyzes the results with and without ramp metering for several representative freeways during the afternoon peak period, depending on data availability. Seven performance measures – accessibility, mobility, equity, productivity, consumer surplus, travel time variation and travel demand responses – are compared.

September 24

"Is the Sequential Travel Forecasting Paradigm Counterproductive?"

David Boyce
Dept. of Civil and Materials Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago

Seminar Article

The sequential travel forecasting procedure is widely accepted without question by transportation planners. Yet, its origins are obscure, its effects on practice and research may well be negative, and by focusing attention on individual steps, it tends to impede overall progress in improving forecasting methods. Alternatives to the Sequential Procedure are examined, and recent advances in model formulations are presented. A call for a new travel forecasting paradigm concludes the talk.

October 8

"Wireless EMS Services: Opportunities and Challenges to Bringing Safety and Travel Services to Rural Minnesota"

Tom Horan and Frank Douma
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Seminar Article

Development of effective Emergency Response and Management Systems (ERS/EMS) in rural Minnesota is a key step to building regional Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) that improves both traveler efficiency and safety. Several Minnesota counties, most of which are located in rural areas, have implemented EMS projects. In this project, researchers developed a case study of a complex infrastructure of ERS/EMS in rural Minnesota in order to explore barriers and synergies related to managing a network of public and private organizations.

October 22

"Ecological Validity in Applied Perception Research in Simulation Environments: Past, Present, and Future"

Mike Manser
HumanFIRST Program

Ecological validity is the degree to which a research environment emulates or reflects the real world. It is assumed that ecological validity is an important construct for visual perception research due to the ability to generalize results to the real world, and recently there have been calls to increase levels of ecological validity. This seminar will explore issues of ecological validity within the context of the history and future of driving environment simulators and a series of research experiments examining drivers' ability to determine when an approaching object will reach their position in space.

November 5

"Simulating Snowplow Scheduling in District One"

Martha Wilson
Dept. of Industrial Engineering, University of Minnesota – Duluth

(videocast from Duluth)

Seminar Article

Snowplow operations in northeastern Minnesota encompass several activities which depend on variables such as weather, road conditions, and route length. In order to identify opportunities for improvement, a prototype simulation model has been developed, which captures the essence of snowplow operations. The simulation model, the interface, and validation efforts will be discussed, concluding with a brief presentation of future activities.

November 19

"Dynamics and Control of Tilting Vehicles"

Lee Alexander
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Seminar Article

Narrow tilting commuter vehicles are evolving in several places around the world as a response to increasing congestion in modern urban areas. These vehicles have complex dynamic characteristics similar to bicycles and motorcycles and can be more difficult to control than a typical four wheeled automobile. In this talk we will present a simplified dynamic model of a three wheeled tilting vehicle along with control strategies that can be used to make such a vehicle easier for an untrained rider to maneuver.

December 3

"Mn/DOT ITS Projects"

Farideh Amiri
Mn/DOT Office of Traffic Engineering and Intelligent Transportation Systems

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is conducting many different Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) projects. This presentation will cover a few of these projects in the area of rural traveler information and traffic management and control, highway-railroad safety and train detection, advanced technologies installed on all major roadways that will speed the detection of traffic accidents and incidents, with the emphasis on public-private partnership.