As our readers know, we strive to provide for all modes of traffic in our studies. We also believe we do a great job of staying informed on the latest technologies and innovations that can improve how we do business. Along those lines, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) made four announcements in October that made us proud of our home office state:
- Minnesota is the second most bicycle friendly state. We’re still just behind Washington, but maintained our edge over California, Oregon, and Massachusetts. The key metrics of this ranking include infrastructure, funding, education and promotion, and passage and enforcement of bicycle friendly laws.
- MnDOT partners with StreetLight Data for a one-year pilot. With a regional subscription, MnDOT will have access to StreetLight’s analyses of real-world travel patterns for things like Super Bowl LII planning, performance measurements for major construction projects, public engagement, and general modeling, forecasting, and planning.
- EasyMile is chosen by MnDOT to test autonomous shuttle bus project. Starting in November, EasyMile will use its electric shuttle bus at MnDOT’s pavement test facility. This will be the first cold weather test site in the US and will also be showcased at the Super Bowl in February. The goal is to better understand how the vehicles operate in the winter weather environment.
- Roundabouts continue to save lives. Minnesota has been installing roundabouts since about 1995 and we’ve been lucky to have been a part of many of them go back to the beginning. A new report issued at the end of October shows no multi-vehicle fatalities in a Minnesota roundabout and an overall 42 percent reduction in the injury crash rate when comparing the before- and after-construction crash rates.
We’re grateful for the first item, can’t wait to see more about the other two, and are happy the statistics continue to match the expectations for our roundabouts. Way to go Minnesota!
Bryant Ficek, PE, PTOE
Bryant is the vice-president of Spack Consulting. Bryant has managed more than 500 traffic engineering projects, primarily in Minnesota, since starting his career in 1998. He is an expert in the Synchro, SimTraffic, Vistro, and Vissim traffic modeling software packages and thrives on developing creative solutions to traffic and transportation issues.