MSU Speakers will highlight successful program offering professional development and career exposure to university students
How do we inspire the next generation of transportation professionals and start filling growing workforce needs in the transportation sector? Join the National Network for the Transportation Workforce for a 4-part webinar series on how to achieve effective student career engagement and priority workforce development during the pandemic and over the long term.
Researchers from the Montana State University Ecology Department and WTI’s Road Ecology program will investigate the roadside habitats of monarch butterflies in Idaho, as part of a new project for the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).
The monarch butterfly
population has declined drastically in western states since the 1980s, largely
due to habitat loss and fragmentation. In Idaho, the Snake River Plain is a target
location for conservation and restoration activities. ITD manages a large
number of highway miles and adjacent right of way (ROW) acreage in this region,
but there is little data on the amount of land or the specific locations that
support butterfly populations, migration routes, and breeding habitat.
For this project, researchers will conduct a field study to identify the amount and location of existing monarch butterfly habitat within ITD ROW land, as well as additional locations that could be easily restored to suitable habitat. Monarchs and their host plants, milkweeds, are a key focus of the project, and it will also evaluate several other native butterflies and bee species that are of high conservation concern. From the findings, the research team will develop recommendations for ITD on how to manage roadsides that connect natural areas and conserve butterfly and bee populations. The research will be led by Dr. Diane Debiniski (MSU Ecology), in partnership with Rob Ament (WTI) and Dr. Laura Burkle (MSU Ecology).
As the project progresses, updates will be available on the project webpage.
WTI Road Ecologist Rob Ament is featured in a recent issue of Time Magazine for Kids. A feature article called “Safe Travels” describes the large number of animals that are killed in roadway collisions each year, and how wildlife crossing structures work to protect animals as they move across their habitats. Rob discusses successful designs – like the crossing structures in Banff National Park – and how they are models for new efforts around the world, including a project he is working on in Kaziranga National Park in India.
Time for Kids is a weekly magazine for elementary school children. It offers age appropriate learning material for students and is designed to complement curriculum.
Congratulations to the
National Center for Rural Road Safety, which was recently named as one of
three finalists in the country for the 2020 Green Cross for Safety Award –
Each year, the National
Safety Council selects honorees for demonstrating leadership in keeping people
safe, with awards in three categories: Safety Advocate, Safety Excellence, and
Safety Innovation. The Safety Center is a finalist for the Safety
Advocate Award, which “recognizes those who have made a significant impact on
safety by raising awareness and bringing about change.”
“We’re excited to be recognized as a finalist, especially in the company of other national safety leaders from public, private, and non-profit agencies,” said Jaime Sullivan, Director of the Rural Safety Center. The full announcement is available in a news release on National Safety Council website. The winners will be announced in a virtual celebration on October 1.
Passenger rail service
through southern Montana ended 41 years ago, and now advocates across the state
are working to bring it back. Interested in learning more? Plan to attend the
virtual Montana Passenger Rail Summit on Thursday, September 17!
WTI is a sponsor of this event, which will bring together elected officials, business leaders, passenger rail experts and others from across Montana who are interested in establishing safe, reliable, and affordable passenger rail service through the region, and connectivity to other transportation services. More details and registration are online at www.montanapassengerrailsummit.org. The summit is free to attend, and registered participants will receive a personalized Zoom link a few days before the event.
Bicyclist safety is a growing
concern as more adults use this form of transportation for recreation,
exercise, and mobility. Most bicyclist fatalities result from a crash with a
vehicle, and the behaviors of the driver are often responsible for the crash. The researchers conducted a survey study
of Montana and North Dakota residents and found that prosocial driver behavior
was most common and appeared to be intentional. They also found that this intention
was increased by positive attitudes, normative perceptions, and perceived
control. The findings can be used to develop strategies to increase prosocial intentions
and driver behavior, thereby increasing bicyclist safety.
CITATION: Ward, N. J., Finley, K., Otto, J., Kack, D., Gleason, R., & Lonsdale, T. (2020). Traffic safety culture and prosocial driver behavior for safer vehicle-bicyclist interactions. Journal of Safety Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2020.07.003