The most recent issue of the national Transportation Research Board Newsletter has featured an article on a WTI research report sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. “Field Usage of Alternative Deicers for Snow and Ice Control” summarizes non-chloride based deicers available on the market, including acetate, formate, glycol, and succinate based deicing products. The report explores the deicers’ feasibility for use as alternatives to chloride based deicers, and identifies next steps to determine if a non-chloride based deicer is a viable option for implementation in winter maintenance operations by MnDOT and local snow and ice removal providers. TRB and MnDOT have posted a link to the report. You can also read about the project here.
Nic Ward of the Center for Health and Safety Culture recently traveled to Wisconsin to participate in the Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety. Wisconsin is launching a Zero in Wisconsin Campaign to reduce traffic fatalities, and Nic spoke on the importance of transforming culture in order to achieve sustainable change in safe driving behavior. You can watch his interview with a local TV station here.
Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament and colleagues in the MSU Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences will have an article published in the Spring 2017 edition of Native Plants Journal. “Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho” documents their field study to evaluate the success of sustainable roadside revegetation strategies on 16 sites in Idaho.
Citation: Ament, R., Pokorny, M., Mangold, J., and Orloff, N. (2017). Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho. Native Plants Journal, vol 8 (1): pp 4-19.
Vox Media has produced a new video about wildlife crossing structures, which it released to its news website Vox.com last week. “Wildlife crossings stop roadkill. Why aren’t there more?” is a six-minute video that introduces why wildlife crossings are needed, how they work, where they are currently used, and how effective they are. Much of the foundational information and data about wildlife vehicle collisions is attributed to the 2008 National Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study and Report to Congress, which was authored by WTI’s Marcel Huijser, Pat McGowen, Tony Clevenger, Rob Ament, and additional researchers from the WTI Road Ecology program. Also, Tony Clevenger is interviewed on-camera in the video about the successful wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park. The video is available to view on the vox.com website.
Dr. Nicholas Ward answers questions for abc2 TV during the Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety in Appleton, Wi. Specifically he discusses the importance of Safety Culture as a tool to reduce traffic related crashes and fatalities. The whole interview can be seen here.
Interested in Road Safety Culture? For an introductory video, watch this video created by the National Center for Rural Road Safety.
On August 15, the Gallatin County Commission approved $68,500 in funding for the Skyline bus service in Big Sky, Montana, for fiscal year 2018. This is the second year in a row that the Commission has invested in the service, according to WTI Program Manager David Kack, who also serves the Big Sky Transportation District Coordinator. The new funding was mentioned in a feature article about the growth and development of the region on the website of Explore Big Sky magazine. Read more about WTI’s history helping to develop the Skyline service here.
The Skyline bus service from the Bozeman area to Big Sky is not just for skiers anymore. Ridership grew by almost 9% last year, or an additional 16,000 rides, and a lot of the riders are traveling to Big Sky for work, not play. In an interview on KBZK TV, WTI Program Manager David Kack (who is also the Coordinator for the Big Sky Transportation District), explained that 83 % of the Big Sky workforce commutes from surrounding communities like Bozeman and Belgrade, which likely accounts for part of Skyline’s growth in ridership. David was also interviewed recently by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle regarding Skyline’s efforts to seek funding from the Gallatin County Commission to help pay for additional service to meet the growing demand. To learn more about WTI’s work with the Big Sky Transportation District, click here.
The Londoner, a news website out of London, Ontario cited WTI research in a story about the threats that highways pose to vulnerable wildlife. In “Highway Perils,” author Jenna Hunnef discusses the potential benefits of wildlife crossing structures: “Some may question the financial feasibility of such projects, but the numbers don’t lie: a 2008 report by the Western Transportation Institute estimates that the total annual cost of wildlife-vehicle collisions is over $8 billion in the United States alone.” Read the full article here.
Using native plants for roadside revegetation is the lead story in the “Weed Post,” a monthly newsletter by the Montana State University Extension Office and the Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign. The article describes successful research by Rob Ament (WTI), Monica Pokorny (Natural Resources Conservation Service), Noelle Orloff (MSU) and Jane Mangold (MSU), which demonstrated that establishing diverse, perennial plant communities on roadsides is a sustainable technique that helps to manage noxious weeds and other invasive plants. This project was funded by the Idaho Department of Transportation. You can read the full newsletter article here.
In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal interviewed WTI Research Ecologist Marcel Huijser about the wildlife crossing structures on U.S. 93 in Montana, and how roadkill numbers for large mammals have dropped by as much as 80% near highway sections served by these crossings. “Wildlife Crossings Get a Whole New Look” highlights WTI’s evaluation of the U.S. 93 crossing structures, and includes one of Marcel’s photos. The article also describes other recent and planned crossing structures in Wyoming, Washington, California and Louisiana. Read the whole article on the WSJ website.