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Fall 2017 Vol. 4, No. 2

Research shows pedestrians and bicyclists benefit from ‘safety in numbers’


Being able to assess the risk that a person walking or biking will collide with a car could help transportation planners determine the best places for safety improvements. In a recent Roadway Safety Institute project, University of Minnesota researchers evaluated a phenomenon known as “safety in numbers” to see if pedestrians or bicyclists were less likely to be in a crash in areas with more of them.

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In-vehicle warnings show promise for improving work-zone safety

road work ahead sign

Work zones can be dangerous for both drivers and the work crew—but Roadway Safety Institute (RSI) researchers are working on innovative ways to lessen these risks and lower the rate of work-zone crashes. In a new study, an RSI research team investigated the potential advantages and possible disadvantages of vehicle-to-infrastructure in-vehicle messages to communicate to drivers.

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Investigating unintended effects of I-35W safety improvements

PDSL daytime

In 2009, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) began major safety improvements to reduce congestion on a highly traveled Twin Cities’ corridor. Following the opening of these improvements, however, the frequency of rear-end crashes increased—especially in the regions of a newly added priced dynamic shoulder lane. To determine the underlying causes of this increase, MnDOT enlisted the help of University of Minnesota researchers.

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Summer camps spark students’ interest in transportation


Hands-on lessons, field trips, and other activities introduced a diverse group of elementary and middle school students to transportation topics in programs held throughout the summer. The Institute played a role in teaching safety to students in the White Earth Indian Reservation Summer Academy of Math and Science and the National Summer Transportation Institute.

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Infrastructure award to improve University’s driving simulators

driving simulator

The University of Minnesota’s HumanFIRST Laboratory has received a 2017 Research Infrastructure Investment Program award of just over $186,000 from the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research. The lab will use the award to overhaul components of its two advanced driving simulators—and to re-engage Minnesota as a national leader in driving behavior research in the process.

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Morris named HumanFIRST Lab director

Nichole Morris

Nichole Morris has been named director of the HumanFIRST Laboratory. Her research focuses on human-computer interactions with technology related to various aspects of transportation, and her research interests include multi-sensory perception, aging, judgment and decision making, usability, and human factors.

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Publication Credits

Director: Max Donath
Editor: Amy Friebe
Designer: Angela Kronebusch
Writers: Christine Anderson and Megan Tsai
Photography: Jonathan Chapman; Shutterstock; CTS/RSI staff
Web Team: Gregory Romero, Nathan Rockershousen