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U of MNUniversity of Minnesota
Center for Transportation Studies

Programs & Labs

Research Topics

The Institute's research is guided by its theme of enhancing the safety and mobility of road- and transit-based transportation through a focus on human-centered technology. To that end, the Institute brings together technologists and those who study human behavior to ensure that Institute-developed technologies become tools that optimize human capabilities.

This human-centered approach means that new developments in the core ITS technology areas of computing, sensing, communications, and control systems will be used to approach significant safety and mobility problems with a fresh perspective.

Additionally, the Institute addresses issues related to transportation in a northern climate, investigates technologies for improving the safety of travel in rural environments, and considers social and economic policy issues related to the deployment of the core ITS technologies.

  • Safety
    Preventing vehicle crashes and other traffic-related accidents that claim thousands of lives every year.
  • Security
    Protecting the transportation system and its users from crime, terrorist activity, and other threats and disruptions.
  • Driver performance and behavior
    Understanding how drivers behave and react under a variety of conditions—a key element of human-centered technology development.
  • Social, policy, and economic impacts
    Fostering coordination between ITS technologies and the social and regulatory frameworks within which they are deployed.
  • Rural applications
    Moving ITS beyond the city limits to improve safety and mobility on rural roads—where a significant proportion of transportation-related fatalities and injuries occur.
  • Transit
    Improving the usefulness and reliability of bus and rail transit through driver-assistive systems, traffic-management tools, and planning techniques.
  • Traffic Operations
    Enabling efficient real-time management of complex transportation networks, and promoting effective planning for future transportation needs.
  • Traffic Modeling and Data
    or, Data modeling and simulation
    Employing advanced simulation technologies that let researchers and traffic engineers develop better solutions to planning and operations problems.
  • Vehicle Systems
    Or, Intelligent vehicles
    Designing systems that help drivers operate their vehicles safely under a variety of conditions, ranging from normal driving to hazardous situations.
  • Congestion management
    Promoting the free flow of traffic on road networks, and mitigating the negative effects of heavy traffic loads.
  • Wireless communication systems
    Connecting information from sensors, driver-assistive systems, and traffic management tools seamlessly.
  • Vision systems
    Enhancing drivers’ abilities to operate in low-visibility conditions, and augmenting driver capabilities with new display technologies.
  • Cold weather applications
    Supporting traffic operations and maintenance activities in harsh northern climates.