TRB – The Show Must Go On

Natalie Villwock-Witte (far left) presenting from a lecturn at a panel discussion.
Natalie Villwock-Witte presents at TRB Annual Meeting

WTI researchers braved heavy snow, transit closures, and the partial government shutdown to attend the 2019 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in January.  Nonetheless, they had a busy week with many productive opportunities to share their research and collaborate with peers.

A few highlights include:

  • WTI Director Steve Albert received a certificate of appreciation from the TRB Committee on Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands in recognition of his 12 years of leadership on committee activities.
  • Three Fellows from the Public Lands Transportation Fellows program had the opportunity to present posters highlighting their current projects:
    • Corinne Jachelski presented on trail, bicycle, and other alternative transportation upgrades underway at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Colorado.
    • Dylan Corbin’s poster highlighted his efforts to create a transportation plan that will expand public transportation and alternative transportation access to four sites within the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
    • Vince Ziols presented on the bicycle network, shuttle services, and water taxis that are enhancing regional access to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
Fellows Corinne Jachelski, Vince Ziols and Dylan Corbin stand in front of their research posters at TRB poster session.
Fellows Corinne Jachelski, Vince Ziols and Dylan Corbin
  • Workshop Participants seated at tables view a presentation slide called "Categories for Rural Critical Needs"
    Workshop on Rural Research Roadmap project

    Jaime Sullivan’s workshop on the NCHRP Rural Research Roadmap project attracted an audience of more than 70 attendees interested in her progress report on the identification of the most critical research needs related to improving rural transportation. More than 500 research needs displayed on 20 posters inspired a lively discussion.

 

  • Karalyn Clouser and Zach Becker, our UTC Students of the Year (read their profiles here), were honored at a banquet during the opening weekend of the TRB meeting. The weather and transportation delays prevented Zach from attending, but Steve Albert and David Kack were on hand to cheer on Karalyn when she received her award.

 

David Kack, Karalyn Clouser, and Steve Albert

UTC Students Honored at TRB

The 2019 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting kicked off over the weekend in Washington, D.C.  At the Council of University Transportation Center (CUTC) banquet on Saturday, the University Transportation Center (UTC) Students of the Year were honored.  Each UTC nominates an outstanding graduate student who receives a certificate from the U.S. Department of Transportation, a $1000 award, and travel expenses to attend the TRB Annual Meeting.  The Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) and the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM), both led by WTI, each had the opportunity to recognize the research accomplishments of an exemplary student this year.

Karalyn Clouser

Congratulations to Karalyn Clouser, who was selected as the SURLC Student of the Year.  Karalyn has been a Research Associate at WTI for five years and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Sustainable Transportation at the University of Washington.  With her background in Planning and GIS, she has provided invaluable research assistance not only to SURLC, but also to the National Center for Rural Road Safety and the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center.  Most recently, she completed a project where she developed four different bus route combinations for a potential new transit service in Lebanon, Missouri. She also helped update the Rural ITS Toolkit, a USDOT-sponsored resource on advanced transportation technologies.

 

 

 

Zach Becker

Kudos also go out to Zachary Becker who was selected to represent SURTCOM.  Zach attends Eastern Washington University, where he is nearing completion of a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning.  His research focuses on the mobility and accessibility challenges faced by tribal reservations in northwestern states. He created a parcel-level, GIS database containing network distances from nearly every parcel in Washington state to the nearest healthcare facility.  The database compares distances on tribal reservations to distances on nontribal lands. Zach has been invited to present this research at four national conferences.

Visit the WTI website for more information on our UTC Research Centers and our Education Programs.

Major Milestones

Photo of WTI staff members receiving service awards at Montana State University ceremony
Susan Gallagher, Kathy Rich, Jamie DuHoux and Leann Koon receive service awards from MSU President Waded Cruzado

Congratulations to the WTI staff members who were recognized last week for their years of service to Montana State University.  Many of them were able to attend the Milestones in Service ceremony on October 2, during which they received congratulations and service awards from MSU President Waded Cruzado.  Thanks to all of you for your (combined) 75 years of dedication and contributions to WTI and MSU!

Jamie DuHoux – 20 years

Susan Gallagher – 15 years

Marcel Huijser – 15 years

Leann Koon – 10 years

Jamie Arpin – 5 years

Karalyn Clouser – 5 years

Kathy Rich – 5 years

 

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.

Congratulations, Graduates!

WTI was well-represented at the Montana State University graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 5.  Congratulations to Amir Jafari, Ph.D., and Amir Jamali, Ph.D., who were awarded their doctorates in Engineering. Both students conducted transportation research at WTI during their graduate studies, under the mentorship of Dr. Ahmed Al-Kaisy and Dr. Yiyi Wang. Best of luck from everyone at WTI!

Amir Jamali, Yiyi Wang, Ahmed Al-Kaisy, and Amir Jafari

Research Pays Off… Again! TR News Publishes Second Article on the Benefits of WTI Research

For the second time in less than six months, TR News magazine has selected a WTI project for its “Research Pays Off” section, which highlights research that has produced tangible and valuable benefits.  “Wyoming Intercity Bus Service Study: Finding and Filling the Gaps in Rural Areas” is featured in the March/April 2018 issue of TR News, published by the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board.  Authored by Principal Investigator David Kack, the article describes a project conducted for the Wyoming Department of Transportation to identify potential Intercity bus routes that would increase access for underserved communities.  The study led directly to the expansion of available services after a transportation provider contacted the Wyoming DOT to initiate a partnership that resulted in new service on one of the identified routes. The full article is posted on the project page.

The November/December 2017 issue of TR News highlighted the One-Stop Shop Traveler Information project in the “Research Pays Off” feature.  This article is also available on the WTI website.

(TR News is copyright, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; posted with permission of the Transportation Research Board.)

Milestones in Service – MSU Recognizes Seven WTI Staff Members

On Monday, October 23, Montana State University honored professional and classified staff reaching significant milestones in their tenure of service to the university.  Honorees were recognized at a campus reception, at which Provost Robert Mokwa presented individual certificates and MSU gifts.

Seven WTI employees have achieved the 5, 10, 15 or 20-year milestone in 2017:

Steve Albert, 20 years

David Kack, 15 years

Neil Hetherington, 15 years

Carla Little, 15 years

Rebecca Gleason, 10 years

Genevieve Houska (LTAP), 10 years

Annmarie McMahill (CHSC), 5 years

Congratulations, everyone!  All combined, that’s 90 years of service to WTI and MSU by these seven employees alone!

 2017 Milestones_group shot - Copy_edited

Rebecca Gleason, Carla Little, Steve Albert, and David Kack at the Milestones in Service Ceremony.

 

USDOT Secretary Chao Names Shankwitz to Motorcyclist Advisory Council

Portrait of WTI Researcher Craig ShankwitzWTI’s Craig Shankwitz has been appointed to serve as a Special Government Employee on the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) to the Federal Highway Administration.  His service will enhance the U. S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to address infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists.  Throughout this two-year appointment, Shankwitz will share expertise on the research and application of intelligent transportation systems, especially related to motorcycle improvement safety.  In February of 2017, Shankwitz was selected by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to serve on the Motorcycle Safety Research Consortium.  Shankwitz oversee WTI’s Automated and Connected Vehicle efforts.