Webinar: Rural Roundabouts are Saving Lives

Logo for National Center for Rural Road SafetyThis webinar will provide an overview of the safety and design of rural roundabouts in the United States. It will include case studies of rural roundabouts on local and state highways as well as the safety experience.

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • State the risks of rural intersections
  • Name examples of rural roundabouts in the US
  • Summarize the benefits of roundabouts on rural roadways

Date: July 19, 2018
Time: 11:00 am to 12:30 pm MT/1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Cost: Free
Offered by: National Center for Rural Road Safety

For more information about this training,
http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07efh4jri0a53ec5a9&llr=ngyyawuab

Blanketing the Roadsides: Wool Erosion Control Blankets Nurture Revegetation

MSU News is highlighting a successful collaboration between WTI and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to use blankets made of Montana wool to prevent erosion and promote plant growth along highways.  For a recent feature article, Principal Investigator Rob Ament invited MSU news staff to visit the test site along Highway 287 near Three Forks, Montana.  Despite harsh conditions at the site, researchers are observing what Rob calls “vigorous plant growth” where the blankets were placed for field trials.  In addition to the erosion control benefits, the blankets could also have economic benefits by creating a new market for Montana wool.  Check out the article and photos by MSU News, and learn more about the project on the WTI website.

Welcome to the new Public Lands Transportation Fellows (PLTF)

Public Lands Transportation Fellows pose for photo. Mentor Jaime Sullivan, Fellow Corinne Jachelski, Fellow Dylan Corbin, Fellow Vince Ziols and mentor Phil Shapiro (right) at the Bandelier National Monument.
Mentor Jaime Sullivan, Fellow Corinne Jachelski, Fellow Dylan Corbin, Fellow Vince Ziols and mentor Phil Shapiro (right) at the Bandelier National Monument.
The Public Lands Transportation Fellows (PLTF) Program hosted a three-day orientation in late June to welcome its incoming class of participants. Since 2013, the program has offered 11-month fellowships to outstanding masters and doctoral graduates in a transportation-related field. They are assigned to work with staff at a Federal Land Management Agency (FLMA) unit or region/field office facing a transportation issue to facilitate a transportation planning or implementation project. The program (previously known as the Scholars program) is managed at WTI by Jaime Sullivan.

After a competitive application process, three fellows were selected by WTI and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the 2018-19 year for placements at USFWS sites.Vince Ziolswill work with the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge to improve access for those who want to travel to the refuge by alternative modes of transportation, such as bike and pedestrian modes. At the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge,Corinne Jachelskiwill manage several trail projects and work with community groups to create greater access to recreation opportunities and improve visitor experience. Dylan Corbin will assist with several projects at the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, including updating the Complex’s Transportation Plan, serving as a liaison for several transportation improvement projects, and expanding free and low-cost access to refuge sites.

For the orientation, the fellows traveled to Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Albuquerque, New Mexico for presentations and workshops that will prepare them for a successful work and fellowship experience within their USFWS refuge unit. Presenters included USFWS staff, program mentors, and numerous former fellows, who covered topics ranging from building strong partnerships to writing successful grant applications to developing effective marketing campaigns. The fellows also had the opportunity to explore Valle de Oro NWR, Bandelier National Monument, and Petroglyph National Monument.

For more information, visit the PLTF Program page on the WTI website.
Logo banner for the Public Lands Transportation Fellows Program managed by WTI

New Publication: Identifying Wildlife Species from Roadkill Data

In September 2018, the journal Biological Conservation will publish an article whose lead author is Fernanda Abra, one of Marcel Huijser’s Ph.D. students at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. “How reliable are your data? Verifying species identification of road-killed mammals recorded by road maintenance personnel in São Paulo State, Brazil” was based on research to investigate more than 3000 images of roadkill animals along toll roads in Brazil. The species in these images were identified by wildlife experts and compared to the species identification previously done by maintenance personnel. The results suggested that non-experts can reliably identify common mammals, but reliability decreases with rare species or those that closely resemble another species. An advance copy of the article is currently available online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320717318906.

Citation: Abra F.D., M.P. Huijser, C.S. Pereira & K. Ferraz. 2018. How reliable are your data? Verifying species identification of road-killed mammals recorded by road maintenance personnel in São Paulo State, Brazil. Biological Conservation 225: 42-52.

Teton County Approves Wildlife Crossings Plan

Two deer crossing guard rail and road on Hwy 191 approaching Jackson Hole, WY.At a recent meeting, the county commissioners of Teton County, Wyoming approved a wildlife crossings master plan, which will now become part of the region’s Integrated Transportation Plan. The Plan was developed by WTI’s Road Ecology program, with Research Ecologist Marcel Huijser serving as the Principal Investigator. Focused on key highway segments near Jackson, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park, the Plan identifies and prioritizes locations where the installation of wildlife crossing structures can enhance safety, prevent collisions, and preserve connectivity. During the course of the project, Road Ecology staff also traveled to Wyoming for public meetings to assist with local outreach efforts. Approval of the plan was covered by the Jackson Hole News; the full plan is available on the WTI project page.

David Kack Named “Business Person of the Year” by Big Sky Chamber of Commerce

Glass award plaque in glass with the following wording. "Big Sky chamber of Commerce. 2018 Business Person of the Year. David Kack, Western Transportation Institute."Congratulations to WTI’s own David Kack, who was honored with a Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Award at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner last week. David was selected for the “Business Person of the Year” Award, in recognition of his 15 years of work to establish and grow the Skyline bus service, as well as his more recent leadership efforts in partnership with the Chamber and other stakeholders to successfully secure a $10 million federal TIGER grant for improvements to the transportation network in the Big Sky region. The Awards dinner was also featured in today’s issue of Explore Big Sky.