InTrans / May 12, 2021

InTrans researchers study COVID impacts on speed and safety in Minnesota

Shauna Hallmark (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)
Neal Hawkins

Like in Iowa, Minnesota residents drove significantly less in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) staff noticed a substantial increase in fatal motor vehicle crashes. MnDOT Traffic Safety Engineer Derek Leuer and his colleagues want to know why, particularly in rural areas where fatalities and injury rates were higher.

To help quantify differences in travel speeds due to lower volumes and COVID-19 conditions in Minnesota, Institute for Transportation (InTrans) Director Shauna Hallmark and Associate Director Neal Hawkins are leading a research project co-sponsored by MnDOT and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board. Their work will ultimately help inform agency decisions about potential countermeasures, enforcement, and messaging strategies.

To learn more, read a recent blog post from MnDOT about about the project here.