One-Stop Shop Selected as Model for “Research Pays Off”

Cover of December 2017 TRNews Magazine - Feature Article One Stop ShopCongratulations to the One-Stop Shop Traveler Information project, which was featured in the November/December 2017 issue of TR News Magazine, published by the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board. Caltrans Senior Transportation Engineer Sean Campbell and WTI Principal Investigator Doug Galarus authored the article, entitled “The One-Stop Shop: Traveler Information Tool for Multistate Road Trips,” which was selected for a three-page feature in the “Research Pays Off” section of the magazine. The One-Stop Shop application is an umbrella website that can be used as a primary point of reference for trip planning over an 11-state region. It was created through an ongoing research collaboration that began in 2010 between the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Western States Rural Consortium (WSRTC), and the Western Transportation Institute. The article describes how the tool developed from a proof-of-concept project to an internet and mobile application that benefits a broad range of users, including long-distance travelers, local and state transportation agency personnel, emergency responders, and commercial vehicle operators. Additional information is available at the WSRTC website and the WTI website.

View the article ( TRNews OSS Dec2017)

MDT Research Newsletter Profiles Three WTI Projects

WTI research is prominently featured in the new issue of Solutions, the research newsletter of the Montana Department of Transportation.  Three recently completed projects are profiled in feature articles:

  • “Prefabricated Steel Truss/Bridge Deck Systems.” This study was a WTI and MSU Civil Engineering project led by Damon Fick, Tyler Kuehl, Michael Berry, and Jerry Stephens. It evaluated a prototype of a welded steel truss constructed with an integral concrete deck, which has been proposed as a potential alternative for accelerated bridge construction (ABC) projects in Montana. Steel truss bridges are relatively light weight compared with plate girder systems, which makes them a desirable alternative for both material savings and constructability. See the WTI website for more information.
  • “Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products.” This research project developed three types of products for study: woolen erosion control blankets (ECBs), wool incorporated into wood fiber compost, and wool incorporated into silt fence. The project, supported by Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, compared the wool products’ performance to roadside reclamation products commonly used for revegetating cut slopes. Rob Ament (P.I.) and Eli Cuelho served on the research team. Additional information is available on the WTI website.
  • “Feasibility of Non-Proprietary Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) for Use in Highway Bridges in Montana.” Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) has mechanical and durability properties that far exceed those of conventional concrete. However, using UHPC in conventional concrete applications has been cost prohibitive, costing 20 times that of conventional concrete. The overall objective of the Phase I research was to develop and characterize economical non-proprietary UHPC mixes made with materials readily available in Montana. The research was led by Michael Berry. Additional project information is available on the WTI website.

The MDT Solutions newsletter is available on the MDT website.

To Pave or Not to Pave?

Web-thumb-screen capture of cracked road surface.WTI Research Scientist Laura Fay was interviewed last week by MINNPOST.com on the topic of local road agencies that choose to unpave roads.  The discussion focused on Laura’s research sponsored by the Transportation Research Board, in which she surveyed local, state, or federal agencies on how they manage low-volume roads.  The survey identified nearly 70 road projects in 27 states in which the road agency chose to convert a road to an unpaved, gravel road instead of re-paving it.  The project will also result in a guidebook to help local officials decide if unpaving a road is safe and cost-effective.  Read the full article here or go to the WTI website for more information about the research project.

MSU Highlights WTI’s Wildlife Research in Banff National Park

Image of elk near entrance of a wildlife underpass
Elk approaches wildlife underpass in Banff National Park (courtesy of Tony Clevenger)

Montana State University News Service interviewed three WTI researchers for an in-depth article on WTI’s “influential research” on reducing wildlife vehicle collisions.  “MSU’s Western Transportation Institute featured for research on wildlife crossings” is currently on the MSU website and was highlighted on the home page last week.  Tony Clevenger was interviewed regarding his 17 years of research in Banff National Park, which has documented the effectiveness of the wildlife overpasses on the Trans-Canada Highway. Rob Ament and Steve Albert discussed how the crossing structures are influencing the development of similar efforts by transportation agencies around the world, and how the research helped establish WTI as an internationally recognized center for road ecology.

Lone Peak Lookout Article Explores MT 64 Route to Big Sky

On January 11, the Lone Peak Lookout published an online feature article about the transportation challenges along MT 64, the route that connects Big Sky, Montana to the rest of the state.  The article includes an interview with Program Manager David Kack, who has worked on numerous projects over the years to enhance transportation options between Bozeman and Big Sky, and within the Big Sky community itself.  Recently, he coordinated a $500 million federal grant proposal focused on improvements to MT 64.  The full article is available here. Read more about past and current mobility projects in Big Sky and other rural communities on our Mobility and Public Transportation page.

National Motorcycle Advisory Council Holds Kick-off Meeting

The national Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC), which provides guidance and recommendations to the USDOT Federal Highway Administration, held its first meeting in December 2017.  WTI Researcher Craig Shankwitz, who was invited to serve on the Council, gave a presentation on his research to develop a “smart license plate,”  which could enable vehicle to vehicle communications, such as safety messages regarding the presence and position of motorcycles on the road.  The MAC meeting was covered in detail in a feature article on the online blog Common Tread.

TR News Praises WTI Winter Maintenance Peer Exchanges

TR News magazine, published by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, recently dedicated an entire issue to successful efforts to move research into practice.  In the article “Going, Seeing, Showing, and Doing: Low-Tech Technology Transfer Works,” the authors highlighted WTI’s efforts to spearhead the National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange from 2007 – 2015.  Specifically, they note that attendees have “overwhelmingly cited the sharing of best practices and innovations as the most helpful part of the event.” The article is included in the July/August issue of TR News, which was recently released online (see pages 38-43).

For more information about WTI’s Winter Maintenance projects and activities, click here.

View an an archive of the winter peer exchange events.

Bozeman’s Streamline to Expand Service

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle recently reported that the City of Bozeman will provide an additional $64,000 to grow services on a busy Streamline bus route that serves both Montana State University and popular shopping districts.  In the article, WTI’s Mobility and Public Transportation Program Manager, David Kack, discusses how ridership has increased over the last three years, and options for funding future expansions.  The full article is available on the Chronicle website.  More information about WTI’s partnerships with the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and other agencies to develop Streamline is available on the WTI website.