Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies.

Researchers from WTI’s Winter Maintenance program have published “Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies.” This case study investigated the corrosive effects of chemicals used for snow and ice control operations, to better understand the potential impact on transportation infrastructure and motor vehicles.

Citation: Shi, X., Zhou, G., and Muthumani, A. (2017).  Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies. Case Studies in Construction Materials, vol 7: pp 1-14.

Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho

Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament and colleagues in the MSU Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences will have an article published in the Spring 2017 edition of Native Plants Journal. “Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho” documents their field study to evaluate the success of sustainable roadside revegetation strategies on 16 sites in Idaho.

Citation: Ament, R., Pokorny, M., Mangold, J., and Orloff, N. (2017). Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho. Native Plants Journal, vol 8 (1): pp 4-19.

Benefits of Wildlife Crossings Touted in New Video

Vox Media has produced a new video about wildlife crossing structures, which it released to its news website last week.  “Wildlife crossings stop roadkill. Why aren’t there more?” is a six-minute video that introduces why wildlife crossings are needed, how they work, where they are currently used, and how effective they are. Much of the foundational information and data about wildlife vehicle collisions is attributed to the 2008 National Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study and Report to Congress, which was authored by WTI’s Marcel HuijserPat McGowenTony ClevengerRob Ament, and additional researchers from the WTI Road Ecology program. Also, Tony Clevenger is interviewed on-camera in the video about the successful wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park.  The video is available to view on the website.

Nic Ward Interviewed for TV during the Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety in Appleton, Wi

Thumbnail image of Nic Ward answering questions relating to safety Culture for abc2 in Appleton Wisconsin.Dr. Nicholas Ward answers questions for abc2 TV during the Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety in Appleton, Wi. Specifically he discusses the importance of Safety Culture as a tool to reduce traffic related crashes and fatalities. The whole interview can be seen here.–441567323.html

Interested in Road Safety Culture? For an introductory video, watch this video created by the National Center for Rural Road Safety.

Gallatin County Approves Funding for Skyline Bus Service

On August 15, the Gallatin County Commission approved $68,500 in funding for the Skyline bus service in Big Sky, Montana, for fiscal year 2018.  This is the second year in a row that the Commission has invested in the service, according to WTI Program Manager David Kack, who also serves the Big Sky Transportation District Coordinator. The new funding was mentioned in a feature article about the growth and development of the region on the website of Explore Big Sky magazine. Read more about WTI’s history helping to develop the Skyline service here.

Cold Climate Researchers and Students Exchange Ideas at Summer Workshop

Image of workshop attendees. The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states
The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states

On August 10-11, 2017, the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) hosted its annual summer workshop at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman.  CESTiCC is a USDOT University Transportation Center, led by a consortium that includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Montana State University (WTI) and WSU.  The annual forum provides an opportunity for the Center to showcase its projects, and for researchers to exchange ideas on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues, which spurs collaboration and new directions for upcoming research.

The presentations covered a broad range of topics related to transportation in cold climates, including the properties, durability and longevity of construction materials; winter maintenance practices and products; and impacts of transportation on water and air quality.  Laura Fay, WTI’s Winter Maintenance and Effect Program Manager, presented her research on “Lab Testing of Alternative Deicers and Estimation of Remaining Deicers on Pavement,” and WTI Research Scientist Matt Blank gave a presentation on “Sizing Hydraulic Structures in Cold Regions to Balance Fish Passage, Stream Function, and Operation and Maintenance Cost.”

Image of attendees sitting at tables discussion posters. Students present their research and network with professional researchers at poster session
Students present their research and network with professional researchers at poster session

Six graduate students were also invited to discuss their research in a student poster session and competition, providing an excellent professional development opportunity for young researchers. The second day of the event featured tours of the WSU lab facilities, and a field trip to the Kamiak Butte Park, a National Natural Landmark that boasts more than 150 bird, mammal, and vegetation species.


Summer Campers Set Sail with Montana Governor

At WTI’s annual Summer Transportation Camp (STC), student participants were treated to not one, but two special opportunities to meet and spend time with Montana Governor Steve Bullock.  During a morning tour of the Montana Department of Transportation in Helena, the Governor greeted the group and answered questions on transportation and other issues. Later that afternoon, the campers boarded a boat tour of the Gates of the Mountain canyon, and to their surprise, the “celebrity guest” captain for the day was Governor Bullock!


Montana Governor Steve Bullock (center) with STC students at Gates of the Mountain

 Each year, WTI hosts the Summer Transportation Camp, a two-week program for high school students to encourage pre-college interest in transportation careers and enhance their academic and professional development skills.  During the camp, students live on the Montana State University campus, and participate in a comprehensive academic program, field trips, a career and college counseling component, as well as team-building and sports and recreation activities.

 This year, 19 students from across Montana attended the camp.  In addition to the exciting day in Helena with the Governor, other activities this year included a “CSI” themed class with a crash scene investigator from the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), a coding project with MSU Computer Science graduate students, a tour of the Gallatin Field airport, and the always popular team competition to build and test balsa wood bridges.

 Balsa Bridges - edited

STC student teams test the strength of the balsa wood bridges they constructed

Read more about the Summer Transportation Camp, and WTI’s other educational programs.  


On the Climb to Big Sky – Skyline Bus Service Growing in Popularity

The Skyline bus service from the Bozeman area to Big Sky is not just for skiers anymore.  Ridership grew by almost 9% last year, or an additional 16,000 rides, and a lot of the riders are traveling to Big Sky for work, not play.  In an interview on KBZK TV, WTI Program Manager David Kack (who is also the Coordinator for the Big Sky Transportation District), explained that 83 % of the Big Sky workforce commutes from surrounding communities like Bozeman and Belgrade, which likely accounts for part of Skyline’s growth in ridership.  David was also interviewed recently by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle regarding Skyline’s efforts to seek funding from the Gallatin County Commission to help pay for additional service to meet the growing demand. To learn more about WTI’s work with the Big Sky Transportation District, click here.

Road Ecology Researchers Lead Public Meeting in Wyoming

Marcel Huijser and Rob Ament traveled to Jackson, Wyoming on July 19, 2017 to collect public feedback on a proposed wildlife plan for Teton County.  WTI is leading the development of a Wildlife Crossings Master Plan for the county, which will propose strategies for reducing the impacts of roads on wildlife that live in or migrate through the area.  At the meeting, Marcel (Principal Investigator) and Rob presented preliminary findings, such as the collision hotspots identified, as well as a number of potential solutions, such as overpasses, underpasses, sensors, and improved lighting.  Members of the public who attended the forum had the opportunity to review maps, ask questions, and make suggestions regarding elements of the plan, which is scheduled for completion at the end of the year.  The Plan is designed to provide planning guidance to the Teton County Board of County Commissioners.


Marcel at Jackson meeting

Marcel Huijser presents a proposed Wildlife Crossings Master Plan at the Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyoming.

The meeting was well-attended by the public and local media.  For a more in-depth account, read the feature articles by the Jackson Hole News before and after the event. Project information is also available here.