18 Brilliant ways to end gridlock and save billions
Business Insider, February 27, 2013
Congestion takes its toll of the planet as well: Most cars are at their least efficient in stop and go traffic, and the wasted fuel only makes their impact on the atmosphere worse. Fortunately for drivers tired of spending hours in the car, national economies that could use a few extra billion dollars, and everyone hoping for a healthier planet, gridlock can be eliminated. University of Minnesota experts Henry Liu, John Hourdos, and Kathleen Harder offer some solutions.
Lake Bluff drivers may go round and round
LakeForest-LakeBluffPatch, September 13, 2012
Traffic circles, believed to be safer and more efficient, may be on the way. One expert on traffic engineering said roundabouts reduce vehicle collisions by up to 70 percent. "That’s because they eliminate several of the conflicts that regular intersections have," John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory at the University of Minnesota, said. "A typical intersection has 16 to 24 conflict points and a roundabout has eight."
Where are Minnesota’s most crash-prone intersections?
MinnPost, July 27, 2012
Last year, there were 368 traffic deaths in Minnesota. MnDOT provided MinnPost with a list of the worst 20 intersections across the state. John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, an engineering lab at the University of Minnesota, offered some ideas about what can be done, if anything, to make them safer.
Maple Grove researcher tests app for visually impaired
Northwest Community Television, April 20, 2012
Chen-Fu Liao says a simple tap of a touch screen can guide visually impaired walkers across the street. Liao is a researcher at the University of Minnesota and the Center for Transportation Studies. He developed a smart phone app designed to go beyond existing crosswalk aides. His cell phone app is designed to not only request a walk signal and give visually impaired walkers a countdown to cross, but also to give them a layout of the intersection.
Why does a little bit of rain make our commute suck so much?
SF Weekly, March 15, 2012
How is it that a little bit of rain can bring commuters to such a frustrating stand-still? John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory at the ITS Institute, says its because drivers on a highway act as a single organism, with each car's movement dependent upon the movement of the cars around it as well as the cars miles ahead.
U of M researchers tap into smartphones to help visually impaired
KARE 11, February 16, 2012
University of Minnesota researchers are working on a smartphone application that could change the way visually impaired pedestrians navigate city streets. Chen-Fu Liao, senior systems engineer at the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, says it's a cost-effective program that takes advantage of smartphone capabilities like GPS. All it requires is adding a small box to an existing traffic signal box to send intersection information to users.
Minnesota Traffic Observatory makes transportation smarter
Business @ the U of M, January 12, 2012
To improve your daily commute, the Minnesota Traffic Observatory plays a major role behind the scenes, studying everything from busy intersections to electronic toll lanes. Safety is the lab’s top priority. The observatory, which falls under the umbrella of the University of Minnesota’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, is a high-tech transportation lab that develops tools for surveying, monitoring and managing traffic systems.
Roundabout confusion in Richfield keeps going
Star Tribune, August 26, 2011
The city is taking steps to help flustered drivers at busy roundabout. If the confusion is baffling to traffic engineers, who say roundabouts aren't that different from regular intersections, it does not surprise John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory at the University of Minnesota. He is doing a state-funded study on driver behavior and the effects of signs and striping in the Richfield roundabout.
Lowry Hill tunnel crash: Luck keeps tragedy from worsening
Star Tribune, August 11, 2011
A fatal crash during morning rush hour killed a trucker, but fortune kept the situation from becoming more horrific, the State Patrol said. The tunnel is not a high-crash location because traffic in both directions is usually congested and slow by the time it reaches the entrances, said John Hourdos, a professor of civil engineering and director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory at the University of Minnesota. And Hourdos said accident numbers in the higher-crash area have fallen by one-third in recent years, after lines that reduced abrupt merging were painted on the road, he said.
Driver ID'd in deadly Lowry Tunnel crash; occurs in accident-prone area
KARE 11 News, August 11, 2011
The driver of a semi-tractor trailer who was killed in a big crash in the Lowry Tunnel Wednesday morning has been identified. That while authorities say the accident happened in an area known for its congestion and high number of crashes. "This is one of those locations, because of the congestion, because of the overloading capacity, inattentive drivers are not forgiven," said John Hourdos with the Minnesota Traffic Observatory.
Traffic Expert Talks Lowry Tunnel Woes
Fox 9 News, August 10, 2011
A semi-truck struck a light pole early Wednesday and overturned while entering the Lowry Tunnel on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis. The freeway was shut down for several hours and rush hour traffic diverted. The tunnel is a consistent source of commute congestion, so FOX 9 News spoke with John Hourdos, the director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, about why the section of road is a headache that isn’t likely to go away.
Chairman Oberstar visits University for transportation research update
U.S. Rep. James L. Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, visited the University of Minnesota on November 12 for an update on the latest University transportation research. He met with Transportation Engineering and Road Research Alliance (TERRA) board members, tried out the HumanFIRST driving simulator, and toured the Minnesota Traffic Observatory (MTO), guided by CTS acting director Laurie McGinnis and ITS Institute director Max Donath. "I love what you're doing here," Oberstar said.
Crash avoidance technology advances
Minnesota Public Radio, November 25, 2009
Two innovations designed to help drivers avoid distraction-related crashes are being introduced. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is implementing a pioneering advisory speed limit system at I-35W south of downtown Minneapolis, using sensors embedded in the highway to trigger speed limit advisory signs. Another safety innovation is emergency braking systems, and Volvo is the first car manufacturer to make it available in showrooms. John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, participated in a test of the new technology, which uses a video camera and laser beam to detect objects in front of the car and stops the car if the driver doesn't react.
Experts say re-timing traffic signals could reduce pollution, travel
Minnesota Public Radio, June 18, 2009
Researchers suggest that dramatic reductions in pollution could be achieved simply by retiming traffic lights... The other problem impeding smoother Twin Cities traffic flow is too many cooks in the kitchen, according to the John Hourdos, a University of Minnesota engineering researcher and traffic expert.
Bridge to the GOP: Will the Twin Cities be ready for the Republican convention?
Newsweek Web Extra, Jun 17, 2008
A report on the effects of the I-35W bridge collapse, and rebuilding efforts. Includes comments by John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, and David Levinson, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering.
In-Depth: Merge Madness
Fox 9 News, May 1, 2008
John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory, contributes to an analysis of merging behavior among Twin Cities drivers
I-394: Interstate bottleneck explained
KARE-11 News, November 13, 2007
Newspaper cites U of M expert
Star Tribune, May 1, 2007 (as covered in the CTS Report, August 2007)
Drawing a new line against I-94 crashes
Star Tribune, October 16, 2006
MnDOT adds double white lines in effort to reduce crashes
KARE-11, October 2006
A MnDOT crew painted a 700-foot long double white line where traffic from I-35W northbound merges onto I-94 westbound. University of Minnesota traffic researcher John Hourdos explained that drivers coming from I-35W merge too soon, causing accidents up to a thousand feet before the intersection.