Research Publications, News and Information
November 2009 Peer Exchange and Pilot Workshop and upcoming January 2010 Webinar
Communicating the Value of Transportation Research
The Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Section hosted a workshop and peer exchange November 2 – 4, 2009 in Shoreview, Minnesota. Representatives from eight state DOTs, two Minnesota universities, and FHWA-Minnesota joined representatives from Mn/DOT to learn about effective strategies for communicating the value of transportation research and to share best practices with each other. A number of Mn/DOT program areas participated, including Traffic, Materials, State Aid, Research Services, Maintenance, Market Research, Communications, the Office of Policy Analysis, Research and Innovation and the Local Road Research Board. This report highlights the key observations and takeaways that came out of the workshop and peer exchange.
Final Report: Communicating the Value of Transportation Research Peer Exchange and Pilot Workshop (PDF) | Peer Exchange Presentations (PDF)
Mn/DOT NewsLine Article: Workshop focuses on communicating value of research, innovation
Workshop Guidebook Overview (NCHRP Report 610): Communication Matters: Communicating the Value of Transportation Research (PDF)
Research Services update
Linda Taylor named Director of Research Services
Linda Taylor was named the new Director of Research Services, effective May 27. She succeeds Sue Lodahl, who recently accepted the position of Assistant State Maintenance Engineer.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota, Taylor began working for Mn/DOT in 1982 as a graduate engineer.
Taylor has since worked in a variety of positions at Mn/DOT, including serving most recently as the maintenance training and research engineer in the Office of Maintenance. (read more)
Shoreview experiment may eliminate storm drains
Shoreview's new "green" street surface lets rainwater pass right through to prevent damaging runoff.
By LAURIE BLAKE, Star Tribune
Shoreview is betting on a new "green'' concrete paving method that lets rainwater pass right through the street surface to prevent damaging runoff. (read more)
Twentieth Annual Transportation Research Conference
May 19-20, 2009
Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, Minneapolis South
Planning Committee - Mn/DOT Members (from Registration Brochure)
Jake Akervik, Kenneth Buckeye, Jerry Geib, Matt Gjersvik, Khalid Obeidat, Frank Pafko, Ray Rought, Paul Rowekamp, John Tompkins
Mn/DOT Presenters and Moderators (from Registration Brochure)
Tim Henkel, Mike Ginnaty, Jean Wallace, Gre Ous, Dave Engstrom, Frank Pafko, Ben Worel, Bernard Izevbekhai, Shongtao Dai, Tom Sorel, Nick Thompson, Ken Buckeye, Matt Oman, Scott Bradley, Jerry Geib, Noel Shughart, Peggy Reichert, Farideh Amiri, Rabinder Bains, Paul Rowekamp, Sue Groth, Gary Peterson
Registration Brochure (PDF)
"Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)"
"Traffic" Author and Luncheon Speaker Tom Vanderbilt
May 19, 2009
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Sheraton Blomington Hotel, Bloomington
Based on exhaustive research and interviews with driving experts and traffic officials around the globe, Traffic gets under the hood of the everyday activity of driving to uncover the surprisingly complex web of physical, psychological, and technical factors that explain how traffic works, why we drive the way we do, and what our driving says about us. Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He shows how roundabouts, which can feel dangerous and chaotic, actually make roads safer--and reduce traffic in the bargain. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety, and even identifies the most common mistake drivers make in parking lots.
Mn/DOT Library Book Listing for "Traffic" - Two copies available at the Mn/DOT Library
Tom Vanderbilt's Blog
Featured LRRB Project
THE ROAD TO A THOUGHTFUL
Street Tree Master Plan
A practical guide to systematic planning and design
Ken Simons and Gary R. Johnson
This manual has been prepared to assist decision makers such as elected officials, city foresters, city engineers, urban planners, and landscape architects with the development of a thoughtful street tree master plan.
The basic intent of the manual is to replace the all too common practice of making subjective decisions during street tree design and tree selection initiatives with an objective step-by-step planning and design process. The manual employs a question and answer format that addresses relevant issues such as:
•Capability of street-side environments to accommodate and sustain street tree plantings
•Intended functions and desired benefits
•Degree of species diversity
•Species selections, arrangements and assignments (read more)
Fiscal Year 2010 Approved University Research Proposals
A Focus on Projects that Address Mn/DOT’s Strategic Vision and Research Services’ Strategic Areas for Research and Implementation
Sixteen research proposals were recently selected for Fiscal Year 2010 approval and funding by Research Services and the newly formed Transportation Research & Innovation Group (TRIG).
A breakdown of the project selection finds:
• An enhanced focus on bridge maintenance and safety research, with four such projects.
• A continued focus on Minnesota university partnerships and research, with ten projects going to the University of Minnesota, and two to Mankato State University.
• A renewed focus on applied research and research results that are readily usable for transportation practitioners (End-User/Roadmap Products); this helps ensure that dollars spent on transportation research equal usable results and cost savings for Mn/DOT and the State of Minnesota.
Strategic Vision, Strategic Research
• Seven Infrastructure Preservation projects that address “Aging infrastructure”
• Three Green Roads projects that address “Environmental concerns”
• One Multi-Modal Infrastructure project that addresses “Rapid change and mobility”
Core Values and Strategic Directions
• Three Traffic Safety projects that help “Maintain safety as a priority”
• Two Congestion Management projects that address “Mobility – Improving access and enhancing the movement of people and freight” (more)
~ Jake Akervik
Research Services update
Cory Johnson appointed Acting Director of Research Services
Nick Thomspon, Director of the Office of Policy Analysis, Research, & Innovation, recently appointed Cory Johnson Acting Director of the Research Services Section until a permanent replacement is named.
Johnson replaces Sue Lodahl, who was named to the position of Assistant State Maintenance Engineer effective Feb. 18.
Johnson started at Mn/DOT in 1991 as a student worker while completing his B.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota.
In addition to his current positions of Acting Director of Research Services and Research Management Engineer, Johnson has held several positions at Mn/DOT, including Research Analyst, Incident Management Senior Engineer, MS4 Water Resources Engineer, and Research Senior Engineer – Maintenance.
Current efforts lead by Johnson include the development of research roadmapping concepts, the incorporation of project scoping into the research development process, increased efforts to implement research results, and the development of the Transportation Research & Innovation Group (TRIG).
Continued efforts until a permanent replacement is named will include evaluation of the University proposal selection process, further development of the newly formed TRIG, web site and communication enhancements, and Roadmap Product identification.
~ Jake Akervik
Mn/DOT Library update
New Reference and Outreach Librarian
My name is Karen Neinstadt and I am the new Reference and Outreach Librarian here at Mn/DOT. I will be providing library research and reference services and working on promoting the library throughout the state and also to local transportation organizations.
Prior to joining the Mn/DOT staff on February 9th, I worked as a librarian at the Perpich Center for Arts Education. I have also worked in a number of other libraries in the Twin Cities. (more)
~ Karen Neinstadt
Research Services 2008 Annual Report
Welcome to the 2008 annual report of the Mn/DOT research program.
We are pleased to present the projects, products and services that have brought innovation to the state’s transportation system. The efforts of investigators, consultants and Mn/DOT staff have been instrumental in advancing the aggressive goals adopted under Commissioner Thomas K. Sorel for meeting the needs of the public in a cost-effective manner.
This document represents our accountability to Mn/DOT’s leaders and district offices, to the Local Road Research Board and the agencies that drive its agenda, and to Minnesota’s taxpayers. Our innovation and technology transfer activities support Mn/DOT and local governments in the stewardship of the funds they receive; the innovations we deliver help maintain and further develop Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure, supporting not only our highway and bridge system, but also our local roads and highway alternatives such as transit. Our programs are also critical to increasing the safety of Minnesota travelers, as well as their confidence in Mn/DOT. (read more)
CTS Research Webinar
DETERMINING SHEAR CAPACITY OF PRESTRESSED CONCRETE BEAMS
with Carol Shield
Thursday, February 19, 2:45pm - 3:45pm
** WEBCAST **
A free video webcast of this event will be provided. See the webinar viewing instructions for more information at http://www.cts.umn.edu/Events/webinars.html
** MORE INFORMATION **
Shear Capacity of Prestressed Concrete Bridge Girders
Design specifications of shear reinforcement requirements in prestressed concrete bridges have changed significantly. Researchers load-tested to failure a girder that was built to older design codes and evaluated its shear capacity. They also examined how to judge the shear capacity of other bridges designed to older specifications.
“The design requirements have changed to include much more shear reinforcement. We want to make good decisions about the safe operating load of these older bridges.”
– Yihong Gao, Bridge Designer, Mn/DOT Office of Bridges
Report: Road salt leading to environmental damage
Road salt is building up in area creeks, report says
By TOM MEERSMAN, Star Tribune
Rain and melting snow in the Twin Cities have flushed away road salt residue from hundreds of streets and tens of thousands of cars, but where it all goes is an emerging environmental problem. (read more)
Environmental Effects of Deicing Salt on Water Quality in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area
Using salt to deice roadways in winter plays an important role in providing for the driving safety of Minnesotans. The objective of this research was to learn more about what happens to sodium chloride, the primary chemical used for deicing purposes, after the road salt has completed its job of providing safer winter roadways.
“We can use the information from this study to better manage our use of road salt, minimizing impacts while still maintaining safe roadways.”
– Wayne Sandberg, Deputy Director of Public Works, Washington County