Can the Next Generation of Wildlife Crossing Structures be Made from Plastic?

WTI Hosts International Workshop to Inspire Creative Designs

In early May, WTI hosted a group of engineers, ecologists, and landscape architects from Canada and the U.S. for a two-day workshop to create innovative designs for wildlife crossing structures. In particular, they were focused on whether a high-strength, fiber reinforced plastic could be used to build bridge-like structures over roadways.  If feasible, using plastic structures could make it easier and less expensive to install wildlife crossing structures in more locations.

The workshop was led by Rob Ament, Program Manager for WTI’s Road Ecology research, and Nina-Marie Lister, Director of the Ecological Design Lab at Canada’s Ryerson University.  Participants were split into two teams to create “competing” designs for prototype wildlife crossings at Hyalite Canyon and Bozeman Pass on Interstate 90.  Also taking part were WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger, and graduate student Matt Bell, who is conducting research on wildlife crossing structures while pursuing a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering at MSU.

 MSU News highlighted the workshop in a recent feature story, which is available on the MSU website.

Shankwitz to speak at Wonderlust event

Portrait of WTI Researcher Craig ShankwitzMontana State University’s Wonderlust program will offer two free public presentations on innovative MSU research at the Belgrade Community Library this month. WTI Senior Research Scientist Craig Shankwitz will speak on driverless cars from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31. Shankwitz will discuss work on driverless vehicles from the 1950s through today. He will include a current status report and a tutorial on how driverless cars operate, as well as a discussion of what’s next for driverless cars and their passengers.

For more information or to register, visit montana.edu/wonderlust and click on “view all offerings.” There is no fee to attend, but registration is requested as seating is limited.

WTI’s Dani Hess is making the news with Bozeman Commute-A-Thon

The Spring Commute-A-Thon kicked off on Monday March 26, and will continue through Friday, April 6. Coordinator Dani Hess was interviewed by KBZK-TV while promoting the event on the MSU campus on Monday. Watch her interview and the full new story on the KBZK websitehttp://www.kbzk.com/story/37813013/commute-a-thon-competition-kicks-off-in-bozeman

Have you joined the challenge? go to https://bozemancommute.org/#/challenges/5a872dd59584fe20ee7dfe16 to register on the Bozeman Commuter Project website so you can start logging your trips by bus, bike, carpool or on foot!

Screen shot of the Bozeman Commute.org website. Shows commute options after staff and destination are filled in.

TRB Summer Workshop on Sustainable Transportation

The Transportation Research Board Committee on Resource Conservation and Recovery (ADC 60) has announced that its summer workshop will be held July 15-17, 2018 in Spokane, WA. This year’s theme will be “Waste Recycling, Upcycling, and Sustainable Transportation.” The call for presentation and poster abstracts is now open, and the deadline is April 9, 2018.  Submission information is available here.

WTI Researchers Return from Busy Week at TRB

WTI researchers have returned from a busy week at the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  Attracting transportation leaders from around the country, the TRB Annual Meeting is the premier national transportation research gathering of the year.  Many WTI researchers are leaders and members of TRB committees, are selected to lead workshops, or invited to present their research.

TRB also provides an opportunity for graduate students to gain professional presentation skills, and network with transportation researcher and practitioners.  MSU doctoral student Amir Jamali presented two projects on pedestrian safety at a TRB poster session: “Pedestrian Crash Hotspot Identification Using Two-Step Floating Catchment Area Method and Machine Learning Tools,” and “Analysis of Pedestrian Injury Severity Levels for Intersection Crashes in Rural and Small Urban Areas.”  The posters were based on findings from a WTI project to develop a pedestrian safety planning tool, led by Dr. YiYi Wang.

Graduate Student Amir Jamali at TRB Poster Session

WTI Researchers had the opportunity to present research and collaborate with colleagues on topics that included traffic safety culture, crash reduction strategies, unpaved and low volume roads, design features of two-lane highways, transit accessibility, and workforce development:

    • Laura Fay presented “National Updates on Converting Distressed Paved Roads to Engineered Unpaved Roads” at a Lectern Session on Converting Distressed Paved Roads to Engineered Unpaved Roads.  As Host of the 2019 Low Volume Roads conference, she also presented conference updates to the Low Volume Roads Committee, and the Conference Planning subcommittee.
    • Ahmed Al-Kaisy presented on three of his current research topics.  He discussed “Traffic Operations on Rural Two-Lane Highways: A Review on Performance Measures and Indicators” at a session on Uninterrupted Flow; he presented an “Evaluation of Passing Lane Design Configurations on Two-Lane Highways” at a session on Performance-Based Geometric Design: Criteria for Horizontal Curves and Sight Distance; and he discussed an “Investigation of Passing-Lane Effective Length on Two-Lane Highways” at a session on Speed Effects of Highway Design Features.
Kelley Hildebrand-Hall, Laura Fay, Jaime Sullivan, Natalie Villwock-Witte, and Susan Gallagher
  • Nic Ward discussed his research on”ASafe System Approach to Reduce Wrong-Way Driving Crashes on Divided Highways by Applying Access Management and Traffic Safety Culture,” at a poster session on Network Considerations of Access Management.
  • As part of a lectern session on Paratransit, Safety, and Performance-Based Planning: Challenges and Opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Areas, Jaime Sullivan gave a presentation entitled “On the Road to Zero, We Cannot Ignore Rural.”
  • Susan Gallagher gave presentations on two topics: transit accessibility and transportation workforce development.  She presented “Comparative Approaches to Fostering an Accessible Transportation Environment in the United States and Russia” at a lectern session on Accessible Transit Connectivity and Equity: Local to Global Approaches. She also presented “New Directions for Career Paths in the Maintenance and Operations Workforce” at the Maintenance and Operations Personnel Committee meeting. On the last day of the conference, Susan moderated a break out session during TRB Workshop 873: National Transportation Career Pathways Initiative Stakeholder Engagement: Scoping Transformative Technologies.  Susan’s work in transportation workforce development builds on the initiatives of the West Region Transportation Workforce Center, where she serves as Project Manager.
  • Natalie Villwock-Witte, David Kack, YiYi Wang, and Laura Fay
  • YiYi Wang participated in the ABJ80 Statistical Analysis Committee and judged a doctoral student research competition.

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 at TRB.

Center for Health & Safety Culture announces Symposium

The Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) has announced the dates for its inaugural symposium.  From June 20-22, 2018, CHSC will host a symposium in Bozeman, Montana focused on “Exploring How Positive Culture Improves Health and Safety.” Attendees will learn about current research and best practices in transforming culture, by engaging in group discussion, listening to presentations in multiple formats, and creating knowledge together.  Additional information is available on the symposium website.

CHSC to Host First Symposium in 2018

The Center for Health and Safety Culture has  announced the dates for its inaugural symposium.  From June 20-22, 2018, CHSC will host a symposium in Bozeman, Montana focused on “Exploring How Positive Culture Improves Health and Safety.” Attendees will learn about current research and best practices in transforming culture, by engaging in group discussion, listening to presentations in multiple formats, and creating knowledge together.  Additional information is available on the symposium website.

 

Cold Climate Researchers and Students Exchange Ideas at Summer Workshop

Image of workshop attendees. The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states
The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states

On August 10-11, 2017, the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) hosted its annual summer workshop at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman.  CESTiCC is a USDOT University Transportation Center, led by a consortium that includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Montana State University (WTI) and WSU.  The annual forum provides an opportunity for the Center to showcase its projects, and for researchers to exchange ideas on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues, which spurs collaboration and new directions for upcoming research.

The presentations covered a broad range of topics related to transportation in cold climates, including the properties, durability and longevity of construction materials; winter maintenance practices and products; and impacts of transportation on water and air quality.  Laura Fay, WTI’s Winter Maintenance and Effect Program Manager, presented her research on “Lab Testing of Alternative Deicers and Estimation of Remaining Deicers on Pavement,” and WTI Research Scientist Matt Blank gave a presentation on “Sizing Hydraulic Structures in Cold Regions to Balance Fish Passage, Stream Function, and Operation and Maintenance Cost.”

Image of attendees sitting at tables discussion posters. Students present their research and network with professional researchers at poster session
Students present their research and network with professional researchers at poster session

Six graduate students were also invited to discuss their research in a student poster session and competition, providing an excellent professional development opportunity for young researchers. The second day of the event featured tours of the WSU lab facilities, and a field trip to the Kamiak Butte Park, a National Natural Landmark that boasts more than 150 bird, mammal, and vegetation species.