Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs due to plaque development in the arteries of the legs. It is a highly prevalent public health problem with worldwide prevalence estimated at ~200 million. This inadequate lower extremity blood flow results in exertional ischemic pain called claudication which patients describe as leg pain during physical activity that resolves with rest. Hospital-based supervised exercise training (SET) improves functional ability and quality of life for patients with PAD. However, SET has only recently been approved for reimbursement and both efficacy and key components of the exercise prescription completed by PAD patients–including frequency, intensity, duration, and type of activity–have not been evaluated in real-world clinical settings. In addition, the activity patterns of PAD patients outside of hospital-based SET remains unclear, as most studies have only evaluated ambulatory patterns of PAD patients over short periods of time, using self-report and ambulatory monitoring devices such as pedometers and global-positioning systems (GPS).

This project proposes to combine accelerometer data with contextual activity data collected by Daynamica to measure and describe the physical activity of PAD patients during a 12 week hospital-based SET program. We will use data derived from the Daynamica app to: 1) calculate the dose of physical activity achieved and describe activity patterns of patients within and outside the SET program, 2) determine the effect of enhancements in patient-therapist interactions using the summaries of exercise provided by the Daynamica app, and 3) utilize the experiential knowledge of both PAD patients and providers from the SET program to gain a better understanding of the exercise program and Daynamica app. The project addresses a timely scientific question using advanced sensor technology developed at the University of Minnesota. Results from this study will inform the design of larger studies of SET, and help make future interventions more effective and personalized for those with PAD.

Travel Options Project (TOP)

The Travel Options Project (TOP) is an innovative travel behavior study seeking to understand the transportation ecosystem populated by members of the University of Minnesota community.

Through the use of smartphone software developed for the research, TOP collects travel data with exceptional accuracy in a minimally intrusive format while protecting participants’ privacy. The findings will help guide transportation improvements on campus and off and advance understanding of what factors determine people’s travel choices.

Cars driving on a road near University of Minnesota

Mood State in Transport Environments

The Mood State in Transport Environments study is a travel survey that explores personal mood, satisfaction, and habit in daily travel, such as commuting, grocery shopping, socializing, and other travel activities.

Respondents use Daynamica to track their trips during a week and report their activities, satisfaction, and mood in a brief trip survey associated with each trip. As time use, travel routes and modes are automatically recorded by the app, the data are then be merged with weather, transport, and land use data to consider various factors that may influence travel satisfaction.

Full project description from the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs:

Think about your most recent trip, either going to work, shopping, or picking up your child: if it were possible, would you like to arrive at the destination immediately without making the trip?

Researchers at the School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech are looking to measure mood and satisfaction from daily travel and activities during trips in order to see the factors behind travel satisfaction, sustainable mode choice, and well-being. The study includes an entry survey that asks respondents’ travel patterns, perceptions, and health status.

Results from the study could aid planners and policy makers create a more satisfactory transport system, plan for healthy cities — both physically and mentally, and promote the use of sustainable transport modes such as bicycle, walking, and public transit. It will also contribute to the understanding of autonomous vehicle usage through studying satisfaction and multitasking during trips.

Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy, and Livable Cities

Led by Professors Anu Ramaswami (University of Minnesota), Patricia Culligan (Columbia University) and Armistead Russell (Georgia Institute of Technology), “Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy, and Livable Cities” focuses on a new movement gaining momentum in cities around the world toward “distributed,” or more local, infrastructure. Until now, development trends have resulted in very large infrastructure systems—large roadway networks, regional power grids, and complex networks that supply food and water to cities from distant locations. Emerging trends suggest that cities may be better off building more local systems—urban farms, household and neighborhood solar generation, district energy systems, bicycle paths, car-sharing systems, and more. The research network seeks to identify the best mix of local and large infrastructure systems to achieve urban sustainability, health and livability goals, by examining possibilities in diverse cities across the U.S. and in India. Researchers are exploring physical changes in infrastructure design, the role of new technologies, as well as the changes in public attitudes and policies that can help achieve the infrastructure transitions needed to build desirable cities, today and into the future.

As part of this project, Daynamica has been used to better understand associations between trip modes, activity types, and emotions (happiness, sadness, pain, etc.).