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Center for Transportation Studies

ITS Institute News Archives: 2006

Communication technology trends will be subject of ITS Minnesota luncheon

Communication technology is rapidly evolving. The demand for it to deliver transportation and ITS applications grows stronger every day, and staying abreast of the latest trends can be challenging. ITS Minnesota is pleased to feature Scott Propp, from member organization Motorola, to discuss the latest trends and what the future of communication technology may mean for transportation and ITS applications.

The ITS Minnesota Quarterly Luncheon, “Trends in Communication for Transportation and ITS,” will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2006, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Holiday Inn North in Arden Hills, Minnesota.


The less-than-perfect driver: a new model of car-following behavior

Imagine a world where drivers don’t make mistakes. Everyone pays perfect attention to the movements of cars around them, and no one takes unnecessary risks like following too closely behind another vehicle. There are no distractions like cellular phone calls, too-hot cups of coffee, or annoying songs on the radio. In this world, it goes almost without saying that the smooth flow of traffic is not disrupted by vehicle crashes.

This utopian world really exists—at least in research labs where computer simulations model the movements of virtual vehicles. As the computing power required to simulate hundreds or even thousands of vehicles has become available in personal computers, such simulations have emerged as invaluable tools for understanding the effects of new traffic control systems and management technologies.

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Seminar addresses privacy, scalability of location-based systems

Privacy and scalability are key challenges facing the emerging field of location-based information services, said Mohamed Mokbel at an ITS Institute Advanced Transportation Technologies Seminar October 24, 2006.

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Drawing a new line against I-94 crashes

Armed with University of Minnesota data, MnDOT puts down paint on westbound lanes to help drivers navigate a nasty crunch zone.

For 15 years, westbound Interstate Hwy. 94 near downtown Minneapolis has ranked as the most crash-prone stretch of highway in Minnesota.

That made it the perfect research challenge for the traffic engineers at the University of Minnesota. After studying video of traffic jams and fender benders on I-94, university researchers found it may be possible to reduce driver conflicts and prevent accidents simply by painting new markings on the pavement.

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ITS Minnesota Fall Industry Forum to feature “intelligent intersection” demonstrations

The 2006 ITS Minnesota Fall Industry Forum will be held October 23, 2006 at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the University of Minnesota’s Saint Paul campus. The North Central Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (NCITE) and the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) are co-sponsoring the event with the Minnesota chapter of ITS America.

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Crash impact: Driven to save lives

Photo: Star Tribune 2004

Photo: Star Tribune 2004

To determine what happens during a crash, the intrepid auto safety pioneer James “Crash” Ryan put himself in the driver ’s seat and his personal safety on the line. Ryan, a University Mechanical Engineering professor from from 1931 to 1963, eventually abdicated the role of test subject in favor of human-size dummies and remote-controlled “crash cars,” but his dedication to the cause of auto safety never faltered.

Ryan’s accomplishments are featured in “Crash impact: Driven to save lives,” found in the Winter 2006 issue of Inventing Tomorrow, a publication of the University’s Institute of Technology.

Ryan’s legacy—the zeal for saving lives—remains the driving force behind transportation studies at the University. At the third annual ME Day in 2004, Mechanical Engineering professor Max Donath, director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, narrated a presentation on the work of Ryan.