University of Minnesota Driven to Discover



Only Human, but on Wheels
ASME, April 2015
The HumanFIRST laboratory at the University of Minnesota is working on ways to prevent automobile accidents caused by cars swerving out of their lanes. This sort of accident, which often occurs on rural roads, accounts for one third of all crashes and as many as 55 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Driving too fast? Your cell phone will text your mom
MPR News, February 6, 2015
Parents of teenage drivers could soon have a new way to make sure their children stay safe behind the wheel. A cell phone app, developed at the University of Minnesota, monitors teens' driving habits in real time, and it alerts their parents when they break the rules of the road.

App developed at U alerts teens, parents to risky driving
Star Tribune, February 6, 2015
The Teen Driver Support System smartphone app was developed after nearly 10 years of work. The U is now exploring whether the app can be commercialized.

U Of M researchers using smartphones to keep teen drivers safe
WCCO 4 News, February 5, 2015
Crashes are the leading cause of deaths for teenagers. That's why researchers at the University of Minnesota are using smart phones to keep teens safe behind the wheel, Kylie Bears reports

Device texts parents when teens drive poorly
FOX 9 News, February 5, 2015
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been working for 10 years to develop what's called the Teen Driver Support System (TDSS), a smartphone-based application that provides “real-time, in-vehicle feedback to teens about their risky behaviors—and reports those behaviors to parents via text message if teens don't heed the system's warnings.”

U of M Creates Smartphone App to Critique Young Drivers
KSTP 5 News, February 5, 2015
Young drivers can thank the University of Minnesota's new smartphone app called Teen Driver Support System for the chat you'll have with your parents when you get home.


Can an app make teens better drivers?
National Conference of State Legislatures, September 5, 2014
Attendees at NCSL’s Street Smart: Innovations in Traffic Safety Pre-Conference in Minneapolis heard from Janet Creaser with U of M's Roadway Safety Institute about her study of the Teen Driver Support System. The system is an application that was installed on teen drivers’ phones to increase teen driver safety.


Higher ed at the Fair: From Tommie Totes to the U's Gridlock Buster
MinnPost, August 29, 2012
On the other end of the scale, the University of Minnesota occupies eight different fairground locations, from which it hosts a seemingly endless series of events designed to engage an even broader audience. "If you're interested in transportation, we will have our Center for Transportation Studies experts on hand, [with] a game called Distraction Dodger or Gridlock Buster to better familiarize Minnesotans with the effects of playing with your cell phone in your car or trying to text," according to Jason Rohloff, special assistant to the president for government and community relations.

Distracted-driving video game aims to teach teens
WCCO 4 TV News, August 28, 2012
The State Fair is the perfect place to talk about distracted driving. Whether you’re in a golf cart or a car, all of your focus has to be on the road, which is often filled with people. Now the University of Minnesota hopes a new video game will hit the point home to young drivers. To see how the game works, watch the video. 

HumanFIRST Program partnership develops Safe Teen Car System
Researchers from the HumanFIRST Program at the University of Minnesota's ITS Institute and the private research company Westat have developed a prototype system for new cars. It's called the Safe Teen Car System, and it actually gives teens feedback to help them develop safer driving habits. Sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the project is an extension of a national focus on teen driving safety.

Distraction Dodger premieres at Teen Safe Driving Summit
Distraction Dodger, an online game developed by the ITS Institute, premiered at the 4th Annual Teen Safe Driving Summit on Thursday, February 2, at the Rosemount Community Center. The game, designed to help teens and young adults understand the importance of concentrating on driving, has already received attention with an award at the 2011 International Serious Play Conference.


Good Question: Are cell phones the most distracting?
WCCO-TV, December 13, 2011
The National Transportation Safety Board wants every state to ban all cell phones used by drivers—no texting, no talking, not even hands-free. But are cell phones more distracting than any of the other distractions inside our cars? According to ITS Institute Director Max Donath, crash statistics indicate that there is a problem. "The issue really is there are so many more people using their smartphones, there’s so many people who think they can get away with texting," he said. "More drivers are exposing themselves to this particular distracting behavior, which is why we're seeing so many problems."


Using tech to curb deaths on Minnesota's roadways
Minnesota Public Radio, August 10, 2010
ITS Institute Director Max Donath and HumanFIRST Director Mike Manser discuss a range of technologies that save lives on the road, from digital maps and devices that keep drivers from drifting out of their lane to phones that alert parents if a young driver is violating Minnesota's graduated driver's license rules by being out too late or having too many passengers in the car. Seat belts are a crucial safety technology, as well.

U turns to technology to aid teen drivers and their parents
Star Tribune, May 1, 2010
U of M researchers are hoping intervention technology will make teenagers better drivers. The Teen Driver Support System goes well beyond seat belts and cell phones.


Drivers and their toys: Unsafe at any speed?
Star Tribune, September 30, 2009
Federal officials, transportation experts, and academics are convening in Washington, D.C., for a first-ever summit on how to combat distracted driving.... "This is not a new topic," said Michael Manser, who's attending the Washington summit in his role as director of the HumanFIRST program at the U's Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute.


Newest Source of Teen Ire: Webcams in Their Cars
Washington Post, October 24, 2008
Maryland study involving webcams for teen drivers yields similar results to a prior Minneapolis study.

Motorcycles and alcohol: Research examines a dangerous combination
CTS Research E-News, September 2008
This summer, with gas prices at an all-time high and warm weather beckoning riders to hit the road, motorcycles and scooters are more popular than ever.

Sleepy driver takes a test drive
KMSP-TV Fox 9 News, May 21, 2008
Using the University of Minnesota HumanFIRST virtual driving simulator, researchers can monitor how a sleepy driver isn't able to drive safely.


Study: Rural Minnesota Drivers Take More Risks Than Urban Drivers
Fox 9 News, December 18, 2007
Rural drivers -- especially pickup drivers -- have more relaxed attitudes toward safety on the road, according to a new University of Minnesota study.

U of M testimony before MN Senate Transportation Committee
Minnesota Senate, Finance Transportation Budget and Policy Division Committee Hearing, January 30, 2007


Minnesota Medicine article on reducing fatal crashes features ITS Institute experts, technology
Minnesota Medicine, May 2006

Teen driving research featured on Fox 9 News
KMSP Fox 9 News, February 27, 2006


Inside ITS article highlights Minnesota's Toward Zero Deaths program
Inside ITS, 2005

'U' research on driving hits new gear
Star Tribune, September 10, 2005

Driver distraction and cell phone research featured in news media
April 2005