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Center for Transportation Studies


New SMART Signal installation helps MnDOT monitor timing plans

smart signalResearchers 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 (Systematic Monitoring of Arterial Road and Traffic Signals) automatically collects and processes data from traffic signal controllers at multiple intersections. It then creates performance measures, including information on the times and locations congestion occurs on a roadway. The system was originally developed by civil engineering associate professor Henry Liu to improve traffic management on urban arterial streets. Funding for the system’s development was provided in part by the ITS Institute.

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From distraction to coach

Max DonathCar wrecks kill more U.S. teens aged 15–19 than any other cause, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, drivers under age 20 are nearly four times as likely to have a crash than older drivers.

What are among the causes? Using a cell phone distracts them. A mobile phone was involved 19 percent of the time teen drivers caused a fatal accident.

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Developing smarter stoplights

Henry LiuIt’s probably safe to say that drivers have cursed sitting in line at stoplights ever since the nation’s first electric traffic light was installed in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1912.

Since then, traffic managers have learned how to time lights to smooth the flow of traffic on busy arterial highways. But because traffic data for these kinds of roads is rarely stored or analyzed, traffic rarely moves as fast or as smoothly as it could.

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Duluth students working on vehicle communication

KSTP-TV News, August 18, 2013
New technology promises to prevent crashes as well as keep traffic moving through work zones and rush hours. Vehicle-to-vehicle technology is being pioneered at the University of Minnesota Duluth by professor Imran Hayee and his electrical engineering graduate students. They are essentially programming wireless devices to allow cars to “talk” to each other using dedicated short-range communication devices, or DSRC devices.

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MnDOT deploys iMonitor software

Traffic Technology, August 1, 2013
SMART Signal Technologies has installed its new iMonitor software system on 52 intersections for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), which is intended to improve traffic signal performance along the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul) congested signalized arterial corridors. Using patented technology licensed from the University of Minnesota, the iMonitor system is less expensive than the cost of installing new controller cabinets, which are used to regulate phase changes at signalized intersections. Continue reading…

New warning system may make rural intersections safer

WDIO-TV News, July 30, 2013
A team in Duluth is testing a new warning system that could make some rural intersections safer. It’s a wireless, solar-powered system that will alert cars if there are other vehicles approaching the intersection. It’s the first of its kind in Saint Louis County. Researchers also sent out about 200 surveys to people who live close to the intersection. UMD Research Assistant Husam Ismail said 90 percent of the feedback was positive.Continue reading