TR News Praises WTI Winter Maintenance Peer Exchanges

TR News magazine, published by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, recently dedicated an entire issue to successful efforts to move research into practice.  In the article “Going, Seeing, Showing, and Doing: Low-Tech Technology Transfer Works,” the authors highlighted WTI’s efforts to spearhead the National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange from 2007 – 2015.  Specifically, they note that attendees have “overwhelmingly cited the sharing of best practices and innovations as the most helpful part of the event.”

The article is included in the July/August issue of TR News, which was recently released online (see pages 38-43) or available For Download.

For more information about WTI’s Winter Maintenance projects and activities, click here.

View an an archive of the winter peer exchange events.

Two New Research Reports Released: Wool Reclamation Products and High Performance Concrete

The Montana Department of Transportation has released the final reports for two projects by WTI researchers:

  • “Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products.” This research project developed three types of products for study: woolen erosion control blankets (ECBs), wool incorporated into wood fiber compost, and wool incorporated into silt fence. The project, supported by Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, compared the wool products’ performance to roadside reclamation products commonly used for revegetating cut slopes. Rob Ament (P.I.) and Eli Cuelho served on the research team. The final report and project summary are available on the MDT website. Additional information and all of the reports related to this project are available on the WTI website.
  • “Feasibility of Non-Proprietary Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) for Use in Highway Bridges in Montana.” Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) has mechanical and durability properties that far exceed those of conventional concrete. However, using UHPC in conventional concrete applications has been cost prohibitive, costing 20 times that of conventional concrete. The overall objective of the Phase I research was to develop and characterize economical non-proprietary UHPC mixes made with materials readily available in Montana. The research was led by Michael Berry. The final report and project summary are available on the MDT website and additional project information is available on the WTI website.

Bozeman’s Streamline to Expand Service

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle recently reported that the City of Bozeman will provide an additional $64,000 to grow services on a busy Streamline bus route that serves both Montana State University and popular shopping districts.  In the article, WTI’s Mobility and Public Transportation Program Manager, David Kack, discusses how ridership has increased over the last three years, and options for funding future expansions.  The full article is available on the Chronicle website.  More information about WTI’s partnerships with the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and other agencies to develop Streamline is available on the WTI website.

Canadian Geographic Marks 20-year Anniversary of Banff Wildlife Overpasses

November 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the first wildlife overpass in Banff National Park.  Since then, several dozen crossing structures have been installed as part of the reconstruction of the Trans-Canada Highway, which passes through the park.  Canadian Geographic has published an extensive feature article on the development of the crossings, with a focus on how effective they have been in reducing animal vehicle collisions by approximately 80%.  Both Tony Clevenger and Rob Ament were interviewed for the article. Tony discusses his 17-years of data that documents how 11 species of large mammals have used the structure more than 200,000 times.  Rob describes how the Banff project has become a model for wildlife conservation in many other countries.  The full article is available here.

Also, read more about the Road Ecology team’s work in Banff National Park on the WTI website.

 

New Report on Prefabricated Bridge Decks

The Montana Department of Transportation has released the final report for “Investigation of Prefabricated Steel Truss/Bridge Deck Systems,” a WTI and MSU Civil Engineering project led by Damon Fick, Tyler Kuehl, Michael Berry, and Jerry Stephens. The study evaluated a prototype of a welded steel truss constructed with an integral concrete deck, which has been proposed as a potential alternative for accelerated bridge construction (ABC) projects in Montana.  Steel truss bridges are relatively light weight compared with plate girder systems, which makes them a desirable alternative for both material savings and constructability. The full report and a summary report are available on the MDT website.  Additional project information is available on the WTI website.

2017 Rural Transit Fact Book Available

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.

NCHRP Report Highlights WTI Rural Regional Transit Research

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Research Report 861: Best Practices in Rural Regional Mobility addresses the role of state transit program policies and regional planning agencies in the development of rural regional services. The report provides lessons learned on how to address needs for rural regional mobility, and includes a checklist for developing a rural regional route. It also highlights best practices from a number of states, including Montana.  The Montana case study describes WTI’s work with Opportunity Link and North Central Montana Transit to develop regional services between Havre and Great Falls, Montana. The full NCHRP report is available through the Transportation Research Board.

Dates Announced for International Conference on Low Volume Roads

WTI will host the 12th Transportation Research Board (TRB) International Conference on Low Volume Roads on September 15-18, 2019 in Kalispell, Montana. Sponsored by TRB, 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 to common problems related to all aspects of low-volume roads.  TRB, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, announced the dates in its November 20 newsletter. For more information, contact Laura Fay at WTI or Nancy Whiting (nwhiting@nas.edu) at TRB.

NEW PROJECTS: WTI to Conduct Mobility Studies in 3 Rural Communities

WTI will provide technical assistance to three rural communities and regions to identify and evaluate expanding transportation options, thanks to a new partnership with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)’s Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA sponsors technical assistance grants to rural communities and regions for transportation development, and NADO’s Research Foundation, working in conjunction with WTI, was selected to receive roughly $500,000 in grants. WTI will receive approximately $330,000 to conduct technical assistance for three locations:

  • Lebanon, Missouri is interested in developing a public transportation system. WTI will develop a feasibility study that will outline how to plan, develop, and implement a public transportation system within the City of Lebanon (more project information here).
  • In communities served by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), WTI will work with DETCOG to pilot a traveler cheque system intended to provide more mobility opportunities to veterans, persons with disabilities, and older persons. This project is unique in that not only will work and medical needs be addressed, but the system allows users to utilize trips for livability purposes providing they stay within their allotted mileage. The project will include planning, marketing, and public outreach (more project information here).
  • In Southwest Colorado, WTI will assist the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments with the development of a fixed route system between Cortez and Durango. The project will include the identification of funding options and development of a sustainability plan (more project information here).

David Kack will head the Southwest Colorado project, and Natalie Villwock-Witte will lead the Lebanon, Missouri and DETCOG projects with the assistance of Karalyn Clouser and Laura Fay, respectively. “WTI has conducted numerous mobility and public transportation studies,” said Kack; “and we’re excited to be working with NADO’s Research Foundation to use our expertise to assist rural communities throughout the country.”