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Center for Transportation Studies

ITS Institute News Archives: 2008

U of M leads national effort to make rural roads safer

Vice Admiral Thomas Barrett stood on the plaza in front of the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center on Monday morning. He stood next to a motorcycle holding a black helmet fitted with wires and a camera. “If I’m getting on a bike, I’m having a helmet on.”

The Deputy U.S. Transportation Secretary slipped the helmet on and climbed aboard the modified bike, dress shoes, suit and all. He was trying out the U’s device for researching motorcycle accidents and deaths.

Read the full story from KARE-11 News, June 30, 2008


New Technology can Track Teens Who Speed

Here’s one way to get teen drivers off the cell phone: Make them hook it up to the speedometer and automatically text Mom and Dad whenever the car is speeding.

The phones could conceivably keep track of such things as the number of passengers in the car, whether they’re wearing seatbelts and even monitor the volume of the stereo.

Read the full story from the Star Tribune, June 30, 2008


Sleepy driver takes a test drive

Using the University of Minnesota HumanFIRST virtual driving simulator, researchers can monitor how a sleepy driver isn’t able to drive safely.

Story was published by KMSP-TV Fox 9 News, May 21, 2008 (no longer available online)


High school students get an inside look at transportation technology

Blaine high school students touring the U of M's transportation-related research facilities

Blaine high school students touring the U of M's transportation-related research facilities

Twelve students and two teachers from the Blaine High School Center for Engineering, Math, and Science visited the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) and the ITS Institute on April 23. The Center for Engineering, Math and Science is a specialty program within Blaine High School offering an integrated and rigorous, in-depth program in mathematics, science, and engineering.

The purpose of the visit was to give students a perspective on transportation engineering and transportation careers. Students spent time learning about the uninhabited aerial vehicle in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, traffic monitoring and simulation research in the MTO, and earthquakes and structures in the civil engineering department.

Shawn Haag, program coordinator for CTS, said the students’ reactions were enthusiastic. “The visit really opened their eyes,” he said, referring to the variety of work and research in transportation. When asked if they would consider transportation as a potential career, over half of the students raised their hands.


Report evaluates freight performance measures

Photo of a trailer truck.The millions of tons of freight moved on America’s roadways every year is a crucial component of the national economy. Analyzing how well freight moves on the roads is the domain of freight performance measure (FPM) systems—specialized software packages that crunch data gleaned from vehicle-tracking systems to determine how quickly freight is being moved. In a new report published by CTS, Chen-Fu Liao of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory evaluates the FPM system developed by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and proposes an “ideal” FPM system to support future needs.

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In-depth: ‘merge madness’

John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, contributes to an analysis of merging behavior among Twin Cities drivers.

Story was featured on Fox 9 News, May 1, 2008 (no longer available online).