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University of Minnesota Driven to Discover

The Minnesota Traffic Observatory (MTO) is a transportation laboratory focusing on the testing and evaluation of new transportation management and operational strategies and traveler information technologies. The MTO is a facility of the University of Minnesota's Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering. It is also affiliated with the Roadway Safety Institute, the Region 5 University Transportation Center.

Our Research

MTO in the News

Is V2V soon to be a reality?
On Monday, federal government workers took the first step in requiring cars to include technology that will allow vehicles to communicate with one another.

Signs along highways warn Minnesota motorists of 'shock-wave effect'
The Minnesota Traffic Observatory says the "shock-wave effect" causes hundreds of crashes a year.

Minn. Traffic Expert: Lessons Can be Learned from Atlanta Snow Storm
John Hourdos, the director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, stopped by KSTP to talk about what we can all learn from the mess in Atlanta. Without proper chemicals and hardly any salt trucks, he says officials should have told people to stay home.

Do smartphone traffic apps really work?
Apps like Waze and Google Maps highlight the fastest routes based on traffic data, while MnDOT’s 511 app posts traffic and road conditions. But computers aren’t always the best co-pilots, especially in a Minnesota snowstorm.

More News

Featured Research

Evaluation of the Effect MnPASS Lane Design has on Mobility and Safety
This study evaluated the safety and mobility of both restricted and open access MnPASS lanes.

Effect of Signing and Striping on the Safety of a Two-Lane Roundabout
This project examined driving behavior and safety before and after signing and striping changes at a two-lane roundabout.

Modeling Traffic Impacts on Visitor Experience and on Wildlife in Public Spaces
The MTO developed a model to simulate the complex relationships between traffic patterns and wildlife movements in Denali National Park.

Rapidly deployable, low-cost traffic data and video collection device
This portable traffic data collection system—designed for temporary data gathering and video recording—is easily deployable, non-intrusive, and inexpensive.

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