Mike Martinez, Scott Burfeind, Nick Stadem, and Natalie Lindsoe from HDR gave a TransTalk outlining the various disciplines within transportation engineering. The talk was ideal for sophomores and juniors in civil engineering and transportation fields because it provided a basis of understanding for students who are interested in transportation, but don’t know in what area to focus. Many students begin their undergraduate career not wanting or thinking they will end up in transportation only to find out their interests are very related to the field of transportation. This transtalk laid groundwork to help younger students understand the various disciplines of transportation.
On April 4th MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle gave a special TransTalk. The talk focused primarily on MnDOT, it’s current work and upcoming plans. MnDOT recently revisited their goals and initiatives. Mr. Zelle said they had over 120 goals they were simultaneously working on achieving. They have restructured their goals and now have about 5 primary goals.
He also talked about how they can operate sustainabily and how he sees our future as more multi-modal.
Brian Smalkoski from Kimley-Horn gave a comprehensive presentation on the Southeastern Minnesota Freight Rail Capacity Study carried out by Kimley-Horn. Currently freight rail runs entirely through Rochester, MN, in southeast Minnesota. As freight rail demand increases in the area, there is considerable interest to construct a rail to bypass the city. Various proposals were shown, with their relative benefits and costs.
John Levin, the Director of Service Development from Metro Transit gave our final TransTalk of the semester. Mr. Levin has been with Metro Transit for over 15 years. He discussed the parts of Metro Transit beyond BRT and LRT. His talk primarily focused on local and express bus service throughout the Twin Cities region. These are heavily used parts of the region’s transit system yet often receive less attention than LRT or BRT service.
On November 15th, Therese Polum from SRF was the guest speaker for our second TransTalk of the semester. Mrs. Polum discussed a current project of implementing variable message boards along the I494 corridor in the Twin Cities, as well as expansion to use shoulders as lanes along the congested corridor. Mrs. Polum also talked about a strategy currently used in the Netherlands, and possible implementation here in the Twin Cities.