Welcome! This website is used to collect transportation research ideas for the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Local Road Research Board.

The 2021 MnDOT Academic Transportation Research Solicitation is now open.

Research ideas must be submitted by the end of the day March 15 to be considered for this year's RFP. MnDOT accepts research implementation ideas, however, throughout the year (such as to pilot new technology, develop training or implement research findings).

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(@yoojung.yoon) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

RQI-IRI equation review and calibration

Ride quality index (RQI) is one of the three pavement condition indices that MnDOT uses to report and quantify pavement conditions. RQI measures the feeling the average citizens get when driving on roadways. RQI is converted from the International Roughness Index (IRI) that is based on the dynamic response of a reference vehicle model (i.e., golden car model). MnDOT developed the regression equations that correlate IRI... more »
(@rmoen) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Understanding Bat Use of Roads and Railroads in Minnesota's Transportation Network trending idea

Eight species of bats live in Minnesota, with the evening bat detected in MN in 2016. Populations of the little brown bat, tricolored bat, and the northern long-eared bat have declined by about 90% in the last 5 years because of white-nose syndrome (WNS). The northern long-eared bat is already listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, and additional bat species listings are anticipated. As additional... more »
(@stephanie.mccartney) kudos icon 1

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Replacing salt with used coffee grounds as deicer trending idea

I read an article that cities in Poland are using used coffee grounds as deicer instead of salt. It is easier on dog/animal paws, and has the potential for being less harsh on environment. I was thinking this specifically could be used for sidewalks/around buildings. I don't know if it would be possible to get enough coffee grounds to fill a gritter-truck?


https://notesfrompoland.com/2021/02/09/polish-cities-use-coffee-grounds-to-clear-ice-instead-of-salt/... more »
(@jcunningham) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Development of Process to Lower GWP of Construction Materials trending idea

Minnesota is in position to lead the way towards resilient infrastructure construction and the materials used in construction. Resilient construction considers the lifecycle of products in evaluation of indicators like Global Warming Potential (GWP). A measurement tool for construction materials already exists in the form of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). The currently unmet challenge is finding a way to use... more »
(@terry.beaudry) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Evaluation of Gravel Stabilizer Used on Gravel Roads and Gravel Shoulders trending idea

Many Minnesota counties have been using gravel stabilizers on their gravel roads over the last decade, and have reported decreases in the amount of gravel, grading, dust suppressants, and fossil fuel required to maintain their gravel roads. This study would quantify those saving as well as determine whether savings are possible for their use on gravel shoulders.

Propose to study at least two stabilizers used on both... more »
(@pat.osborn) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Determine feasibility of direct weight enforcement based on Weighing in Motion (WIM) trending idea

The Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicles will be installing equipment at our two busiest weigh stations to perform another function. As a happy coincidence, this same equipment fills the bulk of what is used overseas to do direct enforcement off of WIMs.

This would be an ideal opportunity to do analysis of how accurate this kind of weighing can be in Minnesota and done a minimal cost since we'd be leveraging equipment... more »
(@glenn.engstrom) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Haul Road and Detour Maintenance trending idea

Designated detours and haul roads are often a part of construction projects. Policies have been developed to ensure that these roads are returned to their pre-construction condition. Also, overweight trucks can sometimes be allowed to travel on roads through MnDOT permit process. The current permit assessment is based on flat fee (ex. not based on excess damage caused by the overweight trucks). however Accurate methods... more »
(@mlevin) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Predicting traffic impacts of ridesharing trending idea

The emergence of Uber and Lyft as major travel modes has not been taken into consideration by most commercial planning models. MnDOT currently uses a 7-county DynusT dynamic traffic assignment model for planning. This model assumes private vehicle ownership and trips, i.e. vehicles start at an origin and park at a destination. After serving a passenger, ridesharing vehicles continue driving around empty, creating extra... more »
(@ealter) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Natural barriers for snow drift abatement trending idea

Why doesn't Minnesota use natural barriers to help with snow driving issues on federal, state, and county roads? Natural barriers could consist of trees (evergreen or deciduous), brush, earth mounds, or similar items. I've seen this in other states to help with drifting snow or blowing snow...yet MN doesn't seem to practice this at least in the SE area of the state.

I've witnessed this on County Road 42 between Plainview... more »
(@duane.hill) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Complete Streets Speed Impacts

Complete streets concepts often change existing highway cross section to provide a more friendly environment for bicycles and pedestrians. Sometimes the desired effect is to reduce the vehicle operating speeds. This proposal is to assess the before and after operating speed of various cross sectional changes so that the impact of future changes can be estimated. Speed limits are set based on operating speeds. Clear zone... more »
(@chris.bosak) kudos icon +

2021 Academic Transportation Research Program

Traffic Signal Indication dimming at night. trending idea

Traffic Signal indications need to be bright during the day, but they don't need to be as bight during night time hours. I think there have been studies on how much they can be dimmed and still be effective. Currently signal indications are not dimmed at all. I think the indications are too bright, causing too much glare. At night the bright/blinding indications makes it hard to see pedestrians. It is almost like someone... more »