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Center for Transportation Studies

Programs & Labs

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Spring 2008

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In this issue

Research explores privacy, legal implications of emerging ITS technologies
Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies can provide planners and engineers with new tools that produce a safer and more efficient transportation system. However, because many of these technologies rely on the ability to track and record the movements of individual citizens, scholars and legal advocates have begun to raise privacy concerns.

Interactive course modules enhance learning
Gaining an understanding of the complex dynamics that underlie traffic flows and intelligent vehicle guidance systems is a challenge that many transportation engineering students grapple with every semester. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that simulation and modeling rely on expensive dedicated software and powerful computer servers, so students rarely have the opportunity to experiment and explore outside of course labs.

Future of vehicle safety lies in crash prevention
Seat belts and other safety technologies have saved hundreds of thousands of lives on U.S. roadways since 1960. Tomorrow’s safety systems, particularly those that prevent crashes, will save many more, said Ronald Medford at the CTS Winter Luncheon. Their widespread deployment, however, hinges on a key question: What level of reliability will convince consumers the systems work and are worth the money—and persuade manufacturers to install them?

Human factors research motivates 2007 Student of the Year
Michael Rakauskas, a doctoral student in the University of Minnesota’s Cognitive and Biological Psychology program, was presented with the ITS Institute’s 2007 Outstanding Student of the Year Award at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, DC, January 12, 2008.

Young learners explore engineering with Narrow Commuter Vehicle prototype
A prototype narrow commuter vehicle being developed by Minnesota researchers with ITS Institute funding proved a popular attraction at The Works, a “hands-on, minds-on” learning center for children and teens.

Minnesota Traffic Observatory launches new Web site
The Minnesota Traffic Observatory (MTO) has launched a new Web site to provide information about research capabilities and projects, located at

Students, researchers attend TRB Annual Meeting
University of Minnesota students joined ITS Institute researchers again this year at the TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.