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Research Spotlights

Learn more about the research completed for MDOT through Research Spotlights and Spotlight Videos, which provide a more in-depth summary of the research project and an interview with the project manager. To find out more about how the research impacted MDOT, see the Implementation Spotlights to learn about how research results were incorporated into MDOT operations.

Research Spotlights

Alerting drivers to unsafe winter conditions on Michigan bridges

Many serious vehicle crashes occur on icy bridges in winter. New MDOT research analyzes the effectiveness of weather-activated signs in reducing vehicle speed and decreasing crashes on icy bridges. Researchers evaluated and recommended sign types, such as including an LED border and displaying a warning message to drivers when there are wintry weather conditions.
Spotlight for SPR-1728

Making high-speed corridors safer for pedestrians and cyclists

Many serious pedestrian and bicycle crashes occur along high-speed corridors, often at night. New MDOT research analyzes the locations of these crashes and assesses the primary factors causing them. Researchers evaluated and recommended countermeasures, such as increasing the amount of lighting at intersections, using high-visibility markings and installing traffic control devices, to effectively reduce the occurrence of crashes.
Spotlight for SPR-1734

New methods for preventing and repairing bridge deck fascia damage

A new MDOT research project highlights the main causes of bridge deck concrete fascia deterioration. A new tool will assess damage and determine if repairs are warranted. New repair methods for existing bridges and design options for new bridges will support safe and sustainable structures. 
Spotlight for SPR-1730

Refining data and tools to design cost-effective, sustainable pavement

Enhancements to MDOT’s pavement design process will support MDOT engineers in designing cost-effective and sustainable pavement. The process has been updated with new data, sampling and testing protocols, and locally calibrated models to represent Michigan-specific conditions.  
Spotlight for SPR-1723

Spotlight Videos

Preparing MDOT's Workforce for Future Transportation Technologies

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 highlights the technologies on the horizon and how the agency is preparing to meet demands.

SPR-1699 Spotlight

Slope Restoration on Urban Freeways

Sloped grassy areas along urban freeways used to be a landscaping challenge, but new MDOT Research shows which plants grow best in these tough environments. The results are not only beautiful but environmentally responsible and safer.

SPR-1701 Spotlight

Gateway Treatment Alternatives for Pedestrian Crossings

Keeping pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorists safe is a priority for MDOT. By listening to experts and learning about strategies and technologies across the country, MDOT has given Michigan’s traffic managers and designers better tools and resources to create safer and more accessible intersections and roadways.
SPR-1638 Spotlight

Applying Multi-Beam Sonar for Inspection for Bridge Scour and Performance of Bridge

Unmanned surface vessels (USVs) offer bridge inspectors a way to check for bridge scour from the safety of the shore. This little remote-controlled boat can gather critical underwater data using sonar and other technologies, alerting officials to dangerous bridge scour more quickly and safely than traditional methods. Watch the video to see a USV in action.
SPR-1682 Spotlight

Effectiveness of Green Strobes on Winter Maintenance Vehicles and Equipment

Increasing the visibility of MDOT’s winter maintenance vehicles required extensive research, testing and even a change in state law. Watch our new video to see how this #MDOTResearch innovation came together and the optimal configuration of colored lights and flash patterns for snowplows that make everyone on the road safer. 
SPR-1696 Spotlight

Implementation of UAVs for Assessment of Transportation Infrastructure Phase II

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, give MDOT engineers a way to monitor traffic, conduct bridge assessments, inspect construction sites, assess emergencies and more – all while keeping their specially licensed MDOT operators out of harm’s way. Watch the video to see these remote-controlled powerhouses in action.
SPR-1674 Spotlight

Implementation Spotlights

Green Strobes Added to MDOT Winter Maintenance Vehicles Increases Visibility

An MDOT research project revealed exactly how green strobes could be added to the existing amber warning lights on Michigan’s winter maintenance vehicles to increase visibility and safety. With that data, MDOT has added the lights to thousands of vehicles and the result has been overwhelmingly positive. Our new Implementation Spotlight newsletter explains how this simple change has made a big difference in our state.
SPR-1692 Spotlight