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RAd Readings

Department of Transportation

RAd Readings

RAd Readings is a new resource for Research Administration news and updates regarding research projects. Stay up to date with the latest research news and learn more about how MDOT Research impacts the transportation industry.

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September 2023 STIC Transportation Highlights Presentations - Recordings Available

November 30, 2023

The State Transportation Innovation Council’s Innovation Highlights presentations are available for viewing. Watch the following videos to learn about the latest transportation innovations: 1) Speed Feedback Signs, 2) ROW-to-GIS, 3) Bridge Deck Fascias, 4) Concrete Sustainability, 5) E-Ticketing, 6) Complete Streets to Complete Design, 7) Connected Work Zones, and 8) Safe System Approach

Modernizing Right of Way Maps with Geographic Information Technology

October 05, 2023

State employees and members of the public who rely on access to MDOT’s right of way information quickly find that the system reflects different eras of archive technology. New MDOT research presents a needs analysis and design plans for modernizing decades of data using geographic information system (GIS) technology. 

Research Spotlight: Modernizing right of waymaps with geographic information system technology

Evaluating Michigan’s Ferry Services, Funding and Policies to Support Island Access

September 07, 2023

Ferries remain an essential transportation link for Michigan’s islands. Thousands of residents, business owners and visitors rely on island ferry service to access healthcare, emergency services, jobs, and other economic opportunities. New MDOT research assesses how the state’s ferry operators ensure safe and equal mobility for island residents, offering recommendations to address future needs based on rider feedback and best practices from other states. 

Research Spotlight: Determining State and Federal Transportation Responsibilities to Residents on Islands

Evaluating Pavements Designed for Longer Life

August 31, 2023

Long-life pavements are more expensive to build than traditional roads but require less maintenance over time. To determine whether they’re a good long-term investment, a new MDOT research project evaluated four sample pavements – and all of the building materials and practices that were used to make them – to learn just how much taxpayers could save when a road lasts 50 years or more. 

Research Spotlight: Evaluation of MDOT’s Long-Life Pilot Projects

Maximizing the Safety, Economic and Environmental Benefits of Michigan Roundabouts

August 22, 2023

While all roundabouts are generally safer than traditional intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, a new MDOT Research project found that location, design, signage and other factors can make a big difference on driver behavior and system performance. The project’s findings will help Michigan DOT plan and design future roundabouts that are safe and effective for all types of road users.

Research Spotlight: Evaluating the performance and safety effectiveness of roundabouts - An update

Revised Concrete Cure Times Reduce Duration of Bridge Closures

July 27, 2023

After repairing a concrete bridge deck, the Michigan Department of Transportation’s policy requires waiting nearly a month for the concrete to cure before it can be treated and the bridge reopened to traffic. But new MDOT research shows the concrete may be ready sooner than previously thought. As each day of closure can cost thousands of dollars in construction and traffic management costs, reopening sooner can save significantly.

Research Spotlight: Effects of Concrete Cure Time on Epoxy Overlay and Sealant Performance

New Recent Research Results Report!

June 15, 2023

We welcome you to review the Recent Research Results Report highlighting the past two years of research conducted by The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Reviewing this collection of project summaries will inform you of the research engaged in and provide a sense of the value of the research conducted.

Recent Research Results Report

Measuring Michigan’s Highway Network Performance is Critical for Planning

May 4, 2023

Ever wonder how Michigan DOT estimates the travel times on the state’s highways? By monitoring traffic volumes, average speed and other data, MDOT can measure the performance of Michigan’s transportation network, provide accurate travel predictions and make a variety of transportation-related decisions and strategic investments to keep traffic flowing. A new MDOT Research project explains how it all works.

Research Spotlight: Assessing System Performance of the Michigan Trunkline: Measures and Analytical Procedures for Planning and Operations

Enhancing Safety at Short-Storage Railroad Crossings

April 6, 2023

Railroad crossings can be tricky for drivers, especially when there isn't much room for a line of vehicles to wait. A new Michigan DOT research project studied driver behavior and provides recommendations for adding signs and pavement markings to make these intersections safer for everyone.

Research Spotlight: Safety Enhancements at Short-Storage-Space Railroad Crossings

New Tool Helps MDOT Customize Roadway Designs for All Users

January 12, 2023

Modern road design practices recognize that each community has its own transportation needs, with a variety of social, economic and environmental factors influencing whether a person walks, bikes or uses another form of transportation to get around. A new Michigan DOT tool helps road designers work with communities to consider the larger context and build features that suit their location and meet all users’ needs. 

Research Spotlight: Developing a Consistent Data Driven Methodology to Multimodal, Performance Based and Context Sensitive Design

Remedies for Concrete Bridge Beam Deterioration

December 15, 2022

Perennially exposed to harsh weather, prestressed concrete bridges built in the 1970s and 80s may be subject to a unique type of cracking. This project produced new methods and tools to identify the damage and prioritize bridge maintenance to repair and prevent future damage.

Research Spotlight: Concrete Deterioration of Prestressed Bridge Beams

Integrating Drones into MDOT’s Day-to-Day Traffic and Asset Management

September 22, 2022

Drones can help Michigan DOT collect data in support of a variety of transportation-related operations. Uses include traffic monitoring and analysis, bridge inspections, 3-D modeling, construction quality control, design survey work and more. 

Research Spotlight: Integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems Data Collection into Day-to-Day Usage for Transportation Infrastructure – A Phase III Project

New Partners in Research Website

September 08, 2022

MDOT Research Administration is launching a new Partners in Research website to highlight the diverse group of universities, consultant groups, and transportation leaders who have recently completed, are currently working, or have interest in MDOT research partners with our office. The website is intended to be a resource for public and private transportation stakeholders interested in our research partners and their specific expertise’s.

Quarterly calls for partners to be featured on the website will be sent out via GovDelivery and a link to a survey will also be available on the Partners in Research website for anyone interested in being included on the page.

For any questions, please contact

Partners in Research

Michigan Facilities Support Connected Vehicle Research

August 25, 2022

When MDOT wants to better understand driver behavior, test traffic control strategies and explore cutting-edge smart vehicle technology under safe and realistic conditions, it turns to Mcity, a world-class testing and research facility it helped to build right here in Michigan. A new MDOT Research project assessed Mcity’s current capabilities and future potential to support ground-breaking research on connected vehicles, related infrastructure and other transportation topics.

Research Spotlight: Connected/Automated Vehicle and Infrastructure Research

Research in Progress Update

August 02, 2022

The newly constructed Network Arch Bridge for Second Avenue in Detroit made its move to its permanent location over I-94 starting July 22nd and ending on July 29th. Research Administration worked with Western Michigan University to install a monitoring system studying the stresses on this structure during construction, the move, and after construction is complete. Our research project, Operational Baseline and Structural Health Monitoring for the 2nd Avenue Network Arch Bridge, will help answer questions about how this one of a kind structure performs. For an interesting read, check out, Moving a 5 Million-Pound BridgeTo see the bridge move in action, see video link below!  

2022 Second Avenue Bridge Move over I-94 Time-lapse

Tools to Protect Coastal Roadways from High Water

July 28, 2022

As water levels in the Great Lakes rise, coastal roads and other infrastructure in Michigan are at risk of damage from flooding and erosion. MDOT has a range of options at its disposal for mitigating the impacts of these hazards, from temporary strategies such as sandbagging to long-term solutions like redesigning the roadway. New research produced a decision guide and other tools to help the agency identify where intervention is most needed and which investment will produce the greatest benefits.

Research Spotlight: Infrastructure Protection and Rehabilitation Response to High Lake Levels

Preparing MDOT's Workforce for Future Transportation Technologies

July 01, 2022

Transportation technology is evolving quickly, leading to safer and more efficient design, construction, maintenance and inspection practices in Michigan. By anticipating the skills workers will need to manage and operate these technologies throughout the next decade, MDOT has developed a strategic plan to prepare its workforce for the challenges of the future. Our new video, available highlights the technologies on the horizon and how the agency is preparing to meet demands.

Research Video Spotlight: High-Tech Workforce Preparation for Emerging Transportation Technologies

Risk Management Tools Help MDOT Deliver Projects on Time and on Budget

May 26, 2022

Thoroughly assessing and managing risk is critical for keeping construction projects on time and within budget. To make sure the risk management process goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible, Michigan DOT initiated new MDOT Research to discover the tools and techniques used by risk managers across the country. The insight guided researchers as they developed a new and improved set of customized tools, documents and guidance to ensure MDOT’s construction projects are on track to save time and money.

Research Spotlight: Innovative Contracting Risk Management Best Practices

Benefits of Dynamic Message Signs on Driver Behavior and Traffic Flow

May 19, 2022

Dynamic message signs can be updated frequently to give drivers real-time updates about crashes, lane closures, inclement weather, and other relevant information. New MDOT research provides insight into the length, display duration and wording of effective messages so that drivers receive the info they need to make safe decisions in real-time. With greater understanding of how dynamic message signs should be used to get drivers’ attention, MDOT can maximize its budget and keep traffic moving safely. 

Research Spotlight: Quantifying Effectiveness and Impacts of Digital Message Signs on Traffic Flow

Evaluation of Dynamic Speed Feedback Signs on Freeway Interchange Ramps

May 05, 2022

Slowing down and adhering to posted speed limits are keys to reducing deadly crashes, especially at freeway exit ramps. New MDOT research shows that targeting custom messages from dynamic speed feedback signs can be a powerful life-saving tool, alerting drivers when they’re going too fast and reminding them to lower their vehicle’s speed around curves.

Research Spotlight: Dynamic signs along Michigan’s freeway ramps improve driver behavior

Updating Best Practices to Keep Pedestrians and Bicyclists Safe

April 28, 2022

Bicyclists and pedestrians made up about 20% of all traffic fatalities in Michigan in 2020. To make roadways safer for these vulnerable users, Michigan DOT is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the state’s infrastructure with nonmotorists’ needs in mind. This MDOT Research project identified and documented a variety of design strategies and technologies that have worked well in other communities across the country. That info, combined with input from stakeholder groups across the state, will ensure all road users are considered in decisions involving Michigan’s transportation system.

Research Spotlight: Synthesis of National Best Practices on Pedestrian and Bicycle Design, Guidance, and Technology Innovations

Evaluating Safety and Traffic Improvements Along Michigan’s First Flex Route

April 14, 2022

The 9-mile stretch of US-23 north of Ann Arbor is Michigan’s first flex route, but given its success it likely won’t be the last. With nearly 70% of users reporting their satisfaction with the route’s technologically advanced traffic mitigation strategies, MDOT now has a prototype for adding flex routes to other congestion-prone roadways in the state.

Research Spotlight: Evaluation of an Active Traffic Management System with Part-Time Use of the Inside Shoulder

Innovative Contracting Provides Flexibility to Customize Project Results

April 07, 2022

MDOT’s innovative contracting program provides incentives for contractors to meet certain objectives – from completing projects more quickly to getting jobs done with less travel disruption – and rewards professionals who come up with thoughtful, creative solutions. New MDOT Research shows which strategies work best to achieve the desired results, leading to greater innovation and increasing efficiency on projects across the state. 


Restoring Sloped Areas Along Michigan's Urban Freeways

March 24, 2022

High winds, poor soil, pollution and steep terrain all contribute to a harsh and hard-to-grow environment along Michigan’s urban highways. Turf grass has traditionally been the go-to greenery solution, but its high-maintenance needs and short root system make it less ideal for these sloped areas. Determined to create green spaces that can prevent erosion with less upkeep, MDOT conducted a multi-year study that identified a variety of plants and installation practices that can result in beautiful and beneficial landscapes in even the toughest environments.

Research Video Spotlight: Slope Restoration on Urban Freeways

MDOT Research Contributes To Driverless Cars

March 02, 2022

A recent BBC article, How Driverless Cars Will Change Our Worldhighlights the research being completed at Mcity to help further develop the Autonomous Vehicles, or driverless cars. Did you know, MDOT has contributed $3 million in research funding to the facility? Learn more about the research project behind the funding by visiting the link below.

Connected/Automated Vehicle and Infrastructure Research

Measuring the Effect and Value of Intermediate Diaphragms on Bridges

February 10, 2022

A new Research Spotlight highlights MDOT’s efforts to determine when intermediate diaphragms should be used for stability in certain precast concrete beam bridges. Modeling data will help MDOT’s bridge designers decide when and what types of beams require extra lateral support.

Research Spotlight: Development of Guidelines for the Use of Intermediate Diaphragms on Precast Concrete Beam Superstructures

MDOT Prepares its Workforce for Emerging Transportation Technologies

February 03, 2022

A highly trained and specialized transportation workforce will help MDOT make the most of emerging technologies for years to come. A new MDOT Research report forecasts the skills that will be needed and recommends strategies to retrain current staff and recruit new workers to meet the demands of the future.

Research Spotlight: High-Tech Workforce Preparation for Emerging Transportation Technologies

New Standards Foster Successful Roadside Planting

January 06, 2022

Grassy slopes along Michigan’s urban freeways once posed safety hazards and logistical challenges for MDOT maintenance crews. But thanks to new MDOT Research that shows just what to plant and how to achieve great results, these areas can become useful green spaces that reduce erosion, keep pollutants out of Michigan’s waterways and practically eliminate the need for maintenance. 

Research Spotlight: Slope Restoration on Urban Freeways