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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

March 26, 2001
Susan Beasy Latto, Director of Public Relations 218 726-8830
Vince Magnuson, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs 218 726-7103
James Riehl, Dean of College of Science & Engineering 218 726-6397

Major Transportation Study Center Opened at UMD
Receives $3.7 Million for Northland Transportation & Infrastructure Research

At a news conference today Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin, Congressman James Oberstar and State Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg announced the establishment of a UMD research center to study comprehensive winter transportation systems and the transportation needs of cities in small urban areas. The new facility, named the Northland Advanced Transportation Systems Research Laboratories (NATSRL), is a cooperative research and education initiative of the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies and its Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the UMD College of Science & Engineering.

NATSRL will receive $3.7 million over four years from federal transportation funds, MnDOT and the University of Minnesota. The center will study a large variety of topics including visual and electronic traffic and road sensors, inventory management of transportation infrastructure, and traffic density. NATSRL will work collaboratively with MnDOT District One, city and county engineers and the university research community to address transportation-related needs, including those that are specific to the Northland area and its climate.

Chancellor Martin said, "We are proud to announce the establishment of NATSRL on the UMD campus. The issues of transportation for the 21st century are complex and challenging and have significant political, geographic and human implications. It is indeed important work, and our gifted faculty are up to the challenge."

NATSRL will be structured into three major units with the following areas of research and study:

Advanced Sensor Research Laboratory

  • Development and testing of advanced sensing technologies for pavement and road conditions (speed, slipperiness, traffic density)
  • Real-world analysis and real-time measurements using a building constructed on the MnDOT facility at milepost 237 on Highway I-35 (near Black Bear Casino)
  • Development of new techniques to detect incidents and abnormal traffic conditions
Transportation Data Research Laboratory
  • Development of a state-wide traffic data and data archival and analysis system
  • Development of automatic inventory management system for transportation infrastructure
  • Design of efficient management strategies for small urban and large-scale event traffic flow using modern visualization and management tools
Education and Outreach Programs in Transportation
  • Establishment of minority student research programs involving transportation issues
  • Development of information retrieval, visualization strategies, and man-machine interfaces for transportation data

NATSRL will be staffed by UMD College of Science & Engineering faculty members from the departments of Computer Science, Industrial Engineering, and Electrical & Computer Engineering. James Riehl, Dean of the College of Science & Engineering, is NATSRL director. He will head a leadership team which includes: Stanley Burns, Professor and Head, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering; Donald Crouch, Professor and Head, Department Computer Science; Taek Mu Kwon, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering; and David Wyrick, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Industrial Engineering. Graduate and undergraduate students from UMD will be involved in NATSRL projects. Students from Fond du Lac Tribal Community College will also work at the center through funding provided by a Careers in Transportation outreach education grant.

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