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MnDOT accepting research implementation proposals

Is there an advancement intransportation research that you would like to try in Minnesota? MnDOT is soliciting research implementation ideas for FY 2017 funding. Proposals must be submitted by MnDOT staff on the Ideascale website by Feb. 10. Last year’s implementation cycle included projects to provide live-stream images of traffic conditions from snowplows, a tool to determine optimal spacing for MnPASS high-occupancy lanes and a system for evaluating potential sites for railroad crossings to improve safety. (read more) (Posted 1/25/2016)

More News

20 new projects selected

MnDOT’s Transportation Research Innovation Group (TRIG) and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board recently announced their Fiscal Year 2017 funding awards after hearing proposals from researchers at multiple universities. The two bodies chose 20 research proposals totaling about $2.9 million that will study new and innovative approaches to improving the environment, making transportation systems safer, improving construction methods and operating in more cost-effective ways. (read more) (Posted 1/6/2016)

Robots painting pavement messages

University of Minnesota-Duluth Associate Professor Ryan Rosandich tests a prototype of a robotic arm he developed to paint messages and markings on roadways. He calls the machine “The MnDOT Robot.” During a test run in October, the machine painted a right-turn arrow and the word “ahead” on pavement at MnDOT’s Pike Lake station in Duluth. Rosandich hopes commercial companies will show an interest in further developing his proof-of-concept technology into something that road authorities can use regularly to make work easier, faster and safer for their employees. (read more) (see demonstration video) (Posted 11/4/2015)

Using drones to inspect bridges

This past summer, MnDOT began researching how to employ drones to someday help inspect the state’s many bridges. Researchers investigated whether drones could help MnDOT decrease the rising costs of bridge inspections and collect more detailed information. Drones could also minimize the risks for bridge inspectors, who currently use rope systems and special inspection vehicles to access hard-to-reach areas. Using a drone to gather images could keep inspectors out of harm’s way and inspection vehicles out of active traffic lanes. (read more) (Posted 9/28/2015)

Designing Fish-Friendly Culverts

Roadways for humans can sometimes create roadblocks for fish, but researchers hope to establish a set of culvert design practices to help aquatic creatures get where they’re going. Laboratory simulations suggest that filling a culvert with sediment at installation, rather than allowing it to fill over time is, with some exceptions, generally the best ap­proach for low- and moderate-grade streams. (read more) (Posted 9/20/2015)

The Story of Research and Technology

The Federal Highway Administration recently released a video and a 44-page publication that document the role research and technology play in meeting the demands of the nation’s highway system and contributing to improvements in safety, infrastructure and operations.
Video: The FHWA 2015 R&T Story (5:41, YouTube)
Publication: The FHWA 2015 R&T Story (44 pages, PDF)

Applying LiDAR to County Transportation Systems

Researchers are experimenting with mobile light detection and ranging (LiDAR) using a sedan rigged with senors. They are collecting data that they hope leads to the creation of applications that can be useful to county highway departments and municipal public works departments. (read more) (Posted 8/5/2015)