The 2019 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting kicked off over the weekend in Washington, D.C. At the Council of University Transportation Center (CUTC) banquet on Saturday, the University Transportation Center (UTC) Students of the Year were honored. Each UTC nominates an outstanding graduate student who receives a certificate from the U.S. Department of Transportation, a $1000 award, and travel expenses to attend the TRB Annual Meeting. The Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) and the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM), both led by WTI, each had the opportunity to recognize the research accomplishments of an exemplary student this year.
Congratulations to Karalyn Clouser, who was selected as the SURLC Student of the Year. Karalyn has been a Research Associate at WTI for five years and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Sustainable Transportation at the University of Washington. With her background in Planning and GIS, she has provided invaluable research assistance not only to SURLC, but also to the National Center for Rural Road Safety and the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center. Most recently, she completed a project where she developed four different bus route combinations for a potential new transit service in Lebanon, Missouri. She also helped update the Rural ITS Toolkit, a USDOT-sponsored resource on advanced transportation technologies.
Kudos also go out to Zachary Becker who was selected to represent SURTCOM. Zach attends Eastern Washington University, where he is nearing completion of a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning. His research focuses on the mobility and accessibility challenges faced by tribal reservations in northwestern states. He created a parcel-level, GIS database containing network distances from nearly every parcel in Washington state to the nearest healthcare facility. The database compares distances on tribal reservations to distances on nontribal lands. Zach has been invited to present this research at four national conferences.
For the second time in less than six months, TR News magazine has selected a WTI project for its “Research Pays Off” section, which highlights research that has produced tangible and valuable benefits. “Wyoming Intercity Bus Service Study: Finding and Filling the Gaps in Rural Areas” is featured in the March/April 2018 issue of TR News, published by the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board. Authored by Principal Investigator David Kack, the article describes a project conducted for the Wyoming Department of Transportation to identify potential Intercity bus routes that would increase access for underserved communities. The study led directly to the expansion of available services after a transportation provider contacted the Wyoming DOT to initiate a partnership that resulted in new service on one of the identified routes. The full article is posted on the project page.
The November/December 2017 issue of TR News highlighted the One-Stop Shop Traveler Information project in the “Research Pays Off” feature. This article is also available on the WTI website.
(TR News is copyright, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; posted with permission of the Transportation Research Board.)
David Kack, WTI’s Mobility and Public Transportation Manager, traveled to Washington D.C. last week to participate in the First Annual National Mobility Summit. This event, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, was designed to enable a discussion among all of the University Transportation Centers (UTCs) that focused on the topic of mobility. Nine UTCs representing 48 colleges and universities attended, along with representatives from USDOT, the Department of Energy, and several other mobility related entities (for a total attendance of about 60 people).
David gave a ten-minute presentation on both the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC), as well as the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM). During a reception, David displayed a Poster and discussed the challenges of providing mobility in rural and tribal areas. Carnegie Mellon University expects this to be an annual event for the next four years.
The Upper Great Plains Institute at North Dakota State University has released a report that provides information about transit service availability and cost to help the transit industry in the United States meet rural community mobility needs. The information in this report may help managers and lawmakers with policy making, planning, managing operations, and evaluating performance. This report also serves as a national resource for statistics and information on rural transit in the United States. The study was sponsored by USDOT and WTI’s Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) and is available here.
Last week, the National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) highlighted a report by the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) in its online newsletter. The “Intercity Bus Stop Analysis,” authored by WTI’s Karalyn Clouser and David Kack, analyzed demographics in each of the forty-eight contiguous states, and provided an analysis of the number of rural and small urban communities that have access to the Greyhound intercity bus service network. RTAP described the publication as a resource that “should help state DOTs as they determine whether intercity bus service needs are being met in their states.” Read the RTAP newsletter here, or access the full Intercity Bus Stop Analysis on the SURLC website.
A WTI project on developing viable transit options in Wyoming is the subject of a feature article in the Spring 2017 issue of Rural Connections Magazine. David Kack, Jaydeep Chaudhari, and Taylor Lonsdale authored “Exploring Transit Feasibility in Park County, Wyoming,” which highlighted their collaboration with the Powell Economic Partnership, Inc. and the Forward Cody, Inc. to identify transportation alternatives that nurture economic development and expand job opportunities for residents. The full article is available to read here
Natalie Villwock-Witte’s research on the transportation preferences of Millennials in rural areas continues to draw the interest of regional media outlets. Last week, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle picked up the story, including a feature article in its March 10 edition.
Montana State University is highlighting WTI research on its website this week. MSU News posted a feature article about Natalie Villwock-Witte’s research on the transportation preferences of rural Millennials, and the publicity it has received by national publications including Wired Magazine. If you missed it, you can read the article here.