The Transportation Research Record has published “Traffic Safety along Tourist Routes in Rural Areas,” authored by Yiyi Wang, David Veneziano, Sam Russell and Ahmed Al-Kaisy. The article is based on research that investigated the contributing factors for crash severity and crash likelihood of visiting drivers in or near three national parks in rural areas, and whether there were diffences in crash risk for local and tourist drivers. The abstract is available on the MSU Publications website, and the full article is available through TRB.
Wang, Y., Veneziano, D., Russel, S. and Al-Kaisy, A. Traffic Saftey Along Tourist Routes in Rural Areas.Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board,
No. 2568, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., 2016, pp. 55–63.
Last week, WIRED magazine published a feature article on its website about one of WTI’s projects documenting Millennial transportation trends. “Rural Millennials Still Dig Driving. They Have No Choice” highlighted the findings of WTI’s survey of Millennials in four states (Minnesota, Montana, Washington, and Wisconsin) to determine whether there are differences in transportation preferences between Millennials in urban and rural areas. Principal Investigator Natalie Villwock-Witte was interviewed for the article about her project, which found that 87% of rural Millennials prefer to drive themselves to work, as compared to 75% or Millennials in urban areas. Read the full article here.
Last week, Tony Clevenger was interviewed by Newstalk 770 out of Calgary, Canada for the morning news report. The story highlighted the findings from research in Banff National Park that conclude that wildlife crossings on the Trans-Canada Highway have reduced collisions with wildlife by as much as 80% over the last 10 years. Tony was also interviewed on this topic for a feature story by the Calgary Herald.
Stateline, a national website covering trends in state policy, published a feature story on a recent WTI project on the pros, cons, and costs of converting low-volume paved roads to unpaved roads. In “Dirt Roads Help Some Cities, Counties Drive Down Costs,” Stateline interviewed Principal Investigator Laura Fay about her research for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, which sought to explore how commonly and under what conditions transportation agencies are converting paved roads to unpaved roads. Through a national survey, the project identified 48 agencies that have completed conversions, 70 conversion projects, and 550 miles of converted roadway. Click here to read the Stateline article.
On Sunday, The Missoulian published a feature article called “Wildlife crossings reveal quirks in road safety,” highlighting the completion of WTI’s US 93 wildlife crossings evaluation project on US 93. P.I.Marcel Huijser is interviewed in the article, which you can read here. As we reported in last week’s Newswire, the project represents a 14 year collaboration by WTI, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The full report is available on theMDT website.
Understanding the Cultural Influences related to Driving After Cannabis: The Center for Health and Safety Culture completed a research project with the Transportation Pooled Fund on Traffic Safety Culture. The purpose of this research project was to understand which specific aspects of traffic safety culture predict the decision to drive under the influence of cannabis (DUIC). As more states decriminalize and legalize medical and recreational use of cannabis (marijuana), traffic safety leaders and public health advocates have growing concerns about DUIC. The results of this project help distinguish differences in culture between users and non-users of cannabis regarding traffic safety as well as provide recommendations for next steps. To review the final report, please visithttp://www.mdt.mt.gov/research/projects/cannabis-use.shtml. To watch a recording of a webinar on this subject, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBhCM7MVq3o.
WTI’s Road Ecology program is building a growing presence in Latin America. Recently, researchers have been invited to present at several high profile conservation conferences and workshops, with more collaborations on the horizon for 2017.
In November, Tony Clevenger attended and gave the keynote presentation at the 1st Iberoamerican Congress on Biodiversity Conservation and Transportation at the Federal University in Lavras, Brasil. New environmental impact assessment laws in Brazil have generated growing interest in road effects, impacts assessments, and planning measures to mitigate impacts. Tony is also helping the Congress organizers plan a wildlife crossing design parameters workshop in fall 2017, modeled after the ARC (Animal Road Crossing) Solutions workshop in Bozeman, Montana. Tony is currently co-supervsing two graduate students at the University of Lavras, with additional educational exchanges planned for later in 2017.
Also in November, Tony Clevenger attended a two-day workshop in Mexico City, “TALLER NACIONAL INTERSECTORIAL DE MITIGACIÓN DE IMPACTOS POR OBRAS DE INFRAESTRUCTURA SOBRE EL JAGUAR Y SU HÁBITAT”[National workshop on mitigating impacts of infrastructure on jaguars and their habitat]. The goal of the workshop was to bring together high level administrators from the Ministries of Transportation, Energy, Tourism, Pemex, and Protected Areas, to share information regarding threats and alternatives to mitigate infrastructure impacts on jaguar populations, connectivity, and habitat in the Mayan Forest (Yucatan states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Merida). From this workshop a pilot project has been initiated with interagency involvement to identify critical areas for mitigating infrastructure impacts on jaguars in Yucatan, Belize, and Guatemala.
Later in 2017, outreach opportunities exist in Central America. There is a high level government meeting planned for the Mesoamerican countries that will take place in Costa Rica in October 2017. In response to a Mesoamerican initiative (Puebla to Panama) to construct more than 30,000 km of new roads in this region, governments are exploring green infrastructure to help protect their rich biodiversity and maintain connected habitats and wildlife populations.
Breaking News – WTI named “Beyond Traffic Innovation Center” by USDOT
This morning, the US Department of Transportation announced that the Western Transportation Institute has been selected as one of its new “Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers.” These Centers will build on the Department’s Beyond Traffic 2045 Report, which outlined critical transportation trends for the next 30 years. According to USDOT, the selected centers were recognized as “forward-thinking and influential institutions that are capable of driving solutions to the challenges identified in Beyond Traffic through research, curriculum, outreach, and other activities.” WTI is one of only 18 universities nationwide to receive this designation; moreover, it is one of only three centers selected to focus on the mobility challenges in rural areas of the United States. Watch for updates as we receive more details on our new center!
The Montana Department of Transportation has released the final report for “US 93 North Post-Construction Wildlife Vehicle Collision and Wildlife Crossing Montioring on the Flathead Indian Reservation Between Evaro and Polson, Montana.” This report summarizes 14 years of research conducted between 2002 and 2015. The research focused on the effectiveness of the wildlife crossing structures installed along 56 miles of US 93, aimed at reducing collisions with large mammals. The study also documented how often the crossing structures were used by wildlife, specifically by white-tailed deer, mule deer, and black bear. Finally, the researchers conducted cost-benefit analyses and formulated recommendations. Principal Investigator Marcel Huijser led the research for all 14 years, in partnership with numerous past and present WTI researchers, including Amanda Hardy, Tiffany Allen, and James Begley. In addition, Whisper Camel-Means (a former WTI graduate fellowship student) and her colleagues at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes were key contributors.
Thanks to the WTI staff members who shared photos from the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, held in Washington, D.C. last week. Numerous staff facilitated workshops, presented their research, or submitted posters.
Natalie Villwock-Witte presided over a TRB session on “Workforce, Millennials, and the Implications of Baby Boomer Retirement.” Session presenters included (from left to right): Dr. Stephanie Ivey (Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Memphis), Joan M. McDonald (most recently former New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner), Natalie, and Yvonne Lopez-Diaz (Human Resources Director and Vice President at HNTB).
Alex Roy (left) and Dan Brooks (right) present posters on alternative transportation on federal lands. Alex and Dan are Transportation Scholars through the Public Lands Transportation Institute.