New LRRB YouTube Videos Available Online

The Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) has recently produced several new YouTube videos, which are available on the MnDOT Research Services YouTube channel. Video descriptions and links are also included below.

What is the LRRB?
Learn how the LRRB supports and shares the latest transportation research applications with the state’s city and county engineers.

Answers to Common Questions about Gravel Roads
More than half of U.S. roadways are gravel roads, making them an important part of our transportation system. Learn about gravel road construction, common problems with gravel roads, and how to keep a gravel road in the best condition.

Construction Zone Safety: Our Responsibility
Scott Gabrio, a MnDOT maintenance worker who was seriously injured by a distracted driver in a construction zone, shares his story and discusses how we can prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.

De-Icing Study: Putting the Products to the Test
Watch as MnDOT-funded researchers transform the parking lots of Valleyfair and Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn., into driving tracks to study the effects of weather and vehicle traffic on different deicing treatments.

Frost Damage in Pavement
Frost-damaged roads can be a major pain (and expense) for public works agencies and road users. Learn the major causes and cures of frost damage.

Minnesota Bike Lanes: Learning to Share
Join the discussion as we talk with pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in Minnesota to identify some common misconceptions about bike lanes.

Navigating a Multi-Lane Roundabout
This video shows drivers how to navigate a multi-lane roundabout and what to do when large vehicles and emergency vehicles are traveling through the roundabout.

Road Closed Signs: Beware and be Aware
Learn the dangers of entering a construction area and the importance of obeying Road Closed signs.

Sign Life Expectancy Research Project
Researcher Howard Preston explains what MnDOT is doing to learn the life expectancy of traffic signs.

Why Aren’t They Working on My Road?
Ever wonder why your road isn’t being repaired? This video explains why roads go bad and why the worst roads are sometimes the last to be fixed.

June 12, 2014

Impact of Flashing LED Stop Signs on Crash Reduction

In an effort to improve safety at stop sign-controlled intersections, several communities have installed flashing LED stop signs at select intersections throughout the state. Researchers are optimistic that because stop signs enhanced with flashing light-emitting diodes (LED) are more visible to drivers, they will hopefully reduce the number of right-angle crashes. Given the statewide interest in this strategy, the Local Road Research Board conducted a study to evaluate the impact of flashing stop signs on safety and driver behavior.

Initial research confirms at least some safety benefit to the signs. For example, the statistical analysis of 15 intersections predicts that installing flashing LED stop signs can reduce the frequency of right-angle crashes by nearly 42 percent. (It is important to note that with a 95 percent confidence interval, it is impossible to state the magnitude of crash reduction with statistical certainty; this reduction could actually be anywhere between zero and 71.8 percent.)

Field studies using portable video equipment also indicate that at intersections with LED signs, drivers were much more likely to stop when opposing traffic was present (10.6 clear stops for every clear nonstop after installation compared with 4.2 stops for every nonstop before installation). When no opposing traffic was present, however, there was no change in behavior after installing the flashing LED sign; approximately four drivers did not clearly stop for every driver who did stop.

While no further research is planned, MnDOT will continue to monitor the intersections with flashing LED stop signs to collect more data about their impact on safety. To learn more, click here and view the full report. 

May 23, 2014

LRRB Update Newsletter

View the current issue of LRRB’s quarterly newsletter

February 21, 2014

Concrete Re-Certification Course to be Offered Online

Beginning November 1, 2013, MnDOT’s Concrete Field Level I technician re-certification training started to be offered as an interactive online course.

The new E-Learning module provides an alternative to the eight-hour, classroom-based training. The goal is to allow MnDOT personnel, city and county staff and others to re-certify without incurring unnecessary travel costs and lost work time. In addition, students can now work at their own pace, which could lead to better learning outcomes.

“They can go back into this over and over again until they really understand the material, vs. taking the course in the traditional classroom setting,” said John Micheau, MnDOT technical certification specialist.

The online course takes approximately six hours to complete, after which learners are given one hour to complete the 50-question re-certification exam. The course and exam must be completed by April 30. Certification cards will be issued as a batch in June.

The project to move re-certification online was funded by the Local Road Research Board. Micheau said city and county engineers would like to avoid sending personnel to a one-day class that could involve traveling long distances and staying overnight at a hotel. He estimates that between 150 and 200 people will take the class each year.

In addition to being more cost-efficient, Micheau believes the online course is more attuned to the needs of a younger generation.

“We’re trying to do this for all of our re-certification courses. We just think this is the wave of the future,” he said.

Students can get more information by visiting the technical certification website. They can also visit the Aggregate & Ready Mix Association of Minnesota website to register for classes.

October 16, 2013

Aggregate Roads Dust Control – A Brief Synthesis of Current Practices

More than 50 percent of U.S. roadways are gravel roads, making them a vital part of our transportation system. One of the drawbacks and biggest complaints about gravel roads is the dust they produce when vehicles drive over them. Dust settles on homes, yards and parked cars, potentially reducing the quality of life for people who live along gravel roads. Dust can also have adverse effects on air quality and reduce safety due to drivers’ impaired vision. To control dust on gravel roads, local agencies apply various dust suppressants, mainly calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. However, many other dust suppressant options exist.

The Minnesota LRRB has developed a new document, Dust Control of Aggregate Roads, A Brief Synthesis of Current Practices , to provide local agencies with a summary of research on various dust suppressants, their effectiveness, and impacts. The report, which includes information on both Minnesota and Iowa practices, is available by clicking here. 

October 15, 2013

Complete Streets Implementation Resource Guide for Local Agencies

Complete Streets is a transportation approach that provides safe access for all street users regardless of age or ability. This movement continues to gain momentum as communities across the nation plan and design roadways that safely and efficiently accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, transit riders, and motor vehicles.

The Complete Streets Implementation Resource Guide for Minnesota Local Agencies is a new tool that helps transportation professionals, advocates, and decision makers understand and implement Complete Streets policies in their communities. Funded by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, SRF Consulting Group, Inc. collaborated with city and county engineers, MnDOT staff, and University of Minnesota researchers to develop this comprehensive guide, which features the following information and resources: 

• Complete Streets Overview
• Local and National Best Practices
• Terms and Definitions
• Assessment of Current Practices
• Implementation Guide/Process
• Local Case Studies

The Complete Streets Implementation Resource Guide for Minnesota Local Agencies is available by clicking here.

August 20, 2013