A peer-reviewed study of wildlife crossing structures used by grizzly bears has revealed usage patterns that may help re-connect populations and support conservation efforts. The Wildlife Society Bulletin has published “Road Mitigation is a Demographic Filter for Grizzly Bears,” by Adam Ford, Mirjam Barrueto, and WTI’s Tony Clevenger, based on research that investigated five crossing structure designs installed at 44 sites along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. Using both tracking data and camera images, the research team compared usage of the five types of structures between single bears and family groups of bears. While single bears used both tunnels and overpasses, grizzly females traveling with cubs showed a strong preference for overpasses. The study was featured last week on the University of British Columbia website and highlighted today on Science Daily. The full journal article is available in the online edition of the Wildlife Society Bulletin.
TRB is sponsoring the 12th TRB International Conference on Low Volume Roads on September 15-18, 2019 in Kalispell, Montana. This conference examines new technologies and new techniques in the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and administration of low-volume roads. Panelists will explore case studies and practical solutions…
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is featuring a study conducted by WTI for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in its national newsletter. “Refining Return on Investment Methodology/Tool for MnPass” was a cost-benefit study led by Laura Fay, Na Cui, Paul Morris, Anbu Muthumani, and Ashley Kroon, to help the Minnesota Department of Transportation evaluate whether their MnPass toll lanes system helps to relieve traffic congestion and manage increase travel demand.
On November 7, WTI’s new grant from the National Science Foundation was highlighted in a feature article on the Montana State University website. The project will allow WTI’s West Region Transportation Workforce Center, in partnership with MSU’s College of Engineering, to offer a six-week summer program for high school and community college teachers. The program will begin in the summer of 2018 and will educate teachers on rural transportation research topics and will help them develop curricula for their own students.
The bridges, tunnels, and other wildlife crossing structures on U.S. Highway 93 are the focus of “Safe Passage,” a feature article in the November/December 2017 issue of Montana Outdoors Magazine (published by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks). The article describes the major initiative to install 41 wildlife crossing structures along 56 miles of U.S. 93 while the highway was reconstructed over the course of 2004 – 2010. WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser is quoted in the article regarding his 14 years of work to monitor wildlife use of the structures and evaluate their effectiveness. The article also features photos of numerous animal species using the structures. The highway reconstruction and the research study were a major collaboration among Montana Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and WTI. The online version of the Montana Outdoors article is available here.
The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) has released “The Reliability and Effectiveness of a Radar-Based Animal Detection System.” This final is based on research by WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser and international colleagues at the University of SÃo Paulo, Brazil. The project studied the reliability and effectiveness of an animal detection system along U.S. Hwy 95 near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The system uses a Doppler radar to detect large mammals (e.g., deer and elk) when they approach the highway. The report includes data on the rates of successful animal detections, the impact of the warning signs on vehicle speeds, practical recommendations for operation and maintenance of the system, and suggestions for potential future research. The project was a collaboration among WTI, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Idaho Transportation Department, Sloan Security Technologies, and the University of SÃo Paulo, Brazil. The final report is available on the WTI project page.