8:00 a.m. – Welcome and Plenary Session
Federal Transportation Funding: The Last Action in DC
Dennis McGrann, Folger Square Group LLC; Ward McCarragher, American Public Transportation Association (APTA)
With a new president, stimulus funding packages, and the upcoming expiration of the FAST Act, a lot is happening in Washington, DC. Hear from our DC insiders about the prospects for new transportation funding at the federal level.
9:15–10:00 a.m. – Networking Time
Innovation in the COVID Era
Chris Mavis, Hennepin County; Don Elwood, City of Minneapolis
Moderator: Brad Henry, MN2050
This presentation will describe innovations in three agencies resulting from COVID-19: Hennepin Avenue Construction, Hennepin County's use of the Sharepoint tool to facilitate property transfers, and Met Council's successful implementation of telecommuting and other innovations.
Mobility-as-a-Service: A revolution in Multimodal Travel in Minnesota?
Elliott McFadden, MnDOT; Adam Mehl, Metro Transit
Moderator: Christine Beckwith, MetroTransit
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) has the potential to transform multimodal transportation and drive transit and shared mobility ridership to new heights. MaaS is a transportation ecosystem that allows users to plan trips from a variety of providers, pay for their trip, and track progress in real time. This session will present the different innovative approaches to MaaS being taken in the Metro area and in Greater Minnesota and how they will impact the way we travel in the future.
Innovation in a Time of Uncertainty: How CAV is Adapting to a Global Pandemic
Michael Kronzer, MnDOT; Joseph Holmes, Robert Brown, TuSimple
Moderator: Kristin White, MnDOT
Join us in this exciting session as we shine a spotlight on the challenges and opportunities faced by the connected and automated vehicle (CAV) industry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Presenters will provide perspectives from MnDOT and industry as they discuss how innovative and exciting CAV projects are adapting to funding, social, operational impacts, and more in Minnesota and around the world.
Get Collaborative! How Gender Equity in Transportation Can Advance Safety, Access, and Mobility for All
Ania McDonnell, State and Local Policy Program, Humphrey School of Public Affairs; Kristin White, Hally Turner, MnDOT; Frank Douma, University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs; Yingling Fan, University of Minnesota
Moderator: Nicole Westadt, MnDOT
What is it like to be a woman in the transportation system? How can we amplify the voices of people identifying as female to listen to their lived experience? How does transportation policy advance social equity? World Economic Forum research shows that when we empower women, many communities see expanded freedoms and advancements. One oversight in our society is the significant gap in transportation that women and their families face. This session focuses on the many ways in which the transportation sector can help advance gender equity and, if we don't, how our inaction will lead to further systemic barriers. Presenters include voices from the state's new Gender Equity in Transportation Collaborative and include a public-private-academic perspective on how amplifying these often unheard voices can benefit all communities and stakeholders.
"Bridging" the Gap: Richmond-San Rafael (R-SR) Bridge Bike-Ped Path Project and Community Connectivity
Smita Sharma, Lindsay Corporation; Andrew Framier, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Moderator: Matt Kuntsman, OES
In the United States, bicycle users and pedestrians have increased over the last few decades, especially in metropolitan areas. It won't be an exaggeration to call bike and ped travel, also known as active travel, the transportation mode for the future. Not only does active travel help in promoting environmental sustainability, health, and fitness, it also plays a key role in improving transit ridership, community livability, multimodal transportation planning efforts, and traffic congestion. Bike and ped infrastructure is increasingly becoming safer and well-connected. However, conduits like major bridges and tunnels—where multiple modes of transportation funnel to cross the bridge—are a safety and connectivity concern when protected bike-ped paths are nonexistent. Along the same lines, this presentation intends to tell the story behind the recent addition of a protected bike/ped path on the Richmond-San Rafael (R-SR) Bridge. The R-SR project, with an overall cost of approximately $20M, links over 360 miles of the existing Bay Trail. The R-SR Bridge bike-ped path connects a significant portion of the envisioned 500-mile trail running through all nine Bay Area counties, 47 cities, and 7 toll bridges in the Bay Area. The completion of this bike-ped path across the northernmost bridge in the Bay Area is credited to long-term advocacy by Bay Area Bicyclists, and BATA's and Caltrans' diligent efforts for project oversight and obtaining funding from the governor's office. The presentation will focus on various aspects of the project, including but not limited to long-term advocacy efforts, multiple partnerships (both public and private), customer-oriented innovative solutions, funding hurdles, and fluctuating public support for bike-ped paths. This session helps planners and engineers (public or privately employed) with key real-world lessons on partnerships, the relevance of local projects for larger impact and power of advocacy efforts, and customer-centric innovations. The success story of this long-awaited R-SR bike-ped path will inspire the attendees by highlighting the importance of perseverance and determination to find a solution.
Third Time Is the Charm for the US 14 Corridor through Byron!
Kaye Bieniek, Olmsted County; Craig Vaughn, SRF Consulting Group
Moderator: John Dillingham, Alliant Engineering, Inc.
In 2019, Olmsted County along with its partners at MnDOT, the cities of Byron and Kasson, and Dodge County took on analysis of the corridor for the third time with the goal of creating a future long-term vision that improves safety, manages access, improves freight movement, manages congestion, and encourages economic development. Through collaboration with project partners and a robust public engagement effort that included both in-person and online engagement, consensus was finally reached.
Appalachian Development Highway System Integrated Planning Approach
Emily Love, Stantec; Wanda Austin, NCDOT; Stacy Oberhausen, TGS Engineers
Moderator: Jon Solberg, MnDOT
Corridor K, located in Graham County, NC, proposes roadway improvements as part of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS). The project is located in the southern Appalachian Mountains, which presents a number of challenges associated with its mountainous terrain and rich natural and cultural resources. As such, this portion of Corridor K has been in various stages of development for over forty years and is among the last ADHS corridors to be completed. The overarching goal of the new Corridor K project development process is to bridge the gap between long-range transportation plans and what is studied under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Prior to entering the NEPA environmental review stage, the project team used an innovative corridor planning tool called Quantm. Quantm is an alignment optimization program that develops optimized routes in consideration of design criteria inputs, construction costs, and environmental features. The project's streamlined schedule was made possible largely by the use of Quantm and integrated planning efforts conducted prior to initiating formal NEPA studies. The project team has recently completed and published the Environmental Assessment and anticipates a Finding of No Significant Impact in February 2020.
Highway 14 Expansion Design-Build: Improving Safety with Innovative Designs
Don Demers, SRF Consulting Group, Inc.; Troy Vrieze, Shafer Contracting Company, Inc.; Tory Thompson, MnDOT District 6
Moderator: Keith Farquhar, Mead & Hunt
The Highway 14 Expansion Design-Build is a Corridor of Commerce-funded project to improve safety along US 14 between Owatonna and Dodge Center. The $108 million project will construct 13 miles of a new four-lane freeway from Steele County Road 43 (east of Owatonna) to Dodge Center Creek near Highway 56 North (west of Dodge Center). The project also includes two overpasses and two interchanges plus 10 miles of local roadways. Learn how corridor safety will be enhanced by incorporating innovative designs.
Bus Rapid Transit: The Rush Line Edition
James Gersema, SRF Consulting Group, Inc.; Andrew J. Gitzlaff, Ramsey County; Thomas R. Harrington, Kimley-Horn and Associates
Moderator: Jessica Laabs, Kimley-Horn and Associates
The Rush Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project is a proposed 15-mile transit route with stops between Union Depot in Lowertown Saint Paul and downtown White Bear Lake. The purpose of the project is to provide transit service that satisfies the long-term regional mobility and accessibility needs for businesses and the traveling public and support sustainable development within the study area. Proposed stations are located in Saint Paul, Maplewood, Vadnais Heights, Gem Lake, and White Bear Lake. The Rush Line BRT Project will serve a diverse area, reflected in the unique character of each of the station locations. To maximize accessibility, safety, and opportunity for development or redevelopment, the project team worked collaboratively with Metro Transit, MnDOT, and each of the corridor cities throughout the design and preparation of the environmental document. Through this collaboration, which included geographically focused issue resolution teams, design advanced that reflected a range of treatments to provide transit advantages while maintaining traffic flows and multimodal connections. This project is currently in the environmental review process and will advance into final design in 2021, with construction anticipated to begin in 2024. This presentation will share the project's solutions for integrating dedicated transit use within various transportation corridors and co-location with the Bruce Vento Regional Trail.
Automated Weather Alerts on Roadside Dynamic Message Signs
Gordon Parikh, SRF Consulting Group, Inc.; Garrett Schreiner, MnDOT
Moderator: Mike Leegard, MnDOT
Weather events are significant safety and mobility challenges in Minnesota. MnDOT's Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC) warns travelers of hazardous conditions by posting warning messages on roadside Dynamic Message Signs (DMS). However, the process of selecting signs on which to post an alert, crafting the text of the alert message, and monitoring weather information for updates was a time-consuming, manual process. To streamline this process, MnDOT and Minnesota IT Services contracted with software developers at SRF Consulting Group to develop an extension to MnDOT's open-source DMS control software that automates the process of creating and posting weather warning messages. By leveraging FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), operator workload at the RTMC is substantially reduced during critical weather event response times. This presentation will review the system and describe the experiences encountered during the operational evaluation conducted throughout the winter of 2020–21.
Prototyping Street Crossing Configurations to Improve Pedestrian Safety
Jake Rueter, MnDOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Planner; Mike Weber, Tim Schoonhoven, City of Alexandria
Learn how Widseth and the City of Alexandria, in partnership with MnDOT's District 4 and the Office of Transit and Active Transportation, conducted a phased, low-cost demonstration project to test various pedestrian crossing configurations. By utilizing an existing in-place pedestrian refuge island, the team reconfigured reflective delineator posts and temporarily installed a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) to measure the effectiveness for the safety of pedestrian crossing designs.
Changing the Narrative: Fostering Local Ownership in Regional Planning
Mary Karlsson, Lydia Statz, Kimley-Horn and Associates
In 2020, the Sioux Falls MPO adopted an update to their long-range transportation plan. The region, which includes two counties and five smaller communities, did not have a history of effectively engaging all planning partners in this process. Historically, most community partners have felt that their needs were not included in the plan and that they had no reason to participate. However, the COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique opportunity to change past practice. Four months into the planning process, engagement emphasis shifted away from public events to refocus on MPO partners. The next few months saw many productive virtual conversations with community planners, virtual work sessions, and an increased reliance on trusted local partners to facilitate conversations. By the end of the process, one community partner praised the 2045 LRTP process as the most inclusive he has seen in the region. This presentation will summarize lessons learned from a unique engagement experience and potential applications in other regions with similar challenges.
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. – Networking Time and Lunch
The Route Less Traveled: Engineering and Design Process Improvements for Successful Safe Routes to School Project Implementation
Girma Feyissa, MnDOT State Aid; Renae Kuehl, SRF Consulting Group
Moderator: Sandra Martinez, MnDOT
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) project funding in Minnesota is an incredibly competitive process for cities, counties, and school districts. How can that process be improved for those agencies to set them up for success? This session will highlight a new SRTS Engineering Study, funded by MnDOT State Aid, to conduct traffic studies, review effective safety strategies, plan, conceptually design, and estimate the cost of infrastructure projects in a simplistic and easy-to-understand format. The planning and engineering guidance provided to 16 partner agencies across Minnesota in 2020–2021 sets the stage for vetted projects to be successfully funded and implemented, while producing an effective process that future agencies can replicate and improve upon. Learn how collaboration early in the process with a diverse set of partners (e.g., various MnDOT divisions, railroads, tribal governments) coupled with planning and engineering concepts can enhance the implementation process for SRTS projects in Minnesota.
Improving Roadway Safety through Collaboration
Jacob Bongard, Bolton & Menk, Inc.
Moderator: Will Stein, FHWA Minnesota
Residents along the Cliff Road (CSAH 32) corridor in the City of Eagan voiced their concerns for safety improvements to alleviate a range of issues affecting drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and wildlife. Dakota County, in collaboration with the city, identified enhancements to improve conditions for corridor users while being sensitive to the constraints imposed by nearby wetlands and challenges associated with paralleling the county's largest park, Lebanon Hills. Through a detailed corridor analysis and active collaboration with the public and interested agencies, a range of safety improvements were identified: roundabout, raised median, urban median U-turn, dedicated turn lanes, access restrictions, separated trail facilities, and even turtle tunnels/critter crossings. These improvements led to the acceptance of a recommended alternative that all parties could support—even the turtles.
Digitizing the Physical World: An Examination of Precision Maps for CAV
Phil Magney, VSI Labs
Moderator: Michael Kronzer, MnDOT
In this session you will learn the importance of precision maps and technical reasons why they improve the safety and performance of connected and automated vehicles. We will examine elements of precision maps such as virtual lane lines and localization assets. We will also explore other use cases for precision maps whereby the data can be used to evaluate the AV readiness of a given roadway.
3D Models for Subsurface Utility Engineering Investigations
Michael Picha, T2 Utility Engineers
Moderator: DJ Sosa, WSB
Advances in technology regarding Utility Engineering and Survey are continuing to change the way utilities and other underground structures are investigated, discovered, and mapped for the utility, pipeline, and surveying industries. Innovations in mobile geophysical equipment, processing software, and survey tools allow for generation of 3D modeling of underground utilities, providing highly detailed information to permit designers and constructors to manage or avoid costly utility conflicts. This presentation will focus on the growing importance of developing Subsurface Utility investigation models in three dimensions. There is a lot of detail involved in developing these models, and we'll take a close look at these elements. Included will be a case study of our 3D model delivery for the MnDOT, 3rd Avenue Bridge in downtown Minneapolis. This deliverable incorporation was not only a 3D Utility model with pipe, structures and duct work but also included interactive LiDAR 3D chamber scans and above-ground LiDAR. The application of this technology is ever-evolving and is certainly the next step in providing enhanced 3D delivery in future utility, pipeline, and survey projects.
Mini-Roundabouts: Designing without a Script
Mike Scarmon, Matt Regnier, KL Engineering
Moderator: Peter Harff, MnDOT
The presentation will focus on the designing of mini- and compact-sized roundabouts, describing several specific locations across the state of Wisconsin. The experience will be shared from the perspective of accomplished designers with decades of practice designing complex intersections and conventional roundabouts. Having faced a wide range of the “typical” challenges to account for freight movements, pedestrians, heavy traffic volumes, and limited right of way, the presenters will describe surprising new challenges unique to designing mini-roundabouts, and the creative solutions that were implemented. To begin, a summary of key elements pulled from a comprehensive review of published research and studies about mini-roundabouts across the United States will be presented. This research also includes an exhibition of mini-roundabout examples from the United States and other countries, highlighting the wide range of mini-roundabout applications and design features. The presentation will demonstrate how mini-roundabouts can take shape in many different forms depending on the application and to emphasize the lack of clear geometric design standards. Further, analysis methodologies for mini-roundabouts are not comprehensively developed and require a blend of conventional tools and engineering judgment to estimate capacity and traffic operations. The presentation will be completed with a description of several case studies of example mini-roundabouts by providing background details, challenges and solutions, and lessons learned from the design process. Seeking to engage the audience as we review our experience with the growing practice of mini-roundabout design, we will highlight key features with each example, using pictures and videos captured through use of a drone, specifically with footage showing the unique traffic flow patterns of mini-roundabouts from a bird's eye view.
Metropolitan Council CMP: A Practical Approach to Congestion Management Process Planning
Mary Karlsson, Kimley-Horn and Associates; Dave Burns, Metropolitan Council
Moderator: Paul Czech, MnDOT
In 2019, the Metropolitan Council partnered with Kimley-Horn to develop its first stand-alone Congestion Management Process (CMP) plan. While satisfying federal requirements, the CMP plan went further, introducing an innovative approach to CMP planning that emphasizes practicality, comprehensiveness, and effectiveness. This presentation will summarize the Council's CMP, exploring the systems and methods used by the MPO to monitor and evaluate congestion and work toward continuous improvement of the regional transportation system. The presentation will also present key performance trends reported in the 2019 CMP plan, which will be addressed in future updates of the CMP plan. Finally, the presentation will highlight the innovative aspects of the Council's approach to CMP planning, as established in the 2019 CMP plan.
What KPI Tells Your Data Story? Ramifications of Big Data-driven Transportation Analytics to Sustainable Infrastructure
Richard Lovel, SRF Consulting Group
Moderator: Cory Johnson, MnDOT
Advanced analytics transformed banking, retail, insurance, and health care and is now reshaping other industries including transportation. Historically piles of “big-data” have been generated by transportation processes, yet predominantly traditional methods have been used to try to manage, interpret, and extract value from it. Presenter will discuss potential best practices and mitigation ideas to help generate the conversation, so that together we are prepared for the future.
Innovative Engagement with Artists, Ambassadors, and Community Organizations
Jessica Oh, Jim Skoog, MnDOT
Moderator: Renee Raduenz, MnDOT
MnDOT is partnering with artists, ambassadors, and community organizations to deliver responsive engagement in multiple areas of the organization. One example is the art installation at the Franklin-Hiawatha encampment created by a Native American artist in partnership with MnDOT. MnDOT is also advancing projects that allow for direct contracting with community-based organizations for engagement and the piloting of a community ambassadors program. We will present on our most recent innovative efforts to deliver equitable engagement.
Accommodating OSOW Loads in Roundabouts: Techniques & Lessons Learned
Ben Wilkinson, MSA Professional Services, Inc.
Moderator: Dan Mattison, Sambatek, Inc.
With the increasing frequency of roundabouts on our highway network, the cross-section of traffic they must handle is becoming more and more diverse. Early roundabouts typically were only concerned with buses, large fire apparatus, and basic semis. As roundabouts are placed on freight networks and corridors, accommodations must be considered for vehicles nearing 200 feet in length, carrying loads upwards of twelve feet in width. This presentation will showcase the latest methods for accommodating OSOW vehicles while still maintaining the primary roundabout design controls. Both vertical and horizontal design practices will be discussed, as well as a case study.
Center Village Traffic Study
Brandon Bourdon, Kimley-Horn and Associates; Jen Desrude, City of Burnsville
Moderator: Jessa Trboyevich, Hennepin County
There have been significant changes regarding how consumers shop, and that has impacted existing malls and retail centers across the United States. If local agencies want to influence and properly guide how these retail areas redevelop, proactive planning is required. Learn about one of the key steps that the City of Burnsville has taken to plan and ultimately guide the potential redevelopment of the area surrounding and including the Burnsville Center Mall.
Minnesota, We Are Not Getting Any Younger! Age Friendly Transportation Framework
Kirsten Cruikshank, Georgia Lane, Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging
Moderator: Katie Westphal, CBS Squared
In 2020, the number of older adults 65+ in Minnesota exceeded the number of children under 18. In December 2019, Governor Walz enacted a statewide policy to promote healthy aging that requires engaging with older adults as contributors to the social, economic, and civic fabric of our communities, encouraging physical and psychological health and well-being. Learn about the concept of Age Friendly Communities and the vital role that transportation plays in building stronger communities, not just for older adults, but for everyone.